Book Review: Darling Jim – Christian Moerk

Title: Darling Jim: A Novel
Author: Christian Moerk
ISBN: 9780805092080
Pages: 320
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

The mail carrier in Malahide, just north of Dublin, Ireland, wasn’t prepared for what he saw.  He hadn’t seen Moira, the occupant of the house he was delivering mail to, in days, perhaps weeks, and decided he should just take a quick peek through the mail slot in order to make sure everything was all right.  However, what he saw was most definitely not all right.  In this tale of gruesome murder, Christian Moerk recounts the story of the Walsh sisters, horrible victims of their Aunt Moira.

Review:

Darling Jim caught my eye when it was first published as a book I really wanted to read.  The description from the publisher made it seem like a mesmerizing and captivating work of fiction.  What I didn’t expect, though, was how strange it would be.

This is not your average mystery – Moerk draws on fairy tales and the power of storytelling in order to tell this tale.  I’m not sure it would have worked if the setting had been somewhere less atmospheric and ancient than Ireland, but it flows very well the way it’s written.  It’s intriguing and leaves the reader guessing at every turn.  I’m not sure I can highlight the weirdness enough, though – every time I think about it, it just gets stranger.

The beginning of the book is both shocking and gruesome.  It’s also very sad, as you get to know the characters in the book, to have the knowledge that they’re dead, and that they died in a horrible way.  Moerk does a great job making the characters appeal to the reader.  The Walsh sisters are lively, beautiful women, while Jim is dark and twisted (though I must admit, I didn’t understand what was so appealing about him).  While I would have loved more character development, the nature of the novel (told mostly through diary entries) precludes that..

Darling Jim was a quick read and an enthralling gothic novel that I didn’t want to put down.  It was definitely weird, but in a great way.  It was unique and unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory.  If you’re a fan of gothic novels, and the fairy tale mix sounds appealing, I definitely recommend this dark novel.

Comments

  1. Gothic? Did you say gothic? Plus I love anything that is just a few steps off the beaten path. I’ve written this one down of course, and I hope I can claw my way out of the hole I’m in so I can read it! (Hmmm…maybe for RIP this fall?)

  2. Gothic? Did you say gothic? Plus I love anything that is just a few steps off the beaten path. I’ve written this one down of course, and I hope I can claw my way out of the hole I’m in so I can read it! (Hmmm…maybe for RIP this fall?)

  3. I like that kind of weird — I’ll have to keep this on my radar.

  4. I like that kind of weird — I’ll have to keep this on my radar.

  5. I’m with Candace – this sounds like my kind of weird. Thanks for a great review!

  6. I’m with Candace – this sounds like my kind of weird. Thanks for a great review!

  7. Terrific review. And now I could kick myself. I had this book for a while, read a few pages and couldn’t get into it. Just this past Saturday it got added to the box that I donated to Goodwill.

    I wish I’d have been more patient and read it. *sigh*

  8. Terrific review. And now I could kick myself. I had this book for a while, read a few pages and couldn’t get into it. Just this past Saturday it got added to the box that I donated to Goodwill.

    I wish I’d have been more patient and read it. *sigh*

  9. I’m not a huge fan of gore, but if it is primarily at the beginning of the book I could live with it, this sounds interesting.

  10. I’m not a huge fan of gore, but if it is primarily at the beginning of the book I could live with it, this sounds interesting.

  11. I read this book last year and loved it. You are right, it is totally weird and in a lot of ways, really creepy. I am glad that you liked it so much and gave it such a great review. It would be nice if the book got a little more attention because it does deserve it. Great review!

  12. I read this book last year and loved it. You are right, it is totally weird and in a lot of ways, really creepy. I am glad that you liked it so much and gave it such a great review. It would be nice if the book got a little more attention because it does deserve it. Great review!

  13. I dont like paneer either, I put really small pieces, most of which go to my husbands plate. I make it in a similar way except without sugar and cream, I put curd instead.

  14. I dont like paneer either, I put really small pieces, most of which go to my husbands plate. I make it in a similar way except without sugar and cream, I put curd instead.

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