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Monday, December 31, 2018

Intriguing Dark Park Mystery a Thrilling Page Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been nine months since Eden Wallace's husband died and yet, she can't move on.  The 35-year-old widow has become so paralyzed with grief and anxiety that she barely leaves the house.  She's given up on her photography, her job, and any kind of social life.  Her fear of the dark has become debilitating.  Even Eden has grown tired of her grief, so when she discovers that her husband pre-paid for a week-long couple's retreat at a dark sky park near Lake Michigan for their tenth wedding anniversary, she decides to go on her own.  It's time to put her fears to rest so she can finally start living again.

When she arrives at the retreat, however, she's dismayed to discover that the cottage reserved by her husband is not a private suite.  Six college friends have also booked the place for the week.  Although reluctant to stay, Eden is reassured by the group's charismatic leader that they're happy to share their accommodations—at least for the night.  Knowing she can't drive home in the rapidly-approaching darkness, she stays.

Hours later, one of the college friends is dead and everyone is a suspect, including Eden.  Required by police not to leave town, Eden has little to do other than investigate her roommates.  Each had motive and opportunity, but who harbored enough hate to kill?  As suspicion falls more heavily on Eden, she has to ask herself a most disturbing question—could she, in her desperate, sleep-deprived state, have committed murder?  If she can't even trust herself, who can she rely on?  What really happened that fatal night?  Who is the true murderer?

The premise of Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day intrigued me from the beginning.  I'd never heard of a dark sky park, but it certainly makes for an irresistible murder mystery setting.  The novel's characters are likewise intriguing, each a complex, flawed human capable of killing.  With its twisty, engrossing plot, this book makes for a fast, furious read.  I couldn't look away until I got to the ending, which wrapped everything up with a tight, satisfying bow.  This is my first read by Lori Rader-Day, but it for sure won't be my last.  I loved this thrilling page turner.

(Readalikes:  In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

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The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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