When there’s DARKNESS ALL AROUND . . . some memories are best forgotten
Within the span of one harrowing week, Risa’s alcoholic husband, Sean, disappears, and her best friend, Carol, is brutally murdered. Eleven years later, Risa has seemingly put her life back together again, comforted by the love of her new husband, who is a local politician, and the knowledge that Carol’s killer has been convicted. But then just as suddenly as he disappeared, Sean resurfaces— sober, plagued by horrific recollections of Carol’s murder, and convinced he was the real killer.
Sean’s startling claim buzzes through the small, football-crazy Pennsylvania community, and Risa is left to wonder if the man she still loves actually committed the grisly murder. Her growing belief in his innocence sends her on a treacherous search for the truth: a search that reveals ugly secrets that her new husband and the town’s law enforcement community are hiding.
Emboldened by her discoveries, Risa convinces Sean to flee as the town’s violent forces move in to keep the truth from coming to light. But Risa doesn’t realize that her attempts to get vindication for Sean may come at a very high price.
Part murder mystery, part love story, Darkness All Around is a gripping exploration of the depths of the criminal mind, the fine line between the truth and a lie, and the bravery of the human heart.(Summary provided by Touchstone.)
Darkness All Around by Doug Magee is a mystery/suspense novel. It takes place in Braden, Pennsylvania, a small town that takes its high school football and local politics very seriously. The novel centers around Risa, diner owner and wife of local a politician running for office. Risa’s life is turned upside down when her first husband who has been declared legally dead returns to town and might be responsible for the murder of a close friend years earlier.
To be honest I had a bit of trouble finishing this one. The first forty pages or so were slow moving, but I stuck with it. There is much inner monologue (i.e. info dumps) throughout the first half of the book. I realize this is a necessary evil for writers when there is a complicated back story they need to get across to the reader. I enjoyed the back story. I just wish there could have been more breaks in the inner monologue at times.
However, despite my initial misgivings about a third of the way into the book Magee drew me into the story. I found myself genuinely interested in the characters he created. I was especially intrigued by Risa’s relationship with her son Kevin. Kevin is a rising star on the high school football team, and Risa is concerned Kevin could have a violent streak. The same violent streak her first husband had.
The romantic subplot of Darkness All Around revolves around Risa, her current husband Alan, and her first husband Sean. Alan is a politician with his eyes squarely focused on winning his election at any cost. Sean is a recovering alcoholic and brain injury survivor who may have killed one of their friends. Out of the two love interests Sean was the more appealing. This was simply because he had the “recovering from a brain injury factor” which made me feel more empathy towards him as a reader than I did for cold, calculating Alan.
Magee is a master at the art of creating red herrings for readers. I was convinced up until the very end that I knew who the killer was. Magee genuinely surprised me. I have read many books in the mystery/suspense novel genre and have gotten pretty good at guessing whodunnit. In the end, I’m glad I finished Darkness All Around. The characters were compelling, and the outcome was unpredictable. I recommend it to readers who would enjoy a novel that has a Friday Night Lights feel with the addition of mystery and suspense.
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for having The Well-Read Wife on the tour for Darkness All Around. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour!
Tuesday, June 19th: Crime Fiction Lover
Thursday, June 21st: You’ve GOTTA read this!
Monday, June 25th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, June 26th: Life in Review
Wednesday, June 27th: House of Crime and Mystery
Thursday, June 28th: Inside of a Dog
Monday, July 2nd: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, July 3rd: Reviews by Lola
Thursday, July 5th: Chaotic Compendiums
Monday, July 9th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, July 10th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, July 12th: Well Read Wife
Monday, July 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 18th: Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Thursday, July 19th: Drey’s Library
TBD: Murder by Type
TBD: Raging Bibliomania
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