Author: Doug Magee
Publication: Touchstone; Reprint edition (June 19, 2012)
Description: 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 had 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 their small 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.
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.
My Thoughts: The blurb calls this part murder mystery and part love story and that is true. It is also a frightening and complex story about memory and lies. The story begins with a murder. Carol Slezak is brutally killed by being strangled and hacked with a machete. G.G. Trask, a mentally handicapped co-worker at The Ding Dong, is railroaded into a confession. At the same time Risa's alcoholic husband Sean disappears leaving her with their young child.
Eleven years pass...Risa is now married to Alan, a local politician, and living the life of a political wife. She isn't happy with her life or with the violence she is starting to see in her seventeen-year-old son Kevin. She has given up her dream of being an artist and is running her family's bar and restaurant The Kitchen which is the hotbed of gossip in their small town of Braden, Pennsylvania. Braden is a football town and Kevin, with Alan's encouragement, is a rising star on the football team.
Then Sean comes back to town convinced that he is really the one who killed Carol. He had been living on the streets in New York City but an accident with a subway train caused him to lose his memory for a while. Bits and pieces including the vision of Carol's blood stained body are coming back to him. His brain damage has also caused him to stop drinking though he is very dependent on some pills that he was given during rehab to keep him from drinking.
Alan is all for getting Sean out of town again. His presence is wrecking Alan's campaign for congressman. And he doesn't want to bring up that old murder case. Alan's only concern is his campaign and not doing anything to jeopardize it. He doesn't want to lose his wife to Sean either.
Then there is the young reporter Henry Saltz whose first task when he arrived in Braden was to get the report from Carol's crime scene. Henry is still around town eleven years later when Sean comes to see him to find out if the memories he is recovering are accurate. He is Risa's friend.
This was a compelling story with lots of twists and turns. There were lots of surprises along the way. No one was who they seemed. I recommend this one for those who like dark, complex mysteries. It was a very engaging and compelling read. I couldn't put it down until I found out the truth.
Sean found himself coming quickly back to Alan's real world. All those campaign posters started chattering at him. Alan didn't care about the horrors that would pounce on Sean without warning. Horror for Alan as bad press, a bad vote count. Did he think that Sean being in town was going to affect that count? Sean remembered Risa standing above him on the pathway, beckoning him to come with her, asking him to stay in Braden. His choice was a no-brainer.I received this book from TLC tours to review as part of their blog tour. You can win a copy of the book here if you live in the US or Canada, are over the age of 13, and fill out this form. Enter by midnight on the 4th of July.
You can also buy a copy here if you aren't feeling lucky. The winner will be chosen and notified by email on July 5.