About the Book
Book: Night Fall
Series: The Quantico Files #1
Author: Nancy Mehl
Release Date: March 30, 2021
Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense
For any little boy or girl who hears the Train Man speak,
Who feels his rancid breath caress their pretty cheek,
Must close their eyes, pretend to sleep, and very softly pray,
Or else the evil Train Man may carry them away.
Finally free of her troubled upbringing, Alex Donovan is able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains–all killed in the same way.
Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.
In a race against time to solve the case and recover a deadly virus sample the killer intends to spread, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Man.
I am very new to Nancy Mehl’s novels; I have only read her Kaely Quinn Profiler series. So, I came to Night Fall very excited, but still not entirely sure what I was getting into. I admit that there is a lot to like about Night Fall, but I did struggle with a couple of things.
What I Loved
- The intensity — there are some seriously dark, seriously intense moments in this story. I may have actually caught myself holding my breath a couple of times. I LOVE when a good suspense/mystery gets me so caught up in the storyline I stop breathing for a moment!
- The juxtaposition of Alex to Adam — Adam is the bad guy in this story. We learn this immediately, so this is not a spoiler. Alex is the heroine, and this, too, is known from page one. Alex and Adam are very similar characters — they have almost identical, messed up childhoods, the adults in their lives utterly failed them, and they both were raised in an insane cult. Both started life walking down the same path. BUT when they came to their metaphorical forks in the road, Alex made very specific choices to better her life, while Adam did not. I LOVE the discussion in this novel about OUR choices. We all have free will and we all have access to doing what is right. It’s a simple matter of choosing to be a victim versus choosing to be a victor. Even though both lives were filled with immense pressure and trauma, Alex made the right choices while Adam did not.
- Alex — Alex is a tough cookie who isn’t very tough at all. In fact, in this first book of The Quantico Files series, we see that she is quite cracked and it looks like maybe she will shatter into a million pieces. She’s fragility wrapped in tough glass. In this, Alex is exceptionally easy to relate to. I appreciate her coping mechanisms — cleaning and disinfecting, keeping things in order, commanding herself to get over her fears, etc. — because they are exactly like mine. I may have the cleanest kitchen in all of America. It’s my go-to defense when my world feels like chaos. If I can keep my kitchen clean, I have control over something. I like Alex because Alex reminds me of me, and she made me feel not so alone in this crazy world.
- The overall plot — Night Fall is a pretty predictable mystery. Because we are told who the bad guy is from the very beginning, it’s easy to figure things out. BUT, I did like the overall storyline because I liked seeing HOW the police, FBI, and other agencies came together to try to beat the bad guy before it was too late. I found this aspect of the story HIGHLY engaging and fun.
What I Struggled With
- I knew who the bad guy was immediately — knowing right away that Adam is the bad guy and knowing his plan for everything zapped all of the mystery out of this story for me. And, because we get told everything up front I feel like most of the story is a lot of telling at me. Why read a story when you basically know everything? And, because I was told the mystery right from the beginning, the little reveals weren’t really reveals cause I figured them out almost immediately. This “knowing everything at the front of the novel” aspect was the most frustrating part for me because it made me not want to read. So, then I dragged my feet with this book and it took me NINE days to read.
- COVID-19 and MORE pandemic fear – for crying out loud, can we just NOT talk about COVID? Like ever again? When I read, I want to escape. I don’t want the fictional worlds I read about to be full of the mainstream things that are literally happening this moment in my real world. And, to be honest, if I never ever hear the words COVID-19 and pandemics ever again I’ll be a very happy woman. The fact that this novel is all about a crazy person who wants to purposely cause a pandemic to kill 2/3 of the population made me also want to put the novel down. I’m so done with fear and disease.
So, that’s my list of what I liked and what I struggled with. As you can see, the likes far outweigh the struggles. In this, I can honestly say, “Go get this book now!” All kidding aside, I do think there is a lot about Night Fall that many, many readers will love, and so I highly recommend this book to those who love a good mystery/suspense tale.
I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, in order to review. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on April 1, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.