Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader- Day
Eden Wallace's husband, Bix, a war hero, has been dead for nine months when she uses his reservation at Straits Point International Dark Sky Park in Michigan. She's hated the dark for years, but, after Bix's death, she's terrified. The stay at the park may send her screaming back to Chicago, or help her find solutions to her fears. But, Eden's reservation at the park isn't what she anticipated, a few nights all to herself in a guest house. Instead, she's just one of seven guests in the house. Yes, she has the suite to herself, but her fellow guests are three couples in their mid-twenties. Five of them went to college together, and it's an anniversary that reunites them.
When one of Eden's fellow guests is murdered in the middle of the night, the police consider all of them suspects. Eden's a stranger, so all the young people view her with suspicion. As she sees it, she's the only one with no motive. Now, she has two mysteries on her hands. The most immediate mystery is which of the other guests is a killer?
Eden's other mystery is one that has troubled her for nine months. Although she claims Bix made the reservations at the park as an anniversary present, he knew she didn't like the dark and had little interest in the stars. Why is she here? And, what's the truth behind her marriage? She isn't even sure they would have made it to ten years with Bix' PTSD, and other issues. As she observes the relationships between her fellow guests, Eden recalls stories and incidents that help her identify her own feelings towards her late husband, the past, and the future.
As in The Day I Died, Rader-Day introduces an intriguing protagonist with a complicated past. She slowly reveals Eden's story to the reader, through conversations and memories. While there's a locked-room mystery, and Eden is "mixed up in some Agatha Christie shit", as her sister says, Eden herself is the most fascinating part of the story. She's an awkward, haunted woman, trying to find the courage to live with herself.
Rader-Day's skilled use of darkness is so subtle it's only afterwards that the reader notices it. Eden moves from the darkness of her own soul-draining despair, its isolation, to a murder scene under the beauty found in a dark sky park. There are degrees of darkness in this novel.
Under a Dark Sky is another intense, compelling mystery from an author who excels in placing unconventional characters in dramatic, disturbing situations. To say it's a page-turner is an understatement. Lori Rader-Day's latest book will keep you reading into the dark.
Lori Rader-Day's website is https://loriraderday.com
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day. William Morrow, 2018. ISBN 9780062560308 (paperback), 416p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.