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Book Review – Darkness All Around by Doug Magee

Synopsis:  Now in paperback: a gripping novel of psychological suspense in which a mans startling claims about a long-ago murder compel his ex-wife to risk all in search of the truth.Within a week, Risas alcoholic husband Sean disappears, and her best friend, Carol, is brutally murdered. Ten years later, after Risa remarries and a man has been convicted of her friends slaying, Sean resurfaces, sober, plagued by horrific recollections of the murder and convinced he was the real killer.     Seans startling claim buzzes through their small Pennsylvania town, and Risa is left to wonder if the man she still loves actually killed her best friend. But her growing belief in his innocence sends her on a search for the truth: a search that reveals ugly secrets her new husband, a politician, and the towns law enforcement are hiding.     Doug Magees Darkness All Around explores the depths of the criminal mind and the bravery of the human heart. This taut thriller about the quest for redemption and the power of unshakeable love will keep readers in suspense until its heartrending climax.

First Line:  “It’s a body.  That’s all I know.”

Random Quote:  A loud cheer made her jump and she heard hoots and high fives being slapped.  She could imagine some video cruelty they were cooking up at Jimmy Robich’s expense.  She didn’t want to use her parental capital to try to halt them.

Review:  Darkness All Around is a thriller with a literary bent, although in all honesty it reads more like a family drama to me than a crime thriller.  Yes, there’s plenty of violence and twists and turns, but at the end of the day this is really the story of one woman’s journey back to a life she thought she had truly lost and it is this story that kept me hooked.

The premise is pretty typical for crime fiction:  There was a murder.  The wrong man was sent to prison.  The  initial reporter on the scene of the crime becomes a raging alcoholic, disappears, and is declared dead.  His wife remarries an up and coming politician and has a different life than she planned.  Her son has a different father than she had planned for, as well, and this has consequences.  How could it not?  X number of years later the original husband has an accident causing him to get both treatment for his alcoholism and for the brain injury he suffers.  In the process of his brain recovering from all of this trauma, it keeps bringing up memories.  He returns home to find out what happens, the chickens come home to roost in various ways, and the whole thing is wrapped up in a neat package.

Magee rises above the formulaic by writing interesting characters, spinning a good yarn, and making you care about the outcome.  Although I thought the ending was predictable, I enjoyed the book.  It kept me entertained on a long day of travel from Door County, WI (by car) to the Milwaukee Airport and a flight to Las Vegas, another flight to Oakland, CA, and a taxi ride home to Berkeley.  I did run out of book (I often do in these situations), but I had my Kindle so that wasn’t a disaster.  Long story short this was a good fun read on a long boring day.

FTC Disclosure:  Copy received from publisher as part of the author’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours

Publishing Information:  Touchstone – June 19, 2012

Format:  Paperback


Reading Challenges:  Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge

I am pleased to be a part of Mr. Magee’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours.

About Doug Magee

Doug Magee has been a photojournalist, screenplay writer, childrens book author, death penalty activist, film producer and director, war protestor, college football player, amateur musician, and the basis of the Aidan Quinn character in Meryl Streeps Music of the Heart. This is his first novel. He lives in Spanish Harlem with his wife and two teenaged children.
Learn more about Doug and his work at his website,

Doug Magees TLC Book


Tuesday, June 19th:  Crime Fiction Lover
Thursday, June 21st:  Youve GOTTA read this!
Monday, June 25th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, June 26th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, June 27th:  House of Crime and Mystery
Thursday, June 28th:  Inside of a Dog
Monday, July 2nd:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, July 3rd:  Reviews by Lola
Thursday, July 5th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Monday, July 9th:  Man of La Book
Tuesday, July 10th:  Wordsmithonia
Thursday, July 12th:  Well Read Wife
Monday, July 16th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 17th:  Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, July 18th:  Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Thursday, July 19th:  Dreys Library


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