Middle of the Night

Middle of the Night


On July 15, 1994, ten-year-old Ethan and his best friend Billy fell asleep together in their quiet New Jersey cul de sac.

In the morning, Ethan woke up alone. The tent was sliced open, and Billy was gone, taken. He was never seen again.

Thirty years later, Ethan has returned to Hemlock Circle, still desperate for answers.

Who took Billy?

Plagued by bad dreams and insomnia, he begins to notice strange things happening on the street under the cover of darkness. Someone is prowling the cul de sac when no one is awake to see them.

Are they still out there?

This isn't a bad neighbourhood. These aren't bad people.

What if they are?

Our Review

Death is an illusion.

Middle of the Night by Riley Sager is insanely twisty, such a compulsive read and I was catapulted through it. My house could have collapsed around me and I am sure I would have had no idea. I couldn't stop reading until I discovered the truth of what transpired the night Billy disappeared.

Middle of the Night is inevitably going to draw comparisons with Stephen King's Stand By Me vibes not least because the boys are on the cusp of adolescence and their innocent friendships are precarious at best.  The strong supernatural element also adds to the comparison, although of course Sager has his on stamp on the themes. The build up created by the dual timeline POV is unreal. 

"His name is Ethan Marsh.

He is 10.

And this is the last carefree moment he'll have for the next thirty years."

Hemlock Circle is a typical street in suburbia, it could be anywhere. When 10-year-old Billy Barringer goes missing from a tent in his best friend's garden the case captures the nation's attention but 30 years on there are no leads. His best friend, Ethan, moves back to the close to sell his childhood home for his parents. Since that fateful night Ethan has avoided home as much as possible and has suffered from insomnia, wouldn't you if your childhood best friend went missing and you slept through it? 

"Even though no adult - not the police, not even my parents - had told me so, I also knew the likelihood was high that Billy was dead. A horrible thing for a ten-year-old boy to deal with."

I felt for young Ethan and his friends but I also felt for the grown ups, as a mum the very idea of it chilled me to the bone. I kept thinking how I would feel if I were Billy's mum, or Ethan's for that matter. In fact, I could put myself in the shoes of most of the characters in the book because they all had clear motives for their actions even if I wouldn't make the same choice.

During his time in Hemlock Circle Ethan has the uncany feeling that someone is watching him and trying to get him to recall the invents of that night. Is it Billy returned from the dead or something far more sinister happening?

"Someone else is here.

In the yard.

Right Behind me,

I spin around and see.


Middle of the Night was chilling, every time the security lights clicked on and off on the circle or a ping notified Ethan of movement in his backyard then my heart leapt into my mouth and I had chills down my spine long after I finished reading. 

Middle of the Night was packed full of red herrings and I can honestly say I didn't see a single twist coming. It was completely unpredictable and I was constantly re-evaluating what I thought I knew.

Hakuna Matata, dude

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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