Book Review: Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen

“When I had to create a family tree in the fourth grade, I was able to fill out only two names on a single branch. My mother’s and mine.”

Sarah Pekkanen, Gone Tonight

Title: Gone Tonight
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Genres: Thriller, Suspense, Contemporary Fiction
Length: 10 hrs, 9 mins (Audiobook)
Publish Date: August 1st, 2023

My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 6/22/2023 – 6/28/2023


It’s been a few months since I’ve read a psychological thriller and I can’t think of a better one to have come back to the genre. With quiet twists and extraordinarily flawed yet lovable characters, I was hooked. 

Though Catherine has always had a good relationship with her mother Ruth, she’s ready to leave home and begin a life and career of her own. Her plans change when her mother receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis from her doctor. Not willing to waste a minute of the time left with Ruth, she cancels her moving plans. 

Ruth begins to write down her life story for her daughter… but not for the reasons one might expect at such a time. She’s worked the entirety of Catherine’s life to keep her past buried. Not only her past but also the secrets Catherine unknowingly carries. It isn’t long before Catherine begins to pick up on the fact something deeper is amiss. How well does she really know her mother? 

While the book keeps a slower pace than usually found in these kinds of thrillers, there is a constant string of events weaved in and out. Through Ruth, we get glimpses of her past. Through Catherine, we hear recollections of her mother and the conflict the plot brings into their relationship. I found Catherine’s character the most fascinating element of the book. Some might disagree with me, but I also found Ruth’s love for her child admirable under the circumstances. I feel she did the best she could with what she had. 

I listened to the audiobook version. Kate Mara did a fantastic job narrating. Sometimes I don’t love listening to thrillers because the narrator will be too dramatic. There was the perfect amount of emotion and urgency conveyed without becoming theatrical. That said, the story would have benefited from two narrators so each character had their own voice. Nevertheless, the reading experience was not hindered because of the single narrator. 

Gone Tonight is easily the best thriller I’ve read this year. I can’t wait to read Sarah Pekkanen’s other books. 

A huge thanks to Macmillan Audio for inviting me to listen to an audio ARC of this book through NetGalley! I am looking forward to purchasing a hard copy for myself. 

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Deeply flawed yet completely loveable characters.
  • Fantastic pacing.
  • Captured the essence of a psychological thriller spectacularly.
  • The mother/daughter storyline and POVs.

What I didn’t like:

  • Could be repetitive at times, reusing the same lines and such.
  • For the audiobook version, two narrators would have made it even better. (Not that Kate Mara didn’t do a wonderful job on her own.)


This book hadn’t been on my radar at all so I’m so happy to have had it brought to my attention. I know I have at least one Sarah Pekkanen book on my shelf. That’s getting moved up on my TBR list!

Where to buy the book:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: