Delightfully Dark

If you’re looking for a darkly atmospheric read, Laura McHugh is the author for you. She has been on my radar since I read and enjoyed her book The Weight of Blood in 2014 and now with her latest book, What’s Done in Darkness, McHugh once again gives her readers a compelling and chilling rural thriller.

What’s Done in Darkness is a shorter read at only 256 pages, but it packs quite a punch. Admittedly, McHugh does Arkansas tourism no favours with her dark tale set in the backwoods of the state, but this is a tense and compelling story that thriller readers won’t want to miss.

It is a slow-building story initially, so I advise readers to be patient. By the one-quarter mark readers won’t want to put this book down! This is a dark and twisty ride filled with several potential culprits, a couple of nail-biting scenes and a satisfying ending. I could say I predicted the culprit, but my mind changed several times throughout the book, so I won’t call my deduction exactly prophetic. There is a slight romance which was I thought was unnecessary, but it doesn’t impede with the book’s tension.

Told in alternating chapters, McHugh brings her readers into Sarah’s tragic and disturbing past (as Sarabeth) – her abduction and family life – as well as the present day as she continues to struggle with her demons. I appreciated that the author doesn’t shy away from intense topics (cult-like religions, PTSD, female oppression …) and in doing so, provides her readers with great, evocative discussion points.

Gritty, compelling, and delightfully dark, McHugh excels at creating her dark rural backdrop and through this multi-layered thriller, provides readers with complex characters, a handful of potential culprits to keep readers guessing and a bevy of twists that will have readers devouring this book. You can put your hold on this recently published book now!

— Laurie P.