Friday, November 18, 2011

Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando

In Afraid of the Dark, Vince Paulo comes to the aid of his friend's daughter McKenna. As she lay dying in his arms, she utters the name of her boyfriend, Jamal, when asked "Who did this to you?" Minutes later there's a blast that will forever change Paulo's world. Jack Swyteck, a defence attorney, comes to the aid of Jamal after he's been accused of terrorist activity. His alibi for McKenna's murder is a little far-fetched, even to Swyteck, but a lot is possible when terrorism is involved. As more bodies are found, "the Dark" appears and taunts the investigators with mysterious notes, which causes the investigation to grow in scope and intensity.

I liked this mystery/thriller. It was multifaceted and fast paced. It wasn't as tight as I would have liked to see, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I loved reading about the investigation focused on McKenna's killer, but the terrorist aspect was only somewhat interesting. It was almost as if the scope and implications were just beyond me, too big for me to get my head around properly. At times the story seemed to spread out in every direction hitting upon lots of hot topics: politics, terrorism, child porn and more. Much of it unpleasant to read about or even think about.

All of the major characters were well written and edgy. I liked that, but it made a few of them hard to love. I really liked Vince, the blind police officer, but Jack, the main protagonist, and Chuck, McKenna's father, were a little abrasive. I did have a little trouble keeping the characters and their motivations straight, but that's probably because I had some trouble keeping track of the ever-expanding story line. It's all good, though. I'd definitely love to read another book featuring Jack Swyteck.

New Words: polemic (page 27): passionate argument

I've read one other book by Grippando Lying with Strangers (my review). It's one of my very early reviews, mostly just a bunch of jumbled sentences. I had some problems with the story, but if I remember correctly, I enjoyed it. I have a number of books from Grippando's back list as well as his latest (due out in December 2011) Need You Now on my to-be-read shelf. I'll be reading/reviewing his latest as soon as I can.


For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins website.

For more information about the author and his other books, please visit James Grippando's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.

Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando, Harper (HarperCollins), ©2011. ISBN 9780061840289(Uncorrected Proof), 406p.

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