Friday, October 17, 2008

a review of The Darker Side

The Darker Side by Cody McFadyen

In his third book in the series, following The Face of Death and Shadowman, Cody McFadyen has once again given us an excellent, solid FBI procedural. With The Darker Side returns Agent Smoky Barrett, a character with her own tragic, horrific past. She and her family, her husband and young daughter, were taken hostage in their home. Barrett was raped and tortured, her husband and child both died. When we first met her in Shadowman, she was recovering from her injuries, her terribly scarred face and body nothing in comparison to the scars she carried within her. She spent her days alone in her house, trying to decide whether to end her life. So she is a police officer that certainly understands the pain of both the victims of crime and their families.

When she and her team of investigators are called by the FBI Director himself to delve into the murder of a beautiful young woman on an airplane flight to Virginia, it seems at first that her fame is the reason they are given the case. The victim is the daughter of a powerful U.S Senator and Smoky has been requested especially, partially because of her previous skill in solving some high profile cases but also because the victim's mother knows that she understands their pain and will stop at nothing to find the killer. And she is right...

What first appears to be one of those 'locked-door' mysteries, a murder on a plane in the air with the possible murderers all locked in, turns out to something else, a very small part of a much more horrible reality. And not everything is as it appears at first. Everyone has their secrets it seems and this book is all about secrets; not just those of the criminal or the victims of crime but those that have dedicated their lives to bringing justice to the victims as well.

I will not lie to you, my dear readers. Mr. McFadyen books are not cozy, superficial mysteries. Some may find then rather gory and intense and all three of them present some difficult situations for the reader to consider, a lot of gray rather than black and white. But I can assure you that you will be rewarded in each of his books with a taut, compelling story, with wonderful, complex characters that each have their own demons to wrestle with.

As I mentioned, this is the third book in the series, and while the author gives us a brief synopsis of the relative background of Smoky and the others from the previous books, this is one case where I really think it is best to start with the first. The first book, Shadowman, is such a powerful story that you deserve to read the whole thing from the beginning...and begin to understand Smoky's own secrets...because it is all about the secrets after all.

And then you will have this very good book, The Darker Side, to look forward to reading.

Available from Amazon


  1. I can't stand gory, violent movies, but it doesn't bother me in a book - go figure.

  2. Funny, I was just having that same discussion with my sil the other evening. I don't like scary movies, violent movies...but in a book....

    Maybe because we can control it in a book. You can put it down, come back to it later...pace it out.


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