A Deeper Darkness by JT Ellison will be available on April 17, 2012, and if you don't run right out and buy it (or download it if you must, sigh), you are a damn fool.
Ellison has become one of my favorite writers. A few years ago, I'd been looking for some good crime fiction that takes place in the South, and someone I knew sang her praises. I started her first book, All the Pretty Girls, and could not put it down. I ended up getting myself caught up on the Taylor Jackson series and waiting quite impatiently for the next book to become available. Here's the thing I like the most about the series: so many of my favorite crime/mystery authors (and I won't name names) get so far into a beloved series, and they either 1) get lazy or way too out there with the plot or 2) their relationship with their characters resembles that of a couple that's been married for 20 years and is on the brink of a divorce.
If anything, with the Taylor Jackson series Ellison gets better and better. I'm really not just saying that. Every time I read a new book, I have to rethink which one is my favorite. As matter of fact, if I'm being totally honest, when I found out that A Deeper Darkness would not be centered around Taylor Jackson and her crew, I was pretty hesitant. This book's protagonist is Dr. Sam Owens, a medical examiner who makes several appearances in the Jackson series. I had nothing against this particular character, but like many readers, I am a creature of habit.
But to the point. I had the opportunity to read A Deeper Darkness before its release date, and I am so glad I did. I can't say enough good things.
First, if you've never read one of Ellison's other books, it doesn't matter. You can pick this one up and start fresh (though you'll probably be inclined to read the others when you're finished).
I don't want to rehash the plot, so I'm going to point out my three favorite things about the book:
- The military plays a central role in A Deeper Darkness, but not so much so that your eyes glaze over because it's bogged down with nonstop technical language and explanation. It has enough to be realistic, but at the same time it shows the human side of the soldiers and their time spent at war.
- It's a good old-fashioned whodunit. I've read a lot of mysteries and crime fiction over the last decade or so, and there is nothing worse than getting to the end of the book and realizing you never had the desire to try to guess who committed the criminal act(s), because it was all spelled out for you - no twists and turns and shocking plot developments that keep you guessing. A Deeper Darkness is chalked full of them. This is probably what I loved most about it.
- There's a little bit of a love story mixed in, but not so much that it becomes unrealistic or the central focus of the book. Not to give too much away, but that portion of the book sort of keeps you guessing as well.
That's probably enough rambling out of me, and this is exactly why I rarely review things, but if you want to lose yourself in a good mystery with a unique plot and interesting characters, A Deeper Darkness is the way to go. I read over half of it one night and literally couldn't put it down, even though I had to be up early the next day; I kept allowing myself "ten more minutes," and the next thing I know, it's 3 am.
I think both men and women will love it. I think those who are looking for a love story or a basic examination of human relationships will love it. I think those who are looking for a mystery or police procedural will love it. I think those who enjoy military fiction will love it. And I think those who have never read Ellison and are looking for a new author whose books they will want to devour will love it.
Go here to pre-order A Deeper Darkness on Amazon.
Go here to visit JT Ellison's website (she's got a great blog, advice for aspiring writers, links to interesting websites, a list of her other books, etc.).