Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
A few years ago
In the dim of the truck's dashboard lights, Bix's hand reached toward the steering wheel. 'Hold on a second,' he said.
'At ease, soldier.' I swatted him away and kept my eyes on the road. We'd already had this argument back in the parking lot of the bar where we'd met the guy from his old unit and his wife. Out of earshot, of course, closing ranks. He usually drove--he couldn't stand to be a passenger--but he'd had one too many at dinner. Three too many. Even so, I'd had to go low to get the keys from him. You get a DUI, I'd said. I'll have to drive you everywhere for a year. I didn't know if that's how it went or not, but neither did he, and also he was drunk.
'Take a nap or something,' I said.
When I first heard about this book while I was at Malice Domestic this spring, I knew I'd be reading it. I've read and enjoyed other books by this author. However, I was also fascinated to hear that it was set in a 'dark sky park' - a type of park that I didn't even know existed. Lori has modeled the park in her story after the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan. A dark sky park is a place committed to protecting and preserving 'natural darkness'. So, no artificial light and areas set aside to be able to view the sky 'naturally'. Lori also provides a link to the International Dark-Sky Association and how to find one of these areas. All the information regarding stars and this type of recreation area was really interesting. The mystery was also quite good.
Lori Rader-Day does an excellent job of writing about women who have had trials and serious challenges in their lives. Then she sets them into complicated situations with others and, of course, there is always a crime. Eden Wallace is just such a woman and her life has certainly had some recent trials. After losing her husband, she discovers that he had planned a trip to a dark sky park for their anniversary. What he didn't know was that Eden would become dark-phobic. She rarely sleeps (which messes up your mind completely, by the way) and has turned her life upside down in order to 'keep the lights on'. So why would she go? And who are all these other people who are also staying in the guest house? Why does one of them end up dead in the middle of the night? Well, you'll have to read this book to find out.
I liked the protagonist, though it was a bit hard to understand her thinking at times. I couldn't help but sympathize and want to help her. The other characters ran the gamut from highly annoying to OK-ish. I wanted Eden to get better, to recover from her phobia, to move on with her life and find some joy. First of all though, she had to survive not only the dark, but also the investigation by the local police, who seemed a bit clueless about how to catch a murderer. In the end, I was well pleased. And I'll definitely be watching for Lori's next book. Recommended!
Only in the dark can she find the truth . . .
Since her husband died, Eden Wallace's life has diminished down to a tiny pinprick, like a far-off star in the night sky. She doesn't work, has given up on her love of photography, and is so plagued by night terrors that she can't sleep without the lights on. Everyone, including her family, has grown weary of her grief. So when she finds paperwork in her husband's effects indicating that he reserved a week at a dark sky park, she goes. She's ready to shed her fear and return to the living, even if it means facing her paralyzing phobia of the dark.
But when she arrives at the park, the guest suite she thought was a private retreat is teeming with a group of twenty-somethings, all stuck in the orbit of their old college friendships. Horrified that her get-away has been taken over, Eden decides to head home the next day. But then a scream wakes the house in the middle of the night. One of the friends has been murdered. Now everyone—including Eden—is a suspect.
Everyone is keeping secrets, but only one is a murderer. As mishaps continue to befall the group, Eden must make sense of the chaos and lies to evade a ruthless killer—and she'll have to do it before dark falls…