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The Dark Corners of the Night Library Binding – Large Print, 25 March 2020
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I am the legion of the night ...
He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear--the Midnight Man. He comes for the parents but leaves the children alive, tiny witnesses to unspeakable horror. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating.
Still reeling from her best friend's close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best--hunt a serial killer. Her work is what keeps her going, but something about this UNSUB--unknown subject--doesn't sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication, for within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin's own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?
Tense and impactful, Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner's latest UNSUB thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat until its riveting conclusion.
"Gardiner makes every one of her characters leap alive off the page."-- "Jeffery Deaver"
"Meg Gardiner is an astonishing writer. . . . I couldn't turn the pages fast enough."-- "Tess Gerritsen"
"Meg Gardiner is one of my favorite authors. She always delivers a terrific read."-- "Karin Slaughter"
"Meg Gardiner's trademark strengths...characters as real as your friends, and a plot as real as your nightmares."-- "Lee Child"
"Brilliantly written. An unforgettable story. Stunning."-- "Don Winslow"
"Meg Gardiner is the next suspense superstar."-- "Stephen King"
- Publisher : Wheeler Publishing Large Print; Large type / Large print edition (25 March 2020)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1432877410
- ISBN-13 : 978-1432877415
- Dimensions : 14.22 x 3.05 x 21.84 cm
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Top reviews from Australia
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In The Dark Corners of the Night, we follow Caitlin and the team to Los Angeles, where the Midnight Man is terrorizing the city. This killer is breaking into family home late at night and killing the parents while their children are left scared and alone. He is a sadistic and clever killer, and always one step ahead of the authorities. I couldn't stop reading and I was hearing every little noise my house was making! It was seriously tense!
I look forward to checking out some more books by this author, she has really impressed me with these 3 books and I wish that I had discovered her sooner.
Top reviews from other countries
And don't get me started on the constant injections of cheesy psychology about the protagonist's attraction to self-harm. They seemed to appear every time the narrative flagged even a bit, and the presumed insights provided by those interludes were adolescent at best and downright dumb at worst.
Did I mention this book was an awful letdown? Yeah, I thought I probably did.
I finished reading this third installment of the author’s widely acclaimed UNSUB series of books a couple of nights ago. It is soon to become an Amazon TV Series and the “King” of horror exclaims “Don’t miss it. This is a great one!” before you even get to the Description of the novel. Stephen King has also already anointed Gardiner “…the next suspense superstar”.
The main protagonist of this book is “FBI behavioral analyst” Caitlin Hendrix. I noted in the inaugural outing UNSUB it mentions that she had been a narcotics cop for six months. She was described in the second book as a Rookie FBI agent newly assigned to the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Then in this third adventure Caitlan “has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation and do what she does best—hunt a serial killer”.
The story opens with a bang---literally. There has been a bomb detonated at a hospital, and not just any hospital. We have Caitlin frantically racing to the scene of the explosion and arriving on the scene while its devastation is still freshly manifest. Caitlin is fearing for the life of her dearest friend (Michele, an RN who was working in the ER at the time of the blast). A fatigued and soot covered ATF agent ultimately finds Michele and she is carried on a stretcher out of the smoking rubble. The reader gets the impression that the brave rescuer is the lover or spouse of her closest friend Michele, at least until he and Caitlin share an intimate kiss at the scene.
The reader subsequently learns that Caitlin’s lover Sean is the former husband of her best friend, Michele, and that they have a child together. This was enough to elicit a “What the---?” from me, albeit it is explained at some point that Caitlin meets her BFF Michele’s ex-husband AFTER the break-up. There’s THAT I guess. However, does anyone besides me think that this is an odd relationship? Well, as it turns out, yes, it IS a strange situation, since Caitlin is not infrequently worrying herself to death that Sean is still in love (or lust) with Michele…yes, Caitlin’s best friend in the world…and if NOT still in love, at least still attracted to her and wants to be close to her. It is pretty much right out of the gate that I think Caitlin used exceedingly poor judgment allowing herself to fall head over heels for her best friend’s ex-husband and father of her little girl. If we sweep away the poor judgment, then we have untethered insecurities about the allegiance of his affections. This would cause some tension between Caitlin and her best friend regardless of the validity of Caitlin’s fears. We can put that personal information together with what sounds like a meteoric rise from working narcotics in book one to working with the famed BAU of the FBI in Quantico going into the third installment of the series.
The real action starts six months down the road, albeit with Caitlin still reeling from her best friend’s close call in the aforementioned bombing. The LAPD has gleaned that recent murders have all the earmarks of a serial killer and reach out to the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI to lend a hand in assisting with the investigation. The FBI’s legendary profiler (Emmerich ) and other members of BAU Team subsequently descend upon LA, including Caitlin, computer guru Keyes, and the more senior members of the profiling unit.
The Task Force to track the serial killer running rampant in LA is ultimately comprised of so many cops and investigators from the varied agencies taking part (LAPD, the Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and independent consultants like Jo, a Forensic Psychologist whose Specialty is Juvenile Psychopathy, that it was difficult for me to keep track of “who was who” from one task force meeting to another, and that isn’t including all of the members who discussed the case among each other on a more informal level. I was easily confused by which individual of what department was spouting off in the book at any given time. The banter back and forth about the Unsub and the veritable flood of abnormal psychology and profiling facts and statistics just felt numbing and boring after a while. The character development was such that I wasn’t able to “see” or “feel” any of the long list of important players. Better stated perhaps, there was absolutely no sense of “immediacy” in Gardiner’s writing. I never felt immersed or like I was vested in the action taking place.
There was never a moment that involved this brilliant, meticulous serial killer dubbed “The Midnight Man” (that had the profiler team from Quantico freaked out for the most part, and certainly Caitlin) that left me with a single chill. He felt like a cardboard cutout to me.
Moving on, though, Location 2,981 is where the reader finds out that the heroine’s past history of self-harm, notably “cutting”, is not so much “past history”.
“She pressed the sliver of mirror in and drew it through her flesh.” “She felt exhilaration and relief. She felt soothed and punished. She felt control.”
Caitlin’s feelings after self-indulgence in slicing her arm with a piece of glass did not make me feel so good all over. In fact, a resurfacing of this destructive coping mechanism is not what I had hoped to learn about a lead character that I was already struggling to accept as sympathetic. The reader ran across Caitlin cutting more as the story progressed albeit obviously not as the saying goes “enjoying it less”.
“And she wanted to keep control over her life. The sleeves of her sweater covered her arms down to her thumbs. Nobody could see the fresh cuts on her arms. There were more of them now.”
By Location 3284 in the novel, we have Caitlin reflecting upon her feelings about the investigation, the hunt for The Midnight Man, and earlier about how she could ever see herself “Using deadly force against a teen …”
“It was a rising wall of rage and fear, inexorable, inescapable. She scraped at the scabs on her forearms. A row of cuts now ran between her wrists and her elbows. She wrestled off her peacoat and shoved up the sleeves of her sweater and scratched everywhere the cuts could be torn open. The pain was insufficient. She wanted a razor blade. “
It was at this point that I concluded that Gardiner’s lauded heroine of the UNSUB series was an emotionally damaged neurotic who handles the stress of the case by "cutting" behavior, ripping the scabs off previously self-inflicted injuries and making fresh blood flow. I am not interested in an FBI Agent, even a profiler prodigy, who needs a psych eval and a treatment plan---who also crumbles at the emotional damage she could suffer if she aimed her gun sights on a teenager---never mind that he is an incurable psychopath and has left in his wake a bloody body count of innocent mothers and fathers giving rise to a number of emotionally traumatized orphans. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have a basic intolerance for significantly flawed protagonists (male or female) who remain in the grip of their addictions (booze, pills, sex, depression over past mistakes or dead loved ones, or in this case deep-seated insecurities, seriously flawed judgment in her personal life, and self-harming behaviors to cope with stressors). These flawed heroes simultaneously stay on the investigation solving enigmatic clues, experience incredible epiphanies, and invariably solve the case. No more Caitlin Hendrix for me, and scratch the UNSUB SERIES.
I continued to read the book and it only made me more agitated. Caitlin later ponders:
“Hayden existed without the ability to love, so emotionally impoverished that he didn’t even know he was lost and starving. He was a boy. If she pulled the trigger, what would she become?” … “Could I take his life? What would be left of me afterward?”
Any shred of respect and admiration for Caitlan as an FBI Agent was already on life support…but right at this moment was where I figuratively “pulled the plug” and watched the heroine flat line for the remainder of the story.
In the final analysis, I find that as a reader I am really an outlier on this one. I can’t respect a thing about the main character at all, and the overall novel was more a 2.5 than a 3 Stars. I have read some of Gardiner’s early works and her true talents do not shine in this book.
That all makes it sound like I hated this book but I didn't. It was entertaining and a fast read. I'll read the next one because the Ghost storyline sounds interesting. Just up the realism and originality.