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Friday, August 24, 2018

REVIEW: Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day @WMMorrowBooks @LoriRaderDay @tlcbooktours #allthebookreviews

Under A Dark Sky
by Lori Rader-Day

Thanks so much to William Morrow Books and TLC Book Tours for this review copy!

Publisher:  William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date:  August 7, 2018
405 Pages Standalone
Genres:  Mystery, Thriller

Only in the dark can she find the truth . . . 

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Links: WebsiteInstagramFacebook, and Twitter 

Since her husband died, Eden Wallace's life has diminished down to a tiny pinprick, like a far-off star in the night sky. She doesn't work, has given up on her love of photography, and is so plagued by night terrors that she can't sleep without the lights on. Everyone, including her family, has grown weary of her grief. So when she finds paperwork in her husband's effects indicating that he reserved a week at a dark sky park, she goes. She's ready to shed her fear and return to the living, even if it means facing her paralyzing phobia of the dark. 

But when she arrives at the park, the guest suite she thought was a private retreat is teeming with a group of twenty-somethings, all stuck in the orbit of their old college friendships. Horrified that her get-away has been taken over, Eden decides to head home the next day. But then a scream wakes the house in the middle of the night. One of the friends has been murdered. Now everyone—including Eden—is a suspect. 

Everyone is keeping secrets, but only one is a murderer. As mishaps continue to befall the group, Eden must make sense of the chaos and lies to evade a ruthless killer—and she'll have to do it before dark falls… 

Purchase Links
HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lori Rader-Day is the author of Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour. She is a three-time Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee, winning the award in 2016. Lori lives in Chicago. Find out more about Lori at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

My Review:

Eden has lost her husband in a tragic accident and finds that he has secretly booked a surprise trip to a fairly isolated place they've spoken about in the past.  Maybe this is the trip she needed to find some closure.  Unfortunately, the trip turns into a nightmare - one in which she learns things about her husband that are worse than what she already had found out and becomes a suspect in a murder from the co-guests she also didn't expect.  PHEW.

There are a lot of characters in this and we get a glimpse into every one of them.  When there's a group like this, typically (but not always) you find that there is overlapping of relationships, sordid pasts and an inability to really welcome anyone new into the fold.  When the seemingly most liked person gets murdered... well, pure chaos ensues from there with accusations being thrown left and right.  Seriously, with friends like this you definitely do NOT need enemies.

To me this read somewhat like a game of clue - except you know where and what with - now it's just a matter of who.  I think claiming this to be a "terrifying twist on a locked-room mystery" is the wrong way to market this particular book.  I didn't particularly find anything terrifying about this book.  What I DID find was this to be a moderately paced whodunit type mystery where everyone seems to have a motive.  At times I felt things got a bit repetitive and I just wanted it to move forward.  I also felt that too many characters were introduced which made the book a tad bit crowded.

I did find Eden's nyctophobia to be one of the most interesting things about the book - I wish we knew a bit more about where this came from as while it's a front runner for the book, I felt it also took a bit of a back burner role when it came to the meat of the story. 

This was more a murder mystery dealing with different stages of grief from Eden's past and the murder that occurs, how the characters deal in their own ways and how it slowly unfolds to the why.  Eden's snarky responses during some of the scenarios were my favorites to read.  Be careful who you choose to be your friends and whatever you do, do not go to a remote location with them if there are tough waves in the water... this seems to be where all the red herrings live. 😉


Jessica's Review:

This book was read in the 3.5 hours I was stuck at an auto shop. Yes, you read that right, 3.5 HOURS! At least I had UNDER A DARK SKY to keep me completely occupied. This psychological suspense had a great pacing that kept my attention the entire time and I was able to fly through it. 

Eden is off to spend her 10th wedding anniversary at a secluded cabin out in Michigan. Only, there's something very unique about this trip - her husband Bix has been dead for almost nine months and he was the one that made the reservation. So against her better judgment, Eden ventures out to this resort that is well-known for it's viewing of the stars at night to honor the surprise reservation her husband had made. Upon arriving, there seems to have been a mix up with the reservation because there are already people piling into the guest house she assumed she had alone. 

Turns out, the guest house has two portions. The main house and then a suite with it's own entrance on the back. Eden has to share a night with a group of six twenty-somethings that are having an anniversary celebration of their own. We are quickly introduced to Paris and Dev (engaged), Martha, Sam, and then Malloy and his new girlfriend Hillary. The five of them are connected through college and they have a shared secret that was tearing their friendship apart and creating distance. 
In the middle of the night, Eden hears a scream and paralyzed by her fear of the dark she waits in her suite. Dev comes running to her and brings her downstairs - Malloy has been murdered. This turns into a "whodunit" suspense with everyone being a suspect. Was it the new girlfriend? Was it one of the jealous friends? Was it the stranger that didn't even want to be apart of their group? So many questions and so many red herrings throughout. 

This definitely kept me guessing and there were plenty of twists thrown in to keep me on my toes! Considering I devoured this in 3.5 hours I would say that this can be classified as a binge-worthy read. This is all told from Eden's point of view, which I was happy about because there were so many core characters that it would have gotten confusing if we had the multiple POV style. There are a couple parts where it felt slightly repetitive for me, but nothing major and at first I had some issues keeping the characters straight. Other than those minor things, I really enjoyed Rader-Day's newest release! 

I give this 4/5 stars!

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