By Amanda Amaya
Too Dark to Sleep is an incredible piece of work that grabbed me early on and didn’t let go—much like the dark that stalks the main character in the story. I’m very happy that this is going to be a series (second installment to be released at a date unknown), because the characters, the plot, and the writing are all superb. Here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:
Avid readers of crime fiction, noir or psychological thrillers will find Too Dark to Sleep a fresh take on their favorite genre. This is the first book in a gripping new series and not to be missed.
Maggie Quinn was the top homicide detective in
’s Area One before she suffered a devastating loss. Now struggling to face each day, Quinn becomes obsessed with solving her last case for the department that now bars her from wearing a badge. But is she targeting the right person or is Quinn’s tormented mind pushing her to ruin the life of an innocent man? Chicago
I don’t read too many from the crime/mystery/thriller genre, but from my limited experience, I can tell this book is different. The main character, Maggie Quinn, is deeply troubled, still grieving an immense loss, and is afraid of the dark. But, she has the best solve rate out of any of the detectives in her office and is the best they have. She also has a father who works for the “Outfit” (read: Mafia), and is still helping out his daughter from behind bars. The police request her help when a probable serial killer strikes again. Maggie was the detective that worked the first two similar murders, and her police chief is consulting her to help solve the case.
I loved the description of how Maggie processes a crime scene—her techniques, the way her mind works. I am a fan of Forensic Files, but most of these shows do not go into the exact details that the detectives use to solve the crime. Too Dark to Sleep was different.
The one thing that was difficult for me (and I’ll state it here for others who might be similarly affected), is that Maggie’s mental breakdown is due to the death of her daughter. I knew this going in, but decided to give it a go anyway. I have a daughter near the same age as Maggie’s, and at times it was difficult reading about her grief. Points to Dianne Gallagher for a realistic depiction, though.
I enjoyed Dianne’s writing style as well. I loved the way she describes Maggie’s condition and the way she builds suspense. Too Dark to Sleep is written so that the reader isn’t sure about the killer’s identity until the very last chapter. While other books in this genre outright tell you who the killer is, and the book is spent trying to prove it, in this book, there’s enough reasonable doubt to make things interesting. Throughout the book I was second-guessing Maggie, looking for other possible killers along with her, and sharing in her frustration at not being able to “get her man.” I also appreciated the depiction of
’s corrupt politics—very
interesting to see how city government works in this (hopefully fictional)
The ending was unpredictable and a little unsatisfying. I guess I was looking for the rainbows and kitten happy ending for her. Oh well. As I said earlier, Too Dark to Sleep is the first in a series, so I look forward to seeing Maggie develop as a character.
I give Too Dark to Sleep 4 stars, as I was completely captivated throughout. I loved the unpredictable nature of the book, the tender descriptions of Maggie’s slow healing, and the in-depth depictions of police work. Definitely a must read for anyone that likes this genre.
About the Reviewer: Amanda was born in
moved to Pittsburgh for 25 years,
and now she’s back in the .
She has been a nurse for a decade. She loves to read and will usually
read anything. She prefers to focus on self-published authors and may
consider writing herself one day. She is also a newlywed and a mom.
You can check out her work at the examiner.com and on her blog The Eclectic Bookworm. Lone Star State