ARC Review: Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

Goodreads: Some Choose Darkness
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publish date: 28 May 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Rating: ★★★★

A modern master of suspense, critically acclaimed author Charlie Donlea returns with a taut, gripping novel about the deadly secrets hiding in plain sight . . . 

The truth is easy to miss, even when it’s right in front of us. As a forensic reconstructionist, Rory Moore sheds light on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others fail to see. Cleaning out her late father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more.

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing. The predator, nicknamed The Thief, left no bodies and no clues behind—until police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before police could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder—the only crime the DA could pin on him. As a former client of her father’s, Rory becomes reluctantly involved with the killer—though he continues to insist he didn’t murder Angela. Now he wants Rory to do what her father once promised: prove that Angela is, in fact, still alive.

As Rory begins reconstructing Angela’s last days, another killer emerges from the shadows, replicating those long-ago murders. With every startling discovery she makes, Rory becomes more deeply entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell—and in The Thief’s tormented mind. Drawing connections between past and present is the only way to stop the nightmare, but even Rory can’t be prepared for the full, terrifying truth that is emerging

This was my first Charlie Donlea book and it had me questioning how on earth I was sleeping on his books before this. How is it that he wasn’t even on my radar?! Shook. But you can believe that I will be remedying this from now on because “Some Choose Darkness” was such a great read! It wasn’t that it was entirely unpredictable, but the suspense was kept high from the start, and the characters and storyline were engaging throughout. The story is told in alternating narratives, shifting from the past with Angela Mitchell and the present with Rory Moore, with some other character perspectives thrown in there at the start. Through Angela’s chapters we learn about how she discovered the identity of a serial killer known as The Thief in Chicago in 1979. With Rory’s chapters, we learn about how that past ties in with the present when her father passes away and his cases, one of which concerns The Thief who her father represented, gets passed on to her.

I really appreciated the fact that both Angela and Rory are characters on the spectrum and that being autistic was what really enabled Angela to discover the truth and what makes Rory so great at her job as a forensic reconstructor of cold cases. I can’t speak to the accuracy of how they’re portrayed, but I thought Donlea did a really good job of representing characters with autism and OCD. Reading Angela’s chapters often left me feeling itchy and restless and had my heart galloping so fast and I became so immersed in the mystery in Rory’s chapters. When it came to the “big reveal” of The Thief, Donlea kept me guessing until Angela’s most pressing discovery, when my jaw dropped in disbelief. I would have frozen cold and probably died if I had been in her shoes. I was so convinced it was someone else and the person it turned out to be wasn’t even on my radar to start with! The rest of the story was slightly predictable; I was able to easily guess about something significant to Rory’s character as I was reading, but that said, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story overall.

I did think the ending was rushed and Rory’s actions didn’t make sense to me at all (personally, I thought it was completely out of her character), so that was a bit disappointing. To be honest, it was a little anticlimactic and very ‘easily done’. I also didn’t understand how the cold case Rory was initially involved in was relevant to the story. It did make a nice segue to a big part of Rory’s life and personal character, but mentions of it kept popping up throughout the story, and I never really understood why. Is Donlea going to continue Rory’s storyline as a forensic reconstructor? It would be interesting if he did and I’d definitely read a series with her in it!

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in reading? Keep your eyes open for when this book comes out on 28 May 2019.

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