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Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

Gone Tonight

by Sarah Pekkanen
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Quick take

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis leads to the thrilling unraveling of a mother-daughter relationship as secrets seep out.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Puzzle


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator


Catherine Sterling thinks she knows her mother. Ruth Sterling is quiet, hardworking, and lives for her daughter. All her life, it’s been just the two of them against the world. But now, Catherine is ready to spread her wings, move from home, and begin a new career. And Ruth Sterling will do anything to prevent that from happening.

Ruth Sterling thinks she knows her daughter. Catherine would never rebel, would never question anything about her mother’s past or background. But when Ruth’s desperate quest to keep her daughter by her side begins to reveal cracks in Ruth’s carefully-constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception.

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Content warning

This book contains mentions of sexual assault.

Why I love it

Sarah Pekkanen’s work has always gripped me. As half of the duo that brought us The Golden Couple and many more, I’m no stranger to how her words find their way under your skin and haunt you long into the night, asking you to confront disquieting truths about the kinds of relationships closest to you. Gone Tonight, Sarah’s latest solo work, is no exception.

At the start, we are introduced to Ruth Sterling and her daughter Catherine: the idyllic mother-daughter pair. Ruth would do anything for her loyal daughter and Catherine is fiercely protective of her dedicated mother. But as Catherine’s career as a senior care nurse begins to accelerate and she prepares to finally leave the nest, Ruth’s grip on her daughter tightens—she just can’t bear to see her daughter leave her side so soon. As Ruth develops increasingly concerning tendencies, Catherine puts all she can into finding out what’s gone wrong, insisting it’s for the good of her mother. Quickly, the perfectly constructed life they once shared unravels into a game of deception and conceit, with Catherine determined to get to the bottom of it.

From the very first page, Gone Tonight is a fast-paced and unsettling peek into the psyche of a mother-daughter relationship where all is not as it seems. Sarah Pekkanen’s skill for writing a story that remains glued in your hands until you turn the very last page is on full display in this psychological thriller—it might just have you reconsider what you think you know about your own family.

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