THE GIFT OF DARKNESS by Valentina Giambanco


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Giambanco’s first novel features a Seattle homicide detective who relies on her instincts to thwart a ruthless killer before he can strike again.

Detective Alice Madison and her partner, DS Kevin Brown, are on the trail of a killer who trussed up and murdered a family that included two small children. To add to the complicated case, the murders seem connected to an infamous cold case in which three boys were kidnapped and one was killed. New to the homicide division and plagued by dreams of her past, Madison knows she has to carry her own weight to win approval from the division’s other detectives, and the case seems fairly easy to crack since they believe they already know who committed the brutal murders early in the game. But figuring out who sent a card to attorney Nathan Quinn with the words “Thirteen Days” and carved the same thing at the crime scene proves much more challenging than Madison anticipated. Working her way through an assortment of dead ends and fighting a leak that lands the intimate details of the case in the newspaper, she decides to ignore procedure and go with her gut. Problem is, the suspected killer’s watching her, and he’s both deadly and unpredictable. It’s obvious that Giambanco conducted impressive research into police procedure before writing this book, but she overshares what she’s learned. Instead of having an air of authenticity, the novel often reads like a textbook. It's also too long by at least a third, made unwieldy by stilted dialogue, superfluous detail, random tense changes and a forest of not-very-compelling characters only peripherally connected to the story.

A forgettable effort that could have been better with tighter writing and ruthless editing.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62365-848-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Quercus
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014


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