The Darkest Corners - Kara Thomas

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them. Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch. But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

This book is intense. As a murder mystery, it certainly weaves a full and complex series of secrets and lies that will keep readers on their toes throughout the whole book. There are very few easily answered questions, and each twist introduces readers to a whole new set of characters and complications. 

Callie and Tessa, the protagonists, are pretty well fleshed out, though they are not as emotionally complex as I would have hoped. Though they do change and grow somewhat throughout the novel, much of the change is recounted through exposition, which did often draw me out of the story. Most of the changes that occur in each character is also through excessive trauma, which leaves the characters feeling unchangeable except through intense outside pressure, leaving me to see much of their evolution as being forced by the hands of the author, rather than it seeming to occur naturally.

The plot is certainly engrossing but perhaps there is just a bit too much going on overall. By the end, the story just felt like it was getting away from itself and a few too many bizarre mysteries were emerging in the end. There was also an element of uneven pacing that ended up jarring me from the story. The grandma character really never felt like she fit the puzzle, either, and the sudden appearance of a missing individual at the end of the book also felt too unexplained.

In the end, though I definitely enjoyed Thomas's novel, there were just a few too many inconsistencies and rough edges to make the book truly extraordinary. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mysteries and crime thrillers, with the caveat that the elements of character development definitely fall to the wayside in the shadow of plot elements.


(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out April 19, 2016)


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