No Darker Place by Debra Webb

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews 20th December 2016
No Darker Place by Debra WebbNo Darker Place by Debra Webb
Series: Shades of Death #1
Published by Mira Books on February 28th 2017
Pages: 416
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four-stars

They want revenge. They need each other.
Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie's pain and her desire for vengeance. He's on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice. Will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she's forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.

Reading ‘No Darker Place’ is akin to watching a spectacularly fatal train crash where you can’t look away because the disaster is morbidly compelling: it’s meticulously written, with the sheer brutality of every kill making me cringe and wince. There’s a raw edge that never lets go, parallels drawn between the serial killer’s psyche and his victims and an unflinching portrayal of a damaged woman’s psyche whose loss and guilt fuelling her reckless agenda for revenge which is in turn skilfully used and manipulated by the Storyteller…well, it all makes for a very engrossing read, though the subject in question in itself makes it a difficult book to ‘like’ or to call a favourite.

I did find both protagonists rather compelling—though the insertion of several POVs of secondary characters seemed unnecessary—and their motivations sufficiently complex to make them multi-dimensional enough to like. But if Bobbie Gentry’s personality is well laid out, the very, very mysterious and enigmatic Nick Shade—whom we barely know as an interfering civilian in search of his own absolution—remains very much a closed book and near impossible to grasp at this point in time. This isn’t a romance by any chance; interactions between Bobbie and Nick are terse, wary and somewhat suspicious, lined only by the very slightest hint of heat if you squint hard enough. Needless to say, Nick and Bobbie are not in a place for anything beyond accepting each other as temporary ‘partners’ but I felt their pull towards each other immediately, heightened by the tension of the escalating case and the odd connection they’d forged in their hunt for the Storyteller who in many ways, seemed larger than life and almost humanly impossible to kill.

’No Darker Place’ is probably a good addition for crime-aficionados, disturbing and graphic enough for those who enjoy going deep into a crime scene and the psychology that can be used to analyse the heck out of a warped killer. As the first full-length novel in a series, it feels very unfinished nonetheless, the path ahead still murky for the protagonists who don’t quite have what they’re looking for…yet.

four-stars

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