The body of a young, pretty, local waitress was found in the woods, a bloody curved machete near her corpse. A drunk headed for the subway, tormented by his thoughts, ended up falling into the gutter of the railway tracks as the train raced over him leaving his brain exploding and his last thoughts of a curved, bloody machete.
So begins Darkness All Around.
Risa Tuvik owns and operates The Kitchen, a bar and restaurant she inherited from her father. Her husband, a successful local politician, is currently running for Congress. Her son, a top-notch athlete in the local school system.
Eleven years ago her husband Sean disappeared the same week her best friend Carol was brutally murdered. When Sean did not return, she later declared him dead and she married Alan Bensen, a friend of hers and Seanís. Alan took an active role in raising Risa and Seanís son Kevin, later particularly supporting and encouraging Kevinís skill as a linebacker.
When Sean suddenly appears in their hometown of Braden, Pennsylvania he brings with him growing memories of a painful time as he begins to grab hold of the swirling dark secrets rising up from the past. While he tries to sort out the mess that is in his head, he finds his life in danger. Someone wants to stop Sean from remembering the truth about the night he left town.
In the meantime, Risa is struggling as she sorts out whom to believe about that awful time when the love of her life disappeared. The whole town is on alert as rumors swirl. Risaís relationships with Alan, Kevin, and Sean are increasingly confusing to her as her belief system is shattered and she questions who she can trust. At the same time, her decisions and choices place those she loves in jeopardy, and her own life in danger.
Darkness All Around was written by Doug Magee, the author of Never Wave Goodbye. The multi-talented Magee, a former photojournalist, screenwriter, film producer, and director, has written a taut suspense thriller that can easily keep readers proverbially on the edge of their seats.
From the beginning of the story to the harrowing end, Magee never allows the pace to slow enough to take away the powerful intensity of the tale. The growing nightmare facing more than one character is played out in the midst of flashbacks, latent memories, and a growing horror that maybe the town got it all wrong in the first place.
Interwoven with the horror and suspense is a story of love gone awry, found, and renewed. The in-depth characterization brings the characters to life and the intensity of key scenes adds impact to the chilling thriller. This is one fast-paced read that will be difficult to put down.
A special thank you goes to Touchstone for providing a complimentary copy of Darkness All Around for our review. If you would like to check out Doug Mageeís novels, they are available at Amazon.com.