Dark Country – Darren E Laws
Battling a debilitating illness, FBI agent Georgina O’Neil joins forces with newly licensed private investigator, Leroy La Portiere to find Susan Dark, the latest in the Dark family to go missing as she is on the verge of national stardom. But Georgina’s search for the truth is hampered by an illness which is affecting her judgement. Is there one perpetrator or is this a series of elaborate copycat crimes?
The hunt to find Susan leads them deep into a densely forested area as they follow a bloody trail and a deadly cat and mouse pursuit that will have fatal consequences for all.
Thanks to Caffeine Nights for my review copy
This is the second book from Darren E. Laws to feature Georgina O’Neil (the first was Turtle Island). In these circumstances I always like to give consideration within my review over whether the reader is disadvantaged if they have not read the previous story, in this case I would suggest you are not. There are clearly events from Turtle Island which are picked up again within Dark Country, however, they are introduced and explained at appropriate points in the story and you are given sufficient background to allow continuity and progression.
Dark Country has a great hook – three generations of one family are kidnapped over a 50 year period. Each of the abductees had established a successful career as a Country & Western singer and the latest kidnap victim (Susan Dark) was actually working on an album which would have featured her voice alongside that of her mother and grandmother.
The lead character is FBI Agent Georgina O’Neil. She has a debilitating medical condition which has impacted upon her ability to return to full active service with the FBI. Events in Dark Country find Georgina working with her friend Leroy La Portiere (a newly appointed Private Investigator) who has been enlisted by Susan Dark’s record producer to track down the missing singer.
One slight irk I had with Georgina’s illness is that she seemed to be in possession of recuperative powers only previously exhibited by Marvel Comics hero Wolverine – bouncing back from some major surgery to undertake a grueling cross country chase. Laws DOES acknowledge that Georgina is not in full health and IS suffering but this element of the story was a little too far a stretch at times.
All good crime stories need a bad guy and we certainly have that in Dark Country. Risk of Spoilers prevent too much detail at this stage, however, there are some nasty types to be found here. Descriptions of murders creep towards a horror feel at times (which is right up my street but may offend the more sensitive reader).
Events in Dark Country build to a really explosive conclusion with a mass standoff between the key players in a remote location. This played out really well and had me hooked as the end of the book approached. Just when I thought I had seen the story play out there was a nice wee twist to confound me further.
Dark Country is good fun but I wonder if killing off Country & Western singers may upset some potential readers? This is a good one for the horror loving crime fan. Review score of 3.5/5 – see it through to the excellent endgame!