Review: The Night Parade

The Night Parade - Ronald Malfi

* Review copy provided by NetGalley *


For some books part of the enjoyment is going in blind, and letting the story unfold as the author has written it.


This makes such books difficult to review, at least if your goal is to try to help others decide if they might enjoy a story and do it without spoilers.  As a reader I know the frustration of trying to figure out if a book will be for me, when reviewers WON’T TELL ME ANYTHING, but also understanding and appreciating the desire not to spoil the book for others.


That is my dilemma with “The Night Parade”.  The blurb reveals the world has fallen victim to a terrifying plague. That Ellie is “special”, “who may be the key to a cure”.  And that her father David has taken her on the run.  And I’m not going to reveal more of the plot in my review, because trust me, trust the author, learning what is going on in the way it’s revealed as written is an enjoyable ride.  And I wouldn’t want to spoil that for anyone.


What would you do, how far would you go, to keep your kids safe?


David and Ellie, running through a world turned into a nightmare.  All they have is each other. One man and his little girl.


We start off with David on the run with his 8 year old daughter Ellie.  We don't know why, we don't know what from.  But it is compelling and intriguing.  I was hooked from the first page.


Then we start to get a glimmer of preceding events, which are told in occasional flashback chapters so that as we go along we’re given more and more information as to what is going on and what has lead up to where we are now.


In my opinion this technique is used effectively, keeping the action going and pulling us along, allowing us to learn more of the backstory without stopping the action too much.  Both the present story and the events of the recent past are interesting and this book never drags.


And if you think clowns are creepy? (Yes, yes they are!) Forget clowns. This is creepy:


"The music grew louder, louder, until it was right outside the house in the street.  In the summertime, that jocular little melody would send the neighborhood kids flooding into Columbus Court, anxious for a Rocket Pop or an Italian Ice.  But now, in the dead of winter and in the middle of the night - David glanced at the alarm clock on the nightstand and saw that it was well after midnight - the sound of that tune unnerved him."


But the real power of this story are the characters, particularly of David and Ellie, and their relationship.


David isn’t all that special, just a regular man with a regular life. He’s not the Terminator, he’s not unusually strong, or brave.  He’s a college professor. But he’ll do whatever he needs to do, whatever it takes, to protect his daughter and keep her safe.


Ellie is a strong kid, unusually insightful, but still a kid.  She gets upset and scared. She gets angry at her dad even though she loves him.  It takes talented writing to make a character feel so real and believable when they’re also given unique abilities.


But what really gives this story its heart is their relationship.  And that I think is the subtle power of this story.  Over the course of the story the love between father and daughter becomes almost tangible.


Although this story does have a creepy factor it seems more Suspense/Thriller than Horror to me.  It reminds me a bit of “Firestarter” (one of my favorite Stephen King books).  A man and his daughter on the run, the young girl special in a way that makes her valuable to powerful people.


I haven't read anything by this author before, and I am now wondering why. 


I received a free (expiring) copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.