Darkness All Around by Doug Magee is a mystery novel taking place in a small Pennsylvania town. Besides the mystery which the story centers around, the book also captures the neurotic feel of small town politics.
Eleven years after Risa’s best friend was murdered, her husband Sean comes back to town claiming he is the murderer. He was considered dead and the murderer has been caught, but such small details don’t stop Sean from trying to prove his guilt.
The small Pennsylvania town is set ablaze when violent forces react to Sean’s outrageous claims and mysterious return. Risa thinks something is not right with Sean’s claim. She is willing to help him out but doesn’t realize the price she might have to pay.
Darkness All Around is a thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. The book would make a great selection for a book club because of all that’s happening, not only in the mystery arena, but also the psychology of the characters, their relationships and how they handle the challenges which constantly come up.
The pace of the book changes often; sometimes it’s slow, the others lightning fast but the narrative kept up my interest regardless. Parts of the novel have an almost small-town claustrophobic feel to them. Having grown up in small towns and places where everyone knows your business within a few moments, I can appreciate the approach.
The one issue I did have with the book was with the physical book, not with the writing, the characterization, narrative or anything else, but with the physical copy. As I was reading, the book literally fell apart in my hands. This was not an advance copy but a finished paperback. Luckily I got the book from the publisher, otherwise it would have gone back to the store.
As a bibliophile this bothers me very much. I believe that the future of of publishing is in two arenas, eBooks and high quality physical books. I do not want to see physical book go away. I want to see physical books become something people would cherish as in years of yore, as an object of affection being passed down generation after generation.