Book Review: Darkness All Around by Doug Magee

Darkness All Around
Doug Magee
Touchstone Books, October 2011
ISBN 9781439154021
Hardcover

Memories are tricky. Sometimes they can be wonderful but sometimes they can reveal awful truths. When you’ve lost your memory, you could be in real trouble. Especially if pieces of the past start filtering through the blockage. When enough of the past seeps through, what’s revealed could be devastating.

Sean Collins left Braden, Pennsylvania at a bad time in his life. He was an alcoholic, his marriage was falling apart, and one of his friends, Carol, had been brutally murdered. Ten years later, he has recovered from an accident that nearly took his life. He’s also remembering pieces of his past and those pieces are telling him he may have killed Carol. Returning to Braden, he finds his former wife, Risa, married to a high school friend, Alan Benson. Benson is in the middle of a hot campaign for Congress. The lives of Alan, Sean, and Risa are about to change when more of the truth is revealed.

A good soap opera type mystery. Magee keeps the tension tight as his characters plunge into turmoil. Who can be believed? What’s the truth? Who can be trusted? The book mainly bounces between Risa and Sean. Risa must deal with an ego driven, power hungry husband and a potentially violent teenage son while Sean struggles to survive and reconcile with his faulty memory. There’s also a reporter looking for the truth and being hounded by his editor. This story contains a lot of good character interaction with an obligatory surprise at the end.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, April 2012.
Author of Night Shadows and Beta.