August 30, 2008
The Darker Side
The Darker Side by Cody McFadyen
Finished on 8/28/08
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)
Cody McFadyen has shocked even the most jaded suspense fans with Shadow Man and The Face of Death. Now comes a thriller that outdoes them all, featuring a psychopath on a perverse crusade of murder. And the one woman who can stop him may have to cross the line to do it.
A lie, a long-ago affair, a dark desire—what secret was a very private young woman keeping that led to her very public murder? That's the question FBI special agent Smoky Barrett and her handpicked team of experienced manhunters are summoned to answer by order of the FBI director himself. Brilliant, merciless, righteous, the killer Smoky is hunting is on his own personal mission. For in his eyes no one is innocent. Soon Smokey will have to confront a flawless killer who knows her flaws with murderous intimacy.
McFadyen has done it again. He's written a gritty, disturbing thriller that kept me wondering what kind of person writes about such horrific killings, and perhaps more importantly, what kind of person reads them?! The Darker Side reads a bit like true crime (although my experience with that genre is limited to Helter Skelter), full of tension and edginess that invades my thoughts and dreams. As with all my favorite series, it's the characters that keep me coming back. Smoky's an intriguing heroine and I enjoyed learning more about her and her co-workers, curious to learn more about the life of an FBI agent.
The murdered move me. Good or bad, they had hopes and dreams and loves. They once lived, like all of us, in a world where the deck is stacked against living. Between cancer or crashes on the freeway or dropping dead of a heart attack with a glass of wine in your hand and a strangled smile on your face, the world gives us plenty of chances to die. Murderers cheat the system, helping things along, rob the victims of something it's already a fight to keep. This offends me. I hated it the first time I saw it and I hate it even more now.
One of my frustrations with series of this genre is the need to outline the back-story of previous books. Often I'll find myself a bit annoyed and bored when an author spends too much time reminding the reader of significant events from an earlier work. This was not the case with The Darker Side. McFadyen writes like a veteran, deftly laying out all the necessary details without falling into the trap of overstating the obvious or padding the story with unnecessary commentary. I was immediately drawn into the narrative; the pacing is consistent and riveting, and the situations and dialogue completely believable. And, yes, in spite of the nature of these thrillers, I'll be one of the first in line to buy Cody's next book.
And now for a couple of give-aways! I have a brand new mass market copy of The Face of Death (Cody's second book in this series), as well as an ARC of The Darker Side. Leave me a comment with the title of the book you're interested in and I'll pick the winners in one week.
If you're like me and curious as to how Cody can create such evil villains (and how this affects him), check out his guest appearance here and here.
Better yet, Cody now has a blog! You can find it (and pictures of his dogs, aka "The Black Forces of Destruction") on his website.
Note to Cody: I like this title much better than Secret Sins!