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Book Review: A Flicker in the Dark

Title: A Flicker in the Dark

Author: Stacy Willingham

Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Crime

Specs Spot

What's it about?

Chloe Davis has spent the last twenty years trying to, somehow, erase, forget or undo what her father did when she was twelve. How desperately she wanted to seperate herself from the man who was arrested and named the serial killer who killed six teen girls all those years ago. Instead, she decided to to do something good with her trauma by becoming a phycologist herself. But she's far from being a healthy, well adjusted adult, which is only brought further into the fore front when girls start disappearing around her. Teen girls. And, no matter how much she doesn't want to face it, even though she knows her father is locked away in prison (though she has managed to avoid seeing him for the past 20 years), she can't shake the feeling that there is something oddly similar between these current disappearances and those that put her father away in her childhood.


Favorite Character: My favorite character was Chloe. Yes, it's true, that we get to know her best, but that's not why she's my favorite. She's my favorite becuase, well, she's smart, beautiful, determined and perfectly imperfect. She's complex and incapable of applying her knowledge, and even her awareness, to herself. While she has moved on from her past, she has never really managed to let it go and actually heal with what happened. She's haunted by the fact that she was the child of a serial killer; lived with and even loved who was revealed to be a monster and I kind of love that she struggled with these real emotions and how we choose to define ourselves.

Least Favorite Character: Aside from any of the guilty killers found in this story (including Chloe's own father), my least favorite was Dianne. Ok. I agree, you can make arguments for her. You can talk about victims of abuse and being stuck with toxic individuals but, at the end of the day, as a mother, she fell short. She left so much to be desired. I couldn't help be to really dislike her.

Favorite Part: The party. I don't have a long drawn out reason for this. The truth is, no part stood out to me as my favorite. I just really enjoyed the whole books.

Any other thoughts?

I went into this book anxious. Everyone was talking about it and, while I got this book as an ARC, I have so many that it generally takes a while for me to get to them and this one was pretty low in the pile. So I moved it because I wanted to be a part of the conversation. But with all of the hype, I wasn't sure that it would really be worth breaking all of my rules and moving it up. But it somehow managed to live up to the hype.

It wasn't perfect. It was written more in the "tell me" style which, while not horrible in this situation, is not my favorite style. And I did notice that the author did make some errors with randomly switching tenses from past to present in a few places, which made me stop and reread a few times out of confusion and I would have liked to get to know the characters a little better. And I wish Daniel had a stronger personality as, overall, he just seemed bland and one dimensional.

BUT I liked the story. I really enjoyed the premise and I liked Chloe. I loved that her past was just present enough to be impossible to leave behind but not so present that it was constantly at the fore front of her every day life and I thought the scars that she suffered from that experience were pretty believable and understandable. She wasn't "overly damaged" for what happened. Some how, the level of the "damage" felt just right and valid. In fact, she felt, not damaged but fighting to heal in an unknown world with no wonderful, bright and pretty role model to look to for guidance.

This book, weather because of the premise, the fact that a fictional serial killer was involved or the fact that Chloe was a psychologist (and I really like psych), I was grabbed as soon as I started it. I didn't want to put it down and, when I had to (you adult and do stupid things to care for myself like sleep), I kept thinking about it and counting down until I could pick it up and read it again. I was really glad I bumped it to the top of my pile!

I also really like that I didn't figure out the answers correctly, either. There were people that, every time they were around, I was like, "Yep! That's the killer!" but then, one of the other three big suspects would come in and I'd be like, "Nope. This is the person who did it!" and I just couldn't decide. I did pick my primary suspect and one point, though I did doubt my choice more often then I liked...and I wasn't right. Which I totally appreciated! (I did have the killer in my top three list, though so SCORE! Just not a goal worth enough points to claim I knew all along.)

What do I rate this?

I give this book a


out of

10 fireflies

But that's just what I thought. What did you think? Did it let you down? Did it surprise you? Did you know who the killer was the whole time? Let us know in the comments.

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