Kerry Hammond has been up late nights reading Hallie Ephron's latest...
Night Night, Sleep Tight is the latest novel of suspense by Hallie Ephron. It is a fictional story loosely based around a real life murder that happened not far from where the author grew up in Beverly Hills. In real life 1958, movie star Lana Turner’s daughter murdered her mother’s boyfriend in their home, just down the street from the Ephron home. In Night Night, Sleep Tight, the main character has a similar experience, but the author weaves in her own version of events and creates a wonderfully entertaining story of what could have been.
Deirdre Unger grew up in Beverly Hills, wit parents who worked in the movie business. Her father, Arthur, and mother, Gloria, were a writing team back in the day. They wrote screenplays and mixed with the best Hollywood had to offer. It’s now 1985 and her parents are divorced. Her Mom is finding her true self at a Zen Buddhist Temple and her Dad is still living in the home where she grew up, even as it becomes outdated and run down around him. Henry, her brother, is back living with their Dad, or off of him as the case may be. Deirdre returns home at her father’s request, to help him with selling the house. She takes a short break from her job at an art gallery in San Diego in order to help out. When she arrives, she finds Arthur floating in the swimming pool. His death was no accident and the police begin to suspect each member of the family, including Deirdre.
Deirdre soon realizes that her father’s death is linked in some way to a tragedy that happened in 1963, when her best friend Joelen killed her mother Bunny Nichol’s boyfriend, Tito Acevedo. On that same night, Deirdre was in a car accident that left her partially crippled and she has walked with a crutch ever since. Being back at her childhood home brings everything back, and the players in her father’s death appear to be the same as they were all that time ago. As she starts to go through all of her father’s papers, she finds her Dad’s memoir and learns he was intending to get it published and make it into a movie. She realizes that there are several people who don’t want the memoir to be seen. And the reasons seem to surround the murder of Tito.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved being in the company of these characters and was able to live vicariously through their involvement in the movie industry, which I personally find intriguing. The characters were great and both the current storyline, as well as the murder from the 1960s, kept me guessing. It’s easy to get invested in Deirdre’s search for the truth. Both the truth in what happened to her father, as well as the truth from her childhood, and the answers to questions she didn’t even know to ask. Once again, Hallie Ephron creates a suspenseful and entertaining story that will keep you guessing.
And here’s one additional tidbit that I found exciting. After writing this book, Hallie Ephron decided that there was something missing, something more to tell. So she’s written Photoplay: A Short Tale of Suspense. In it, the narrator is a photographer hired to cover a big party at Bunny Nichol’s house. It’s a story of what happened before Night Night, Sleep Tight. It’s the playing out of the events that happened in 1963. So once you put this book down, you may hear a voice saying “wait, there’s more.” Because there is!