A Perfect Night

The Haunted Women Book 1

Fiction - Supernatural
382 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joseph Stone is a historical, dark-fantasy novelist who lives in San Diego, California.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite

Fran could still remember the fateful night when her mother died in a car accident. She has felt Lorette’s presence ever since as she bestowed little gifts on her and soothed her anxiety. However, she also doled out punishment if she misbehaved. Even though the reprimands were admittedly violent, Fran believed her mother had her best interests at heart. Unfortunately, her stay at her maternal aunt’s home becomes intolerable as her cousin bullies her, unleashing the spirit’s wrath. When her father’s aunt names Fran her heir, she hopes her situation will improve. However, Fran soon realizes that, along with enormous riches, she has also inherited a terrible secret that has plagued the family for ages. Can she break the curse once and for all? To find out, read A Perfect Night by Joseph Stone.

This multifaceted book touched on several genres at once, from dark paranormal to coming-of-age. Through Fran’s horrifying experiences, Stone exposes us to the ugly truths in our dysfunctional society. When the affectionate touch from your childhood turned into a lustful one as you grew up, how would you cope with the betrayal and trauma? Stone’s deftly built catacomb of dark elements compels us to feel an acute vulnerability. A sense of dread captured my mind as I tore through the novel. Each page opened up a plethora of disturbing secrets. A Perfect Night shows us how keeping a secret could destroy our minds in unsalvageable ways. Kudos to Stone for showing the naked truths without any sugar-coating! I would recommend this book to mature readers and should also warn them about the triggers such as incest, rape, and self-harm. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

Jamie Michele

A Perfect Night by Joseph Stone is a paranormal thriller and the first book in The Haunted Women series. The book begins with a young girl named Fran in the back of a car her mother is driving, and a tragic event that changes the course of Fran's life. Three years after the death of her mother, Fran's indifferent father drops her off at her maternal Aunt Laura's house. Fran struggles to adjust to her older cousin Carla's angst, but develops a deep affection for her younger cousin Mary Jane, her male cousins Michael and Richie, and is loved dearly by her Aunt Laura. Fran is too young to fully understand what the source of Carla's vitriol is, or that all of the “punishments” that are meted out to anyone who is aggressive toward Fran are more than just the strict love and protection of her dead mother watching over her. Over time, Carla's mental health spirals out of control, and the invisible violence gets progressively worse until a family legacy that also touches Fran's Great-aunt Aurora begins to reveal itself clearly to Fran, quite literally.

A Perfect Night is a near-perfect piece of paranormal literature and a fantastic start to Joseph Stone's new series. The writing is incredible and the dialogue feels completely authentic. Stone injects flashes of wit and humor into conversations that elicit laughs. There's a scene where the family is going to stay with Fran's rich great-aunt and the youngest son Richie is told to be extra nice to the old girl, because “we've seen how you throw.” College is expensive, right? It can also be terrifying, like in an argument between Fran and Carla, witnessed by Richie and Mary Jane, that turns freakishly violent and pushes one to the very end of their tether. Then, there are the gut punches that have very little to do with Fran and everything to do with Carla and little Richie, which is heartbreaking. I think the themes that are approached from every angle are done with compassion and realism and are delicately presented without compromising the tension of the story and the way it all bundles up into this fantastic volume. Very highly recommended.

Vincent Dublado

A Perfect Night is the first installment in The Haunted Women Series by Joseph Stone. What makes these women haunted? Frances Tarantino tells her great-aunt Aurora Ciconne that the spirit of her mother remains on Earth to protect her after she passed away and that she is always by Frances’s side. Aurora can also sense spirits, as many women in their family have done. One spirit, in particular, has been protecting them for as long as Aurora knows, and this spirit visits them to care for and love the women in their family. Now the time has come for Frances to be visited by Daedrian, and her diaries will turn into research manuals as she collects every bit of information she can amass about who and what is Daedrian. And so the haunting begins.

A Perfect Night succeeds in creating an eerie phenomenon as it establishes characters that leave a lingering impression that is both creepy and fascinating. Joseph Stone gives you the most creative supernatural sequences delivered like a stylized dream. Daedrian is an innovative character, more than anything I’ve ever read as far as the supernatural genre is concerned. There are moments of dark and wicked humor, and the sex scenes can be described as mild erotica. The details of Daedrian’s lovemaking can arouse readers, and that is part of who he is as a character; an otherworldly being who makes love to human females. Novels like A Perfect Night have sufficient thrills to fascinate you, and it ends with plenty of room for more plots to explore for its next installments. It’s a supernatural novel that you will want to read again.

Stephanie Chapman

Joseph Stone’s A Perfect Night brings Fran’s life into focus. Fran lost her mother in a tragic car crash when she was only ten years old. Her father, Drew Tarantino, never wanted a child, resulting in dropping her off with the Rizzo family. Despite having a full household, Aunt Laura and Uncle Alfred agree to take her in. Fran bonds with her cousin Mary Jane but is at odds with Carla. Laura takes Fran to see a priest after she tells her aunt that her mother is still with her. An altercation between Carla and Fran ends up with Carla suffering a brutal attack by an unknown entity. Fran believes her mother has punished Carla. Meanwhile, a family drama unfolds, involving Fran’s cousin Michael’s affections toward others. Then another major twist occurs when her Great-Aunt Aurora shows up and the Rizzos find out Fran is a wealthy heiress to a vast estate. However, Fran may inherit more than just money from her family.

A Perfect Night is a paranormal story filled with tragedy, discovery, and enlightenment. Joseph Stone cast Fran in an innocent light. She believes that her mother’s spirit was still taking care of her. The bond she had with her mother appears to be so strong that she even believes her mother punishes her for misbehaving. I found Laura’s disbelief seems odd, with Fran being a wealthy heiress. Every time anything positive occurred for Fran, Laura seemed to set out to squash the positive moment. As Fran learned more about her estranged family, I could see how she felt more positive. I felt sympathetic for Fran’s emotional pain. Imagine not feeling as though anyone cares and coping by envisioning her mother’s spirit. The major twists and family drama make the intensity and suspense of this story almost unbearable. Tearing myself away from the book was impossible. The details of the surroundings were vivid, and the alternating perspectives transitioned flawlessly. I recommend readers who enjoy paranormal dramas with well-developed, realistic characters to read A Perfect Night.

Rabia Tanveer

A Perfect Night: The Haunted Women Book 1 is the first novel in a series by Joseph Stone. The story follows Frances Tarantino, who has always felt her deceased mother’s presence. Although she passed away when Fran was just a child, her mother had always been by Fran’s side. She kept Fran company in sadness, happiness, and even when Fran was naughty. Fran’s life became more complicated when she developed their family’s gift - the ability to see the spirit world. It turned out that Fran was not the only one; her widowed Aunt Aurora was also capable of seeing ghosts. However, there was a catch. Aurora was looking for a way to free Fran and herself from these visions and allow them to live a normal life. Was it possible? They weren’t sure, but Fran and Aurora were ready to do whatever it took to free themselves of the shackles of their gift.

I knew I would love A Perfect Night before I started reading it, and after I finished it, I recommended it to several of my friends, who have in turn passed on this advice to other readers and book clubs. I got Agatha Christie vibes from the narrative style. Author Joseph Stone has a way with words that kept the mystery alive with tension constant throughout the story. Aurora’s character was fantastic. She was hilarious, a little creepy at times, but very entertaining. Fran, on the other hand, had a lot of growing up to do and the author gave her plenty of page space to do so. The pace is perfect, the narrative is powerful on its own, and the overall feel was great. I loved the dialogue, but I enjoyed the depiction particularly well. I could almost feel Fran’s mother’s presence at times, and I hated her with all my heart! Highly recommended!