Darkening Skies by Bronwyn Parry

Darkening Skies by Bronwyn ParryDarkening Skies by Bronwyn Parry
Series: Dungirri #3
Published by Hachette Australia on September 10th 2013
Pages: 368
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Award-winning investigative reporter Jennifer Barrett never planned to return to Dungirri, the dying town she’d escaped at seventeen. But the shock resignation and startling revelations of local Federal MP Mark Strelitz have reopened the police investigation into the long-ago accident that killed her cousin, and Jenn is determined to find the truth, even if it proves that the close friend of her youth has become just another politician with a convenient case of amnesia.
For eighteen years, the hole in Mark Strelitz’s memory has concealed the truth: that he was the driver of the car in which Paula Barrett died. The investigation was corrupt, another man framed and sent to prison, and now Mark needs to set things right, whatever the personal cost.
But as Jenn and Mark ask questions about the old crime, new crimes occur; the murder of witnesses, the destruction of evidence. Despite the risks, neither of them can give up their search for answers but the further they delve into the district’s seedy past, the more questions they find – and the more danger. Someone wants the past to remain buried, and those investigating it to be stopped – permanently.

I’ve looked forward to reading Mark’s story for some time and after this, I’m convinced that Bronwyn Parry can do no wrong – especially on the mystery/crime front.

As usual, the suspense far outweighs the romance bit, which is a thin, loose thread of teenage lovers reunited as adults deftly woven into a deepening mystery surrounding Mark’s sudden resignation after a life-defining event that happened 18 years ago. Held back by not-too-pleasant memories and issues that stretch farther than their own insecurities, Jenn’s and Mark’s burgeoning relationship is toe-curling, delicious and painful to read. There’s plenty of their hyper-awareness of each other given their complicated history but the fulfilment of their passion seems to pass us by, briefly mentioned by Parry in a short love scene in the closing pages of the book.

I’ve always loved Parry’s male leads and Mark is really not too different from the other heroes in her books – masculine, principled, effortless with words and so multi-faceted that I’ve (un)consciously used them as benchmarks for assessing other romantic leads. Jenn is no pushover either; her tendency to run scared and over-question issues, while annoying at times, is at least clearly acknowledged and compensated for in the ending.