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Saturday, January 6, 2018

REVIEW: A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis @mulhollandbooks @katialief

A Map of the Dark
by Karen Ellis

Thank you so much to Mulholland Books for this copy in return for my honest review! ❤

Publisher:  Mulholland Books
Published:  January 2, 2018
290 Pages
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Crime
The Searchers Series (Book 1)

Goodreads Synopsis:

A girl, missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning...

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost...

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa's skin. Everything she has buried - her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother's death - threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself...and return to the darkness she's been hiding from for years.

My Review:

The first in a new series, we get introduced to Elsa Myers.  FBI Agent who is put on a child abduction case all while dealing with her dying father which is trudging up memories of her traumatic childhood.  As each day passes without finding this young girl, her memories start to infiltrate her mind more and old habits of coping come to the surface again.

I'll be honest, I had a little bit of a hard time getting through the first third of the book.  I wanted to put it down several times and contemplated DNF-ing.  Why?  Because it was a little confusing. The prologue gave you a sense of a girl not quite right in her mind but you're not sure why.  Ok, I get it.  Then we get into the case and the introduction to Elsa.  The problem is with the past and present chapters with Elsa.  There was some confusion in one chapter where she just calls her mom, Mom, but in others where she calls her Deb... it took me a minute to realize they were one in the same.  Also, at a certain point, her past seemed to be more prominent than the real case at hand - the abductions.  Then randomly thrown in there, we would get glimpses of the mind of the girl from the prologue, who I assumed was one of the abductees.  It just didn't flow well for me.  There were also a couple of inconsistencies that glared at me but that's just me being super picky.

So, why did I continue?  Because I DID get drawn into the case.  I needed to know where the girls were and if and how they were going to get saved.  Karen Ellis drew me into Elsa's character but I did find myself mulling through the past chapters antsy to get to the present day.  By the last third of the book, I was hooked and powering through the pages.  I was engaged and empathetic to Elsa, even her past!  And while I did see the twist coming a mile away, the author did it well and by the end, I DID feel satisfied.  If only I didn't trudge through the beginning, I would be raving about this book.  The author is clearly talented and maybe it took all that trudging to truly appreciate the end... who knows?  Maybe it's just me and those little inconsistencies just rattled me a bit.

At the end of the day, I'm glad that I did finish the book and felt satisfied by the end.  I will definitely pick up some more of the author's work in the future (as this is a pseudonym, I'll be looking for some of her work under Katia Lief as well) - and I would honestly like to see where Elsa goes from here.


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