Book Review: A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
This upcoming debut book is an absolutely spell-binding page-turner.
“My past has been haunting me for my entire life, like a phantom that was never laid to rest, just like those girls”. -Chloe, A Flicker in the Dark
It’s been 20 years since the disappearance of six girls in the small town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Chloe Davis, the daughter of the man who confessed to the crimes, is getting ready for her wedding. Chloe has worked hard to find her own happiness in the aftermath of her childhood. However, when girls start to go missing in her current town of Baton Rouge, especially close to her home and office, the events of that summer begin to come back. She begins to see the trace of 20 years ago in the present- is she being paranoid and looking for the worst or is she on to something as she begins to investigate the current events?
Publication Date: January 11th, 2022.
How I accessed the book: Book of the Month Subscription which offered an early release copy.
My rating: 4.75/5.
Overall, the writing of this novel is brilliant. It is descriptive and emotional enough to suck you in, making it a quick page-turner, especially during the twists and turns as Chloe attempts to figure out who is at fault. In my experience, I felt that I was right there with her, nodding along and thinking, this makes sense during her theories.There are two twists and turns before the actual identity of the killer is discovered. I was sold on both suspects that came before the reveal.
The plotline makes sense- background information of 20 years ago is introduced when needed through descriptive scenes. Evidence is introduced through theories held by both Chloe and those helping her to solve the case, and the police. There is a driving belief that the actions that are currently happening is the work of a copycat killer, who admires her father’s work and wants to produce similar work.
The characters are believable: Chloe is still struggling with the events of the past and uses vices to cope with the aftermath of her childhood. Her fiance is loving and protective:
Daniel doesn’t let me hide; he doesn’t let me be afraid. He throws me surprise parties and plans a wedding in July, spitting in the face of all my irrational fears. If he knew what I had spent my week doing while he was away — drugging myself into a stupor, entertaining a fictional scenario, dragging my mother into it all despite her inability to protest, to talk back — he’d would be ashamed. I’m ashamed. — Chloe, A Flicker in the Dark
Her brother Cooper appears to strongly dislike her fiance, however, even before we discover why, it’s explainable as protective.
The only thing that I disliked was the ending. The conclusion felt choppy to me- not in the sense of “who done it”, that was made clear. However, the covered up evidence and copycat turning into a killer and why he was protected relies a lot on the reader’s perspective. I felt let down by how this was portrayed.
Would I Recommend?
Yes. Except for having a few issues with how the book ended (and dropping my rating slightly), I highly enjoyed it. It was an addictive read to me. I would recommend this book to those who love books that are equal parts mystery and thriller. Those who enjoy a heart-pounding book they can get lost in.