Review

The Darkness

by Jason Pinter

THE DARKNESS, Jason Pinter’s new Henry Parker novel, comes
blessedly hard on the heels of THE FURY, with just a few months
separating the two. While both titles are complete in and of
themselves, the rapid succession of their releases --- as well as
their subject matter --- makes them read more like one giant work
than two separate, albeit connected, novels.

THE FURY introduced Parker, an up-and-coming newspaper reporter,
to Stephen Gaines, the brother he never knew he had and who he lost
all too quickly after finally meeting him. It also acquainted
readers with 718 Enterprises, a shadowy, enigmatic corporation with
an admittedly ingenious method of distributing street drugs across
midtown Manhattan in plain view. THE DARKNESS picks up where THE
FURY left off and includes a number of twists and turns to make the
brief wait between books a worthwhile one indeed.

Jack O’Donnell, Parker’s journalistic idol and
mentor, suddenly returns to the newsroom, flush with newly acquired
though hard-earned sobriety and a readiness to work. Parker has
just the case to get O’Donnell’s sea legs back
underneath him. The two almost immediately find themselves on the
scene of the aftermath of a murder, the victim of which had ties to
Parker’s late brother. Their investigation ultimately leads
them back to the headquarters of 718 Enterprises, which has quietly
and mysteriously pulled up stakes. They are undaunted, and indeed,
the newly sober teacher still has a few things left to bequeath to
the student with respect to the art of ferreting out information
from unwilling sources. While O’Donnell’s rough-edged,
no-nonsense methods of tutelage are not quite what one might
expect, they certainly are effective --- so much so, in fact, that
they inadvertently put Parker on the scene of a story and make him
a part of it.

In the meantime, the narrative follows Morgan Isaacs, a former
Wall Street trader whose liabilities far outweigh his assets. His
recruitment by 718 is the answer to his prayers. As THE FURY
alternates between Parker and O’Donnell’s dogged
investigation and Issacs’s initial job assignments, one
acquires a picture of a meticulously thought-out and executed
network for the delivery of illegal drugs that is worth the price
of admission alone.

And if the foregoing wasn’t interesting enough, Paulina
Cole is interjected into the mix in an extremely interesting and
dangerous way. O’Donnell’s nemesis and a reporter for a
rival newspaper, Cole embarrassed O’Donnell badly by
splashing his problems with alcoholism across the front page. So it
is ironic that Cole must turn to Parker for help when she finds
herself blackmailed by 718. Despite his instinctive dislike for
Cole, Parker feels compelled to help her, in no small part because
the blackmail scheme puts Cole’s daughter in terrible danger.
At the same time, however, Parker must conceal his involvement with
Cole from O’Donnell. As Parker and O’Donnell slowly
close in on 718, they find themselves drawn into a deadly game in
which Cole is used as a pawn, even as deadly secrets are revealed,
violence escalates, and lives are ended or forever changed.

THE DARKNESS is even better than THE FURY. Pinter refuses to
fall back on formula writing, choosing instead to continue juggling
and evolving his cast of characters while creating fascinating and
intricate plotlines that seem to be pulled right off the street of
the everyday world. And, if the teaser at the end of the book is to
be believed, more surprises are soon in store. For now, however,
THE DARKNESS will more than satisfy even the most discerning
reader.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 29, 2010

The Darkness
by Jason Pinter

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mira
  • ISBN-10: 0778326713
  • ISBN-13: 9780778326717