Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a thriller.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy has an intriguing premise. Sam Statler and his newlywed wife Annie have moved from Manhattan to upstate New York so that he can be closer to his mother, who is in a nursing home with dementia. Sam is a psychologist and sees patients from an office in the basement of a grand, old house. Annie, who was a professor in Manhattan, teaches at a local college. Meanwhile, there is a vent in the room above Sam’s office from which his sessions can be overheard. When a mysterious young French woman comes to see Sam and later asks him to meet her at her place during a storm – and Sam then disappears – it’s clear that something strange is going on.

It turns out Sam has been keeping secrets from Annie… but where is he and what happened to his car? Why hasn’t be been visiting his mother, as he claims? And what did Annie overhear going on his office? I don’t want to reveal much more about this book, as there are some twists and turns along the way that are genuinely surprising. Molloy teases the story out slowly and makes you believe things about the characters that turn out to be very wrong. Getting to the bottom of what’s going on is a fun ride.

Good popcorn read: not very filling but fun while it lasted. I listened to Goodnight Beautiful on audio and the narration by an ensemble cast was pretty good. I’d actually recommend reading Goodnight Beautiful in print, though, because the book’s narration is an important part of the plot, and the voices can throw it off a little.

Goodnight Beautiful was the 9th book of 2021.