Saturday, October 25, 2014

ARC Review: The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco

The Gift of Darkness
Author: V. M. Giambanco
Publication: Quercus (November 4, 2014)

Description: In Seattle's upscale Blueridge neighborhood, James Sinclair, his wife Anne, and their two small boys are found brutally murdered in their home. Their bodies are carefully laid out: blindfolded, hands tied, and crosses drawn in blood across their foreheads. Above the bedroom door, the words "thirteen days" are scratched into the frame. At the same time, a card with the words "thirteen days" written on it is delivered to the office of powerful lawyer Nathan Quinn, a partner at Sinclair's law firm.

From the evidence found at the scene, rookie homicide detective Alice Madison and her seasoned partner Detective Sergeant Brown determine that the prime suspect is John Cameron, a fugitive long wanted for the infamous Nostromo killings. But only Cameron's attorney knows his whereabouts, and though the clock is ticking, he seems more interested in protecting his client than preventing another murder. That attorney is none other than Nathan Quinn.

Madison and Brown discover the three men are linked in other ways, too. Years ago, when they were just boys, Sinclair, Cameron, and Quinn's younger brother David were abducted. Blindfolded and taken to the woods near the Hoh River, on the picturesque Olympic Peninsula, the three boys endured a night of terror. Only Sinclair and Cameron survived. With no other witnesses, the case went unsolved and David's body was never found.

After a savage attack that leaves Brown in the hospital and Madison working alone, she discovers a flaw in the investigation that puts her at odds with the department brass. To stop the killer, Madison must go back into the woods and confront the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys. She must forget her training and follow her instincts to the terrifying end, even as enemies become allies in the fight against the terrible darkness descending over them all.

My Thoughts: THE GIFT OF DARKNESS wove a tangled web of events and characters into a very engaging mystery. New to Homicide, Alice Madison and her much more experience partner are given the case of the murder of a man, his wife, and his two young children. The case leads them to a kidnapping that happened when the man was young. Three boys were taken but only two survived.

Now grown, James Sinclair has become a tax attorney working for the older brother of the lost boy. The other survivor - Jack Cameron - is suspected of being a murderer but has been a fugitive for years. The older brother - Quinn - is still Jack's lawyer and is the only one who can contact him.

Clues at the scene of James' family's deaths leads the police to Jack and to Quinn. When Madison's partner is severely injured in an attack that could have killed Madison too, Madison comes to the conclusion that Jack is being set up. Further investigation makes Quinn, Jack and Madison very reluctant allies in the hunt for the real killer.

This was a long, detailed story that spent more time on accuracy in the police procedural part of the story and less time on character development. I feel like I have only scratched the surface of who Alice Madison is. I do know that her desire to find answers is more important to her that her career. She is very determined and very dogged in her approach. She has a strong friendship still with a childhood friend but seems to have no other family connections.

I will be eager to read more in this series to see if I can learn more about Alice Madison.

Favorite Quote:
"I thought we were working on the presumption of transparency," she said to his back.

"I've never lied to you, Detective, and I'm not about to start now."

"Why is that no comfort to me whatsoever?"

"Because you're wise beyond your years."
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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