Title: Darkness, My Old Friend
Author: Lisa Unger
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Jones Cooper has retired from the police force (not necessarily by choice) and doesn’t know what to do with his days. He has been helping out his neighbors free-of-charge, but his wife has been pushing him to find something to occupy his time. He resents that she is forcing him to see a therapist. When a psychic comes to Jones’ doorstop, one he worked with while on the police force, he knows that his quiet way of life is about to change.
Though I’ve tried to summarize Darkness, My Old Friend above, I really only focused on one small storyline of this large and complex book. There are many different characters and story arches, and the magic of the book is seeing how each of them intertwine and diverge from one another. Jones seems to be the anchor that binds many of these different plotlines together; though not necessarily the main character, he is at the center of the book, watching things around him slowly devolve.
Darkness, My Old Friend is actually a sequel to Unger’s previous novel, Fragile, though I didn’t realize that until a quarter of the way through the book. Darkness, My Old Friend functions very well as a standalone; there is no need to read Fragile first. Unger is careful to hint around the events of the first book when discussing Jones’ past, but never gives away too much. As a result, readers could pick up these books out of order and still derive enjoyment out of both.
I’ve always maintained that Lisa Unger is a master at crafting mysteries, and every book she writes just confirms that fact. This is a subtle book of whispers and haunting thoughts; it takes the reader on twists and turns, into unexpected territory. While it never stretches credulity, it is difficult to predict what will happen. Unger’s writing style is poetic and achingly beautiful, and does justice to her gripping storylines. This is a thrilling read that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.
Lisa Unger is one of those authors whose books I anticipate breathlessly. Even if I have no idea (or interest in) what she’s writing about, I will always pick up her books just because she is that great of an author. Unger has created some memorable characters and a vivid setting in The Hollows, and I hope she returns to them in her next book. I highly recommend Darkness, My Old Friend and all of Unger’s earlier novels to mystery and thriller lovers, as well as anyone who loves a tightly woven and gripping story.