The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco - Book Review
Twenty-five years ago in the woods near the Hoh River in Seattle, three boys were kidnapped. One did not come home.
A quarter of a decade later, a family of four is found brutally murdered, the words thirteen days scratched near their lifeless bodies.
Homicide Detective Alice Madison ran away from home as a child, one breath away from committing an unforgivable act; as an adult, she found her peace chasing the very worst humanity has to offer. Madison believes these murders are linked. And she has thirteen days to prove it.
To stop a psychopath, Madison must go back into the woods and confront the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys. She must forget her training and follow her instincts to the terrifying end as enemies become allies and, in the silent forest, time is running out to save another life.
When the newcomer Alice Madison got transferred to Seattle Homicide, she didn’t know that she would have something other than her childhood nightmares to keep her up at night. In her first months at the job, a family was murdered in the suburbs as a clear message, though they were not sure of why, what or to whom. Now Madison and her partner Brown, a experienced and respected detective, believe that they have 13 days to solve the case, and they are not sure whether to trust the evidence or their guts.
The Gift of Darkness is one of those books that takes days to start and a couple of hours to finish. You know that there’s a really good plot, but you could easily lose interest before you get to unravel it. Although the excessive description of the environment gives the reader a good sense of visual and setting - and I mean that sometimes you can actually feel the cold Seattle air in your neck, so kudos to Giambardo – I felt like it ended up taking the place of the action, which is what most people look for in a crime novel, and that wasn’t exactly the best combination with the slow pace of the first part.
As the present was linked to events from 25 years in the past, there were a lot of flashbacks, but in some of them, rather than serving as an aid to understand the personality and motivations of the characters, seemed to be there to stall, create an overly mysterious atmosphere. The story went back and forth (with spaced flashbacks), moving between characters, which made the reading less fluid and confusing at times. But once she finished building up the tension and got to the main events, I couldn’t put it down.
I thought the conclusion was handled really well, if not surprising (because she hinted the plot twist along the way), it was very convincing. The main characters were compelling and had great chemistry. I really enjoyed the Madison-Quinn-Cameron relationship, and the way the author didn’t romanticized the characters, playing with the duality of good/bad, because that made them more realistic and easier to connect with.
I would not recommend this book to someone with short attention span, because I think it really deserves to be finished, and that could be a tricky task. But as the end leaves a possibility for sequel, I would probably look into Madison’s future adventures.
Rate: 3 stars