Darkness, My Old Friend

Darkness, My Old Friend

By: Lisa Unger
Publisher: Crown
Publishing Date: August 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-46499-6
Reviewed By: Mary Lignor
Review Date: October 15, 2011

This novel is an interesting story involving a few dysfunctional families living in a town called The Hollows, near New York City.

The opening tale starts us off with Kevin and Paula Carr. Kevin is very controlling (Paula is not allowed to have her own money; she gets an allowance from her husband. She cannot have her own credit card, and is pretty much told what to do and when to do it). Kevin is also a very good liar and just a tad psychotic. Paula seems to be an extremely pitiful individual and is also living a lie. They are the parents of two small children and Kevin has a teenage son from a previous marriage.

Jones and Maggie Cooper, another family in the story, are a little more put together but also have their problems. Jones is a retired policeman and still quite young (late 40's). He had to retire because of something that happened in his past. His wife, Maggie, is a psychologist, and their son is away at college.

Next up: Bethany Graves. This recently divorced author is mother to a troubled teen by the name of Willow. Bethany and Willow have moved to The Hollows from New York City after a difficult divorce. Willow is not happy in school despite the fact that she does well in her classes. She simply can't make friends with any of her classmates.

And, last but definitely not least, we have Eloise Montgomery, who is a psychic. Eloise is the person in the story who seems to bring all of the other people together.

One day, Eloise pays Jones a visit to warn him about something that is about to happen in his life. He's not crazy about even having her in his house as he does not believe she has any great powers. He feels he has enough to deal with without giving any thought to the warnings of a psychic.

Willow runs away from school and comes upon a man who is digging holes in the woods. He scares her and she runs away, dropping her phone in the dirt. When she tells her mother about the man, mom calls Willow's phone and the man answers. They make arrangements to meet and Bethany gets the phone back.

Kevin's company is going under and he is trying to find a way to compensate his partners and still come out on top when he finds out that his wife has a bank account in her maiden name that he knew nothing about. He is on his way home to confront her and is carrying a gun.

This book isn't a mystery or a thriller but rather a story about the relationships of the various family members. It's very tense in some places and very good in others. There are a couple of surprises and it's the type of read that might send you back to the beginning to re-read some pages to remember who's who. Overall, the author is a good storyteller but sometimes the stories are a little difficult to comprehend.

Quill Says: Darkness, My Old Friend is a quick read. However, readers will discover that this book takes place in the same area as Unger's previous book Fragile. Readers might like to read Fragile first and then decide if they want to continue with this book.

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