Hello everyone! Today I am reviewing Darkness All Around by Doug Magee for TLC Book Tours. As always, I am provided with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Darkness All Around takes place in a small Pennsylvania town where everyone knows each other. Risa, a local bar owner, is married to a local man, Alan, who is a running for office. This marriage is her second – her first ended when her alcoholic husband Sean disappeared during the same week her best friend Carol was murdered and was eventually declared legally dead. Her son by her first husband is now in high school. Sean, Risa, Carol and Alan grew up together and were close friends.
That is what we learn at the beginning of the novel. Soon, Sean reappears, now sober. The years he was a drunk blocked out many memories which are now coming back to him. One of them, particularly haunting, is a memory of Carol’s murder. This recurring memory has Sean convinced he knows something about the murder or, horribly, is the murderer. He comes back to town to try to discover the truth. Risa gets drawn into the mystery, trying to balance the demands of her politician husband with her own need to help Sean and finally solve this mystery. No more details – you’ll have to read it to find out more!
Darkness All Around is an extremely compelling book. The characters are written with wonderful detail and an ear for honest, real dialogue – there is never a false note. The small town where this novel takes place is described in such detail that I felt I was there. I could visualize the stores, the high school, the topography.
This is a mystery that is character-driven. I read a lot of mysteries and my favorites are those where the characters are so fully realized that I immediately become a part of their world. That’s the kind of mystery Darkness All Around is. You come to know these people. You become a part of their lives. Deftly plotted, with lots of twists and turns, it will draw you in. You won’t want to put it down. I sure didn’t. Isn’t that the highest praise that can be given to a mystery? Doug Magee is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
About the author:
Doug Magee has been a photojournalist, screenplay writer, children’s book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protester, college football player, amateur musician, and the basis of the Aidan Quinn character in Meryl Streep’s “Music of the Heart.” This is his first novel. He lives in Spanish Harlem with his wife and two teenaged daughters.
Good news! One of you will win a copy of this fantastic novel. Just leave a comment on this post and you will be entered. I’ll drawn a name on Wednesday evening, July 4th. Your comment has to be on this post.