The Night in Question: That time ridesharing led to blackmail

What is this about?: Paula is desperate – desperate enough to blackmail someone for an operation for her paralysed husband. But the man she’s blackmailing, singer Ryan Hooks, is desperate too.

What else is this about?: Paula is us. The reader, the billions of people going about their lives, until something happens to her husband, Keith, and everything is irrevocably changed. There’s hope though, hope in an operation that might give him the use of his legs back… so what would you do if you were as desperate as Paula?

Blurb

Your ride is here…

When Paula picks up her last passenger of the night, all she sees is a few more dollars to put toward her husband’s medical bills. That’s before she recognizes the quiet stranger in her back seat as a world-famous musician and realizes the woman waiting at his destination is not his equally famous wife. So, Paula does what any down-on-her-luck woman would do.

She asks for money in exchange for silence.

But when a woman is murdered in the same building days later, Paula discovers she is the only witness to the secret affair—an affair that incriminates the musician. Now, Paula’s silence comes at a much more dangerous price.

The Night in Question poses an interesting moral dilemma, and I for one can’t say for sure what I’ll do in Paula’s situation.

Paula and Keith led the life she always wanted – they were happy, their work as artists was going places, and they had everything she’d ever wanted… until their life was changed when Keith was struck by a driver more interested in texting and was paralysed.

There’s longing in every word and action of Paula’s – when she’s at the diner where she works, or when she’s in her car as a DAC driver. She wants their life back, she wants Keith to be better and there’s hope – a doctor who is trying an innovative surgery that actually has worked for people. However it costs close to $180,000 and it’s way out of reach for them.

Until Paula drives Ryan Hooks to his mistress’s apartment. She doesn’t recognise him at first, and thinks he’s flirting with her, but even that comes with a healthy dose of longing for what she and Keith were at one time.

But the next day, she finds his phone in her car, and takes her friend, Vanessa’s idea about a reward and turns it up to 11: or $180,000 to be exact.

However, Paula is also curious about the woman that Ryan went to see, about what could make him risk his marriage and the threat of a divorce if he was ever found cheating again. Emma is beautiful, well put together and lives in an expensive house and even commissions artists she meets in dog parks under assumed names to do work for her company.

Yup, Paula gets her stalker on.

And that’s when the murder happens at a dinner party that Paula is invited to, the money Ryan paid her gets stolen and Paula realises she very much wants to be a good person.

Which is why she goes to the police drunk – it’s a recurring theme for her, which is weird as she hates that Keith drinks so much.

The police investigation is the other timeline in this, following in Paula’s as finds herself more obsessed with trying to find out what happened that night, and how was Ryan involved. Because she remembers him there clearly. Or hazily, because hey, yes, drunk (this character trait really made no sense to me).

Paula’s investigation is haphazard, and fuelled by more than a little luck, which is why it’s so engrossing. She’s using common sense and lying through her teeth to get to the bottom of everything because that’s what any one who isn’t a PI or cop would do.

And of course the ending? Nothing that I thought it would be.

The Night in Question is a wonderful exploration of what people with money and without will do when they’re desperate – stupid things, horrible things that they wouldn’t do normally is the answer you’re looking for.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t understand why they do they things they do, and that was the hook in this book for me.

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