They say you should start your novels with a bang, but author Stacy Green lulls her readers with quiet mystery for just the right number of heartbeats first, before setting a powerfully unsettling mix of human reverie and fast action racing across the pages. Emilie has flowers. Emilie has a secret admirer. Emilie has a gunman watching her… At which point, how can anyone resist reading on?
The dialog’s pitch perfect and the writing’s quick and smooth, drawing the reader into the heart of each character. Police procedure feels convincing, with sensible conjecture and solid investigation. The characters’ backstories are cleanly told with a minimum of fuss but just enough detail to make their motivations real. And the city of Las Vegas proves to hold far more than its infamous strip, with scenic outskirts pictured as clearly and surely as seamy (and stinky) underground tunnels. Darkness, light and a touch of evil meet as newspapers clutch at the hostage’s past, the quick cop rushes for easy blame, and the SWAT guy tries not to fall for the woman he’s saved.
Wounded childhoods have a way of catching up with people. As torments of past and present bind together, the darkness around Emilie deepens, and the terror feels palpably real. Stacy Green’s Into the Dark is a psychological thriller grounded in real lives and fears, built around convincing characters, and nicely woven around real places and intriguing mystery.
“Sometimes things are set in motion which we can’t control,” says Nathan as Emilie threatens to fall apart. Sometimes we have to stop blaming ourselves for the past, and accept that others made the choices which hurt us and those dear to us. Sometimes we have to move on. And sometimes in moving on we learn what it was that held us back. There’s honest wisdom and empathy as well as love and fear in Stacy Green’s novel, a satisfying tale that leaves me wanting to read more by the same author.
Disclosure: I interviewed the author for my blog and she kindly gave me an ecopy of her novel.