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The Darkening - Stephen M. Irwin

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2 Reviews

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Stephen M. Irwin / Paperback / 400 Pages / Book is published 2009-12-10 by Sphere

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    2 Reviews
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      10.02.2011 20:48
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      a murder mystery with a difference

      I never went out intending to buy this book, I was buying a couple of books in the works shop and got a 3 for £5 deal, so needed an extra book.

      I tend to favour murder/mystery type books and so the title "The Darkening" captured my eye along with the plain but simple cover of silver with black trees and red writing.
      The author Stephen M Irwin is not someone I had heard of before but according the back of the book lives in Australia and has written many short stories.

      On first starting the book I have to admit I nearly gave up. It did not capture my attention or imagination until well into the 5th or 6th chapter, I like to be taken straight into the story or at the least be given something to get my teeth into, it just didn't do that.

      **THE STORY**
      The story flicks backwards and forwards between the main character Nicholas's life as a child and now in supposed real time.
      Starting in England, Nicholas returns to Australia to the town he grew up in soon after his wife's tragic death. The story really starts from here as this is when you are taken back in time and stories of his youth give snippets of what might be up ahead, including the death of his best friend.
      There is a dark and foreboding wood is the town which seems to have an undeniable pull on Nicholas and seems to connect the death of his friend with a multitude of murders over a significant history of time.
      So is it coincidence?
      Is it the same murderer?
      Are they linked at all?
      You will have to read it to find out........

      **SOME CHARACTERS**
      Nicholas - the main character whose wife died and he returns home to discover some truths of the past.
      Katherine - Nicholas mother, does she know more than she lets on?
      Suzette - Nicholas sister, a kind of hippy/white witch
      Laine - a murdered persons wife
      Pritam - a local priest
      Hannah - a young girl about to be abducted
      Quill - an old shop owner with mysterious links to the past and future

      **WHAT DO I THINK**
      The story is very descriptive from the start. Initially I felt it was to much as the story didn't really get into a proper flow, however as the story progressed and you get deeper into why the murders are happening, the descriptive way is not only helpful but essential. I can't really explain why as it would give away a big part of the story.
      The book grew on me the more I got towards the end and after struggling to keep going at the beginning, I didn't want to stop as I needed to find out what was going on and what was going to happen eventually. With regards to that it wasn't a surprise ending, you can see pretty much where it is going from the last few chapters onwards. None the less it concluded quite well up until I read the epilogue, after reading that I wasn't quite sure if the story was going to carry on to the future or whether that was indeed the end. I was surprised by some of the magic and mystical side of the book, which after reading the back I wasn't expecting - it was an unusual but pleasant surprise.

      **OVERALL**
      Would I recommend it? - Not sure, I think you would have to be an avid book reader to try and enjoy it - it took me months to read it, whereas some books I get threw in a week.

      An unusual twist on a murder mystery book.

      I bought mine in the works shop as part of a 3 for £5 deal, however, it can be bought currently on Amazon for around £6, Kindle for around £5 or second hand bids start at 1p!

      Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username.

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      • More +
        17.07.2010 20:04
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        not my thing

        A friend gave me this book to read earlier this year. The message on the front cover says 'Don't go into the woods tonight...', and as I live near a wood I think my friend may have been trying to scare me with this one!

        I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but lets face it most of us do. The cover of this book is silver and there are thin black branches coming in from the corners. It says 'THE DARKENING' in red and black capital letters. To me the cover makes the book look like a horror, or at least a thriller. As I love thrillers I think I would have probably been drawn into this book if I had seen it on a shelf in the library or somewhere. But its the content thats really important, did it live up to my expectations?

        The book was written by Steven M Irwin, an author who I had never heard of before. There is a photo of him on the inside of the back cover, and underneath him there is a short bio: 'he is an accomplished short fiction author and screenwriter, who has won several national short story competitions, and written and directed several broadcast documentaries. He lives in Brisbane with his wife and young son'.

        The book focuses on Nicholas Close. He is in his late thirties or early forties, he lives in London. But at the beginning of the novel he moves back to his hometown in Australia after the death of his girlfriend.
        I knew the book was going to be a bit unrealistic, perhaps stupid, from this point in the book because Nick says that he can see dead people.
        I should have stopped reading the but I carried on anyway.
        Thirty years ago in Australia Nick's friend Tristan was murdered, and Nick keeps being haunted by it . . . to cut a long story short a similar murder takes place almost as soon as Nick arrives home, and a man kills himself on Nick's doorstep.
        Nick realises it wasn't Tristan who was meant to die . . .

        I think men would enjoy this story more than women. I think although it was well written the plot itself is a little silly, which lets the whole thing down. It is a supernatural suspense but it was a little too supernatural for me. I wouldn't read it again.
        The RRP on the back of the book is £6.99 although I'm sure you can find this cheaper on eBay and amazon. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

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