Darkness All Around

(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Website)

by Doug Magee

(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Website)

Published on June 19, 2012 (reprint edition) by Touchstone

Paperback, Ebook

Free copy of book received for fair review with participation in book tour from TLC Book Touring

Description (From Goodreads):

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

My Thoughts:

From grade school through high school, classmates Sean, Risa, and Alan are best friends who do everything together. But aspirations beyond college separate the threesome, and Sean and Risa pair off on their own. Soon Risa becomes pregnant, and Sean and Risa move back to their small hometown in Pennsylvania right after college graduation to await the birth of their son Kevin. When Sean’s widowed father does the unthinkable–committing suicide and leaving everything he owns to the couple to give them the best possible start that he thinks they could have–their relationship begins a downward spiral when Sean starts drinking and quickly progresses into full blown alcoholism. It isn’t uncommon for Sean to disappear for a few days at a time and to be drunk all of the time.  Meanwhile, Alan has went to an Ivy League school with his sights set on a political career in Washington DC. He seems to have everything together with his life, and he has a hard time understanding why Risa would chose Sean over him.

In one tragic week, Sean’s alcholism hits its lowest when he disappears and doesn’t come back, and Risa’s best girlfriend Carol is found murdered near the bar she worked at (The bar’s name is The Ding Dong, and it made me snicker every time I read that. Not sure if it was meant to be funny or not, but I laughed anyway). Alan swoops in, and after a few years he helps Risa get Sean declared dead when he doesn’t come home. Now Alan and Risa are the picture of the perfect political family, and Alan even adopted Kevin. But Risa isn’t very happy with the level of violence her son is showing in his promising high school football career, and she certainly doesn’t like the life of being the wife of someone who is on the campaign trail to DC.

And then Sean shows back up in town, saying that he had amnesia when he was a homeless drunk and was hit by a subway train in New York City, but he now remembers one thing clearly–he murdered Carol.

Darkness All Around tells the story of how claustrophobic and suffocating small town life can be, and especially how at least one person always knows every little move you make. Growing up in a small town myself, I could totally relate, so I enjoyed this aspect of the book very much. But this book was so much more than the mystery of “Who killed Carol?” It’s the story of how far will you go to protect the ones you love, and can you really trust the people that you see everyday? It also explores how memory loss and alcoholism can affect more than the person afflicted with it, and the struggles that arise for everyone.

I give this book a four out of five. Darkness All Around was a very quick read once you get past the first couple of chapters, which were a bit confusing since they took place eleven years in the past and you have to reason that out once you hit the chapters that are in the present day. But once you get going, this book was one that I didn’t want to put down, and I certainly didn’t guess the bad guy with this one. It kept me guessing all the way until the big reveal. I definitely recommend this one to thriller/mystery lovers who love a getting inside the heads of most of the main characters.

And now for the giveaway. Fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a copy of Darkness All Around. Contest open to US/Canada residents only. Thanks to TLC Book Touring and the publisher for this contest.
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I'm the one always buried in my laptop writing or devouring books on my Kindle while on the train during my commute. I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, movies, and books-paranormal, thriller/horror, mystery, young adult. Feel free to friend me on any of the social media sites listed. I'd love to connect with you! Twitter Goodreads Tumblr
Annette 6/28/2012

I grew up in a small town too — I can relate. This sounds like a good one. Thanks!
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Heather 6/30/2012

Thanks for stopping by, Annette. It’s always nice to read about small towns in books. And then it reminds me why I live in the suburbs now and would never move back there, LOL!!
Heather recently posted..Character Interview with Jane Ellsworth from Shades of Milk and HoneyMy Profile

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I’m glad you stuck with it through those first few chapters – sounds like this turned out to be a great read!

Thanks for being on the tour.

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Heather 6/30/2012

This was a great book, just a little confusing in the beginning if you didn’t read the back cover to figure out who the characters were. Thanks for having me on teh tour, Heather!
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