I sincerely hope that you are reading the Brenna Spector series by Alison Gaylin. If not, there is still time to catch up --- AND SHE WAS kicked things off, and the newly published INTO THE DARK will bring you up to date --- and, believe me, you will want to do just that. Interesting characters, fast-moving prose and a tantalizing mystery that keeps shifting here and there are the reasons why.
"Indeed, there is no good place to stop once you’ve started reading INTO THE DARK. While the book is complete in itself, there is a major plot thread that leaves you dangling off of its end, with the only rescue being the next installment. This is an exciting, riveting and fun series that keeps things moving from beginning to end."
Brenna Spector is a private investigator whose blessing and curse is perfect recall. She can immediately recall, with all five senses, every minute of every day of her life since she was a child. The tragic irony of her condition is that the memories of her early childhood --- including the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her older sister, Clea --- are frustratingly vague. That frustration, always at the forefront of Brenna’s consciousness, becomes etched in sharp relief when she is retained by a client obsessed with privacy to find a popular webcam performer known as Lula Belle, who has suddenly gone missing. Upon viewing some video footage of her performances and hearing the stories that she has been telling her web audiences, Brenna is dumbstruck --- these stories consist of events that only Brenna and Clea would know. Therefore, Brenna begins an almost manic search for Lula Belle, convinced that she is her long-lost older sister.
However, that is not the only revelation that Brenna experiences. Early research leads Brenna and her computer assistant, the colorful Trent, to the home of a forty-something would-be filmmaker with Peter Pan syndrome whose own sudden disappearance dovetails with Lula Belle’s. What is stunning for Brenna, though, is that the missing man’s room and computer yield a picture that shows a much younger Brenna with her sister. Convinced that finding Lula Belle will result not only in a successful case closure but also in discovering Clea’s fate, Brenna plunges headlong into her investigation, little dreaming that, the closer she gets to Lula Belle, the more dangerous it will be for herself and her loved ones.
INTO THE DARK has been classified as a romantic suspense novel, and while the book has elements that will satisfy (to some extent) fans of that genre, those who enjoy a straight-on thriller built on the foundation of a strong mystery will find much to love here. Gaylin also brings a strong cinematic narration to the story, with the result being that the plot unfolds like one of those serialized television dramas (“Breaking Bad,”“Hunted,” “Justified”) that you keep coming back to week after week and that leaves you hungry for more at season’s end. Indeed, there is no good place to stop once you’ve started reading INTO THE DARK. While the book is complete in itself, there is a major plot thread that leaves you dangling off of its end, with the only rescue being the next installment.
This is an exciting, riveting and fun series that keeps things moving from beginning to end.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 31, 2013