Review: Home Before Night by J.P. Pomare

When another wave of the virus hits, and the government issues an 8pm curfew for all Melbourne residents, Lou’s son Samuel doesn’t make it home in time. As day turns to night and darkness overcomes the city, her panic soars. He’s not answering his phone. He hasn’t left a message. And his social media is silent. Something’s off. Lou is certain. But secrets from her past prohibit her going to the cops. Which means it’s up to her to find him. 

Home Before Night is another crackerjack thriller from J.P. Pomare. Originally crafted as an Audible Original, it’s stripped back and bullet-fast, but also laced with the red-herrings and infused with the character depth that’ve made his suspense novels so popular. 

Pomare has that knack of enhancing the mechanics of a slick thriller with layers of humanity. Lou could easily be an archetype: the beleaguered, alcoholic mother tormented by her past, manipulated for the sake of plot. But even in this shorter format, he is able to render Lou fully, and turn her into a character we empathise with despite everything we learn about her. 

Home Before Night is suffused with moral ambiguity. There are very few likeable characters. Everybody has a secret, or is a complicit in something wicked. But there are degrees of evil, the full gamut of which Pomare explores terrifically. 

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