Book Review: The Gift of Darkness by V.M. Giambanco

untitledTitle: The Gift of Darkness

Author: V.M. Giambanco

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Twenty-five years ago in the woods near the Hoh River in Seattle, three boys were kidnapped. One did not come home.

A quarter of a decade later, a family of four is found brutally murdered, the words thirteen days scratched near their lifeless bodies.

Homicide Detective Alice Madison ran away from home as a child, one breath away from committing an unforgivable act; as an adult, she found her peace chasing the very worst humanity has to offer. Madison believes these murders are linked. And she has thirteen days to prove it.

To stop a psychopath, Madison must go back into the woods and confront the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys. She must forget her training and follow her instincts to the terrifying end as enemies become allies and, in the silent forest, time is running out to save another life.

The Gift of Darkness is a thrilling crime novel about a homicide on a family of four, the connection to a kidnapping twenty-five years ago, and the detective caught in the middle of this investigation. While the plot is chilling, the characters are great and not stereotypical, it’s the writing and editing that leaves a lot to be desired here.

Anyway, let’s start with the good. The plot is solid. We have a homicide on a family (two kids, mother, husband) and there’s a possible suspect, connecting to a kidnapping of three young boys that happened decades ago. One of the boys dissapeared, the others turned up later, hurt but alive, and it’s never been clear what happened that night. The characters, especilly the main character, are flawed and intriguing. Alice Madison, our protagonist, harbors dark secrets from her past that have shaped her into the detective she is today. Her flaws may be turned against her, and that’s exactly what works great about this book.

The novel was atmospheric, but had a slow start. The plot jumped often from one character to another, which was at times, confusing. But all of that, I could live with. The thriller aspect and suspense were good, so I didn’t mind forgiving a few flaws…But the editing. God, the editing. It was so horrible at times that I almost stopped reading.

Past and present tense are used interchangeably, odd sentence structure, and the book could’ve lost at least one hundred pages. This was an ARC, so I hope it goes through another solid round of editing before being released to the general audience.

Either way, I would recommend it to fans of mystery books / thrillers, but if you’re nitpicky about grammar, then you better stay away from this one.

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