A missing, possibly murdered, child. A skeptical cop. A psychic turned scientist. A painful love triangle. These are the elements Julia Heaberlin uses to weave an enthralling tale of love, loss, and lies in Night Will Find You. It’s a gripping story; once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down until the very end.
When her mother dies, Vivvy (Vivian) Bouchet agrees to pack up the family home and prepare it for sale. It is the least she can do since her sister, Brig, had taken on the heavy load of caring for their mother during her illness. But being back in her hometown isn’t easy. Her mother had been the local psychic, and Vivvy herself had become renowned for her own powers when, at age ten, she had made an uncanny prediction. She told a young boy named Mike that he had to watch out for blue horses. He, naturally, thought she was crazy but was converted to a believer when Vivvy pushed him out of the way of a speeding blue Mustang, breaking her leg while saving his life. They’ve been friends ever since but rarely see each other now. To avoid the stigma of being the town weirdo, Vivvy got a doctorate and has become a wunderkind in her field of astrophysics. She lives in the desert and spends her nights looking at the stars through a powerful telescope. Mike stayed home, became a police officer, and got married. Now that Vivvy’s back, Mike wants her help to clear up a decade-old mystery. It’s a cold case the Fort Worth mayor wants solved so he can be hailed as a hero and use the acclaim to launch a gubernatorial bid. Mike doesn’t care about that, but he does care about the missing three-year-old girl at the heart of the story.
It was a crime that shocked Texas. Lizzie Solomon, an adorable toddler with bows in her hair, was snatched from her suburban home while her mom was on the phone. That’s the story her mother, Nikki Solomon, tells anyway. Others believe Lizzie is buried somewhere in the walls of the Victorian mansion her family was living in at the time, killed by Nikki while Lizzie’s father was out of town. Nikki made a very convenient suspect – she’d lied to the police repeatedly, was a serial adulteress, had gone to a liberal university, and was noted for her sharp tongue. Those factors alone were enough to convince a local jury she deserved to rot in prison, even if Lizzie’s corpse has never been found. Nikki continues to proclaim her innocence to anyone who will listen, which is pretty much no-one. All people want from her is to know where the body is buried.
That question is the one Mike wants Vivvy’s help with, but Vivvy’s gift is telling her Lizzie is alive.
That fact, naturally, is exciting news for Mike, and he introduces Vivvy to Jesse Sharpe, the investigator in charge of the Solomon case, who makes it clear he has no use for psychics. Since Vivvy has no desire to get more involved, they make an (almost) perfect pair. However, circumstances beyond their control wind up forcing them into a reluctant and uneven partnership in which they both keep secrets, practically working against each other rather than with each other. Add an unscrupulous podcaster to the mix and an amateur sleuth dipping her toes into dangerous waters, and it has all the makings of a disaster.
For anyone fearing that woo-woo is used to solve the crime, let me set your mind at rest. Vivvy’s gift doesn’t work that way. Like the blue horse turning out to be a Mustang car, her visions tend to be more useful after the fact than beforehand, decipherable only when you have all the pieces to the puzzle. They are not key to the resolution of this story.
What is key, are the varying characters and what they bring to the mess of the investigation. Vivvy’s is the central role and she is fantastic, fascinating, fearless, and amazing. She combines a sharp intelligence with a keen understanding of how humans have a knack for not being rational. The latter was gleaned from her mother’s own work, which was mostly bogus and relied very little on what the woman actually saw and more on what people told her about themselves as they sought her help. I liked how the narrative shows psychics as counselors, listening to problems and helping clients reach the solution they want rather than necessarily one that would fit into a typical outline of the best/healthiest outcome.
Sharp, Mike, Brig, and Nikki are fabulously drawn secondary characters. We learn how Brig connected and still connects Vivvy to the more practical side of the world while Mike still pulls her into the mystical/emotional side of life. Sharp is a man of deep skepticism, both about anything mystical and about humanity in general. He’s seen the worst life has to offer. Vivvy opens his heart to the divine and introduces him to the best it can give us. In Nikki, we have an anti-hero who is bright, articulate, driven, and pretty much unlikable. She forces us to question if being less than ideal means we have to be locked up. They all feel very authentic, and fit beautifully with where the narrative is taking us.
The suspense is great. I liked how the answer lay with the people who surrounded the situation. Prison guards who had moments of kindness but secrets of their own. Mothers who aren’t perfect parents yet still provide wisdom and sanctuary for their children. Saintly exteriors that hide grievous sinners. Because humans tend to be illogical, the heart of this mystery lies not in what happened so much as the human nature that caused it to happen.
There are two love triangles here, and I cared for neither of them. I would have preferred that the author had spent more time building the romance between Vivvy and her hero, which wound up being absolutely lovely.
Night Will Find You is a fascinating look at how humans process the world around them, showing how the lines are often blurred between fact and fiction, truth and lies, science and faith. In a world increasingly determined to believe that one way is the right way and all else is wrong, the novel asks if maybe we can leave room for questions in our endless search for answers. Through Vivvy, Brig, Mike, Nikki, and Sharp, we see that humans are complex creatures in a vast universe who defy simple explanations. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries that are thought-provoking and heartfelt.
Recent Comments …
I enjoyed this more than you did but I too struggled with the premise. Unlike The Hunger Games where it…
Thank you . I read the free sample and the nonsense you expound on above was sufficiently grating to me…
It’s really special!
I was Shane when l was 10 ye old l love the theme song what a thing between Shane and…
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Yes – that’s the only historical mystery series I continue to read. The mysteries are generally good and the romance…