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Crèdit de la imatge: Photo by Alice Xue, from author's website

Obres de Eva Jurczyk


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The night before graduation seven students gather in the basement of the library to perform a ritual that will supposedly free them from the fear of death. For most of those in attendance it's a chance to let loose from the tightly wound expectations of school right before they're to head off into the wider world.

What starts out as an evening of possibility and intrigue quickly devolves into something sinister. First, the lights go out in the basement and as the students acclimate to the unnerving feeling of wrongness one of their number dies a horrible excruciating death.

Of course, there's only so many suspects and they're all locked in a library basement together. As the night progresses the fact that one of them is a killer permeates into each of their minds. Will anyone survive until morning?

I feel like this is a premise with a lot of potential. A locked-room mystery with only a limited pool of suspects and a proverbial ticking clock make for a good combination, and keeps that intensity up. Somehow, however, for me it failed to completely land.

There were some definite strong points, but overall, I don't know that I feel like it led anywhere. I was waiting for some unexpected twist to come that made me gasp out loud for the whole surprise of it. Not that there aren't some twists, looking back they simply felt obvious.

Where I think the book shined the best was in the beginning, the build up of everyone's backstory and where they're coming from. The whole idea that none of these people are classically "good" so there's this realm of possibilities of not knowing the lengths they would go to protect themselves or others. As things begin to devolve, however, I felt like that intensity slowly wanes.

I will say this is one of the few books where I start out not really caring about any of the characters because they all seemed a little self-involved, but as things progressed I began to feel a sympathy for these young people who it's clear are still growing into themselves. Eva Jurczyk was really good about infusing some vulnerability into these characters even when we're still questioning our trust in them.

I listened to this on audiobook and I'll say that the narrator did great in making the uneasiness of the situation really come through. Also, each character was very distinct in their voicing so in the chaos of everything going on, it was easy to touch base with who is speaking. I think audio also lends itself well to upping the intensity of the moment. If you're thinking about picking this one up, I highly recommend listening to it.

Overall, this was an ok read for me. I wish there had been a few more twists of genuine shock. I will say that I keep pondering the ending and my overall feelings about it which is not nothing when it comes to a read. One that keeps you thinking about it cannot be entirely without merit.
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AmyM3317 | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Jun 14, 2024 |
What happened that night in the basement of the rare books library?

Six people were invited to participate in a Greek ritual organized by one of the library assistants on the night before graduation. Most of the invited had a connection to the library but one tagged along with the drug (acid) that is meant to be used to enhance the experience. The library finally closed and they were locked in the basement for the night. The lights went out. Almost immediately, one is found dead. There was no way to communicate their distress because of scheduled IT maintenance and no phone signals. One by one, the attendees are picked off.

The premise was intriguing, but the execution left me rolling my eyes in boredom. Lots of repetition and characters that I could not care less about. The narrative shifted from person to person and in time as the reader learns more about them. Unfortunately, none were so endearing as to be missed when they died off. With all that happened, still was not sure I understood whatever was meant to be the main point nor were any of the answers to my questions given. It was a continuous ramble. I suppose if one was a rare book person or into Greek mythology, it might have proved more compelling, but I'm neither. Frankly, I should have marked it DNF and moved on.

I listened to the audiobook while following along with the e-book ARC - both provided by the publisher. The narrator, Hannah Cabell, was OK but the recording would have benefited with having a male voice as many of the characters sounded exactly the same.

Overall, quite a disappointment to me, a library lover who was aghast when some books were ruined. I'm even less interested in the antics of college students or reenactments of silly rituals based on mythology.
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CelticLibrarian | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Jun 13, 2024 |
A group of seven decide to spend the night before graduation in the basement of William E. Woodend Rare Books Library in Vermont to participate in a ritual that they believe will set them free from the fear of death. Of the seven, three of them are students working as assistants in the library each hoping to secure the one permanent position being offered after graduation; another is a PhD student/TA who frequents the library for his research and also convinces one of his students to bring along a friend who would supply the drugs they would need for the ritual; and the other is a socially awkward scientist who is involved in a project for the library. After the library closes for the day, they lock themselves in the basement and commence with the ritual. In a shocking turn of events, one of them suddenly dies and the other, unable to exit the building with scheduled routine maintenance rendering them unable to communicate with anyone on the outside, are left to fend for themselves with a killer in their midst.

I was intrigued by the premise of That Night in the Library by Eva Jurczyk. A locked room mystery set in a library, that too a rare books library, and a ritual rooted in Greek myths – this one checked all the boxes for this bibliophile who loves Greek mythology.

The narrative is shared from multiple perspectives and moves quickly enough, but none of the characters were particularly interesting and I soon got tired of their bickering, bouts of self-pity, and overall immature behavior. The final reveal was underwhelming, to say the least, and everything in between was bizarre. I don’t mind OTT (it is expected in this genre), but in this case, the plot was simply too messy (literally and figuratively) and absurd, to take seriously.

I struggled to finish this one and in hindsight, I should have followed my instincts and abandoned it mid-read but I didn’t in hopes that maybe, just maybe…..but sadly, I couldn’t find anything that appealed to me other than the premise and the element of Greek mythology. Perhaps I wasn’t the right audience for this one.

Overall, I can’t say that I enjoyed this novel. However, I would request you to read other reviews before making a decision about reading this one.

Many thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for the digital review copy via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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srms.reads | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Jun 12, 2024 |
This book was not for me. I finished it only because I felt obligated to do so.

On the night before graduation, seven people gather in the basement of their university’s rare books library. They plan to perform a drug-infused ritual which will have participants “emerge unafraid of the horror of death.” Of course, a death occurs almost immediately. Since there is no one else in the place, one of them must be the murderer. They are effectively locked in together for the night with no contact with the outside world until the morning so tensions rise and panic ensues.

A major problem is that all the characters are easy to dislike. They are all self-absorbed and pretentious and just annoying. Because they are so unpleasant, I couldn’t connect with any of them. Though back stories are provided, I found it difficult to distinguish one character from another, and I didn’t care for any of them. I certainly didn’t care who might die next. Perhaps what is most unbelievable is that seven supposedly intelligent people would agree to gather with a group of virtual strangers for some bizarre ritual. Were the drugs the appeal? None of them seemed to have a fear of death so there seemed little motivation to attend. Then they act so irrationally and make such stupid decisions that even the effects of their taking acid don’t fully explain.

Interactions between characters feel contrived. One character accuses another of being a murderer but then ends by saying directly to the accused, “‘No offense’”?! Another character, when trying to determine the identity of a killer thinks, “There’s something about a person who wears glasses that makes them improbable as a villain”? One character dislikes strangers but agrees to spend a night with strangers?

A locked-room mystery lends itself to the creation of suspense, but that is not the case. Pacing is part of the problem. Some sections are very slow. And then there are the irrelevant tangents. The random story of the man who donated the money for the rare books library serves no purpose. The story of Demeter and Persephone, which inspires the ritual, is told twice?! Why would all workers in a library be forced to apply for a job even if they weren’t interested? And the reader is supposed to believe that the library doesn’t have smoke detectors or fire alarms linked to the fire department? The result is that the reader is anything but breathless with anticipation!

As I stated at the beginning, I often felt like abandoning the book. Rather than a thriller, it becomes more of a plotless, mindless horror requiring a great deal of suspension of disbelief. There is an interesting twist at the end, but there is so much drudgery to get to that ending. I can’t recommend this book. No offense.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog ( for over a thousand reviews.
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Schatje | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Jun 10, 2024 |


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½ 3.3

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