The darkness referenced in the title pervades the lives of each of the characters in the story, to a greater or lesser extent, just as it does each reader’s life. But oddly, I wouldn’t describe it as a “dark” story. I often equate “dark” with “heavy,” and DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND is exactly the right weight.
In DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND, Lisa Unger brings us back to The Hollows, the suburban New York town where FRAGILE was set. Many of the characters—including Jones and Maggie Cooper and their son Rick(y)—are also part of this new story, as are some we met only briefly in FRAGILE.
I don’t often specifically recommend reading series books in order, because I find that with authors I enjoy, they write so that each of their stories can stand alone as well. This is absolutely true of both FRAGILE and DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND, but in this case, if you haven’t read either, I would recommend starting with FRAGILE. It’s not absolutely necessary, but you’ll appreciate the getting to know the characters from the start of their story.
DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND opens with Jones Cooper, now retired from The Hollows PD, at something of a loose end. Like many men of his generation, his identity and even his personality has always been tied to his profession. This story is about Jones, yes, and his wife Maggie, but it’s also about characters new to The Hollows (or rather, new to us reading about The Hollows) including an author who has just moved there with her 15 year-old daughter and a man who grew up in The Hollows and has returned only to be met with…well, in the spirit of spoiling nothing about this tale, suffice to say that he goes digging (literally) and what he finds is not what he, or those around him, expect.
I really hope that this becomes a series. I like Jones and Maggie Cooper. I like that they’re imperfect. I like that each character Lisa Unger creates is fully-formed, and dramatic events not maudlin and are bereft of melo(drama).
DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND also includes elements that might be described as supernatural, but they’re artfully handled so that even a skeptical reader such as me didn’t find them interfering with the story, but rather contributing to it. DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND also moves between timeframes—something that I sometimes find too head-spinning in stories—with a grace that underscores Lisa Unger’s immense talent.
DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND weaves people, places and times into a story that is, in a word, captivating.
Blurb: A story wrapped in the best kind of darkness
Author’s Website: www.lisaunger.com