A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

My Five Word TL:DR Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this one


A Flicker in the Dark is a psychological thriller that kept me turning the pages into the dead of night looking for clues.  I loved this, it held me absolutely gripped, the premise is really good and the execution impressive, even more impressive when you consider this is a debut.  Let’s just say I will be eagerly awaiting this author’s next book.

So, why did I like the premise for this one.  Well, it takes a look at things from a slightly different angle than I’m used to but let me first set the scene.  Twenty years ago Chloe Davis, a young and impressionable 12 year old, was instrumental in the arrest and conviction of her seemingly mild mannered father for the murder of six young girls.  The impact on the family was terrible.  Chloe and her brother Cooper (Coop) were shunned and their mother, unable to live with the shame tried to take her own life.  Twenty years later Chloe and Coop have been able to move forward with their lives.  Chloe now lives in Baton Rouge, she managed to escape her childhood home and is a successful woman running her own psychology practice and about to marry the man of her dreams.  I don’t think I’ve read many books from the point of view of the serial killer’s family, or in this case, the daughter and this really intrigued me.

On the face of it Chloe is coping well but scratch the surface and she is in emotional turmoil, barely keeping her head above water and desperately trying to hold things together with the aid of illicit drugs so you can imagine the downward spiral she suffers when young girls from Baton Rouge start to go missing in a strangely similar style to the murders from her past.  Is a copycat on the loose?

The story pretty soon spirals.  Chloe manages to get herself involved in the investigation and subsequently discredited and there’s very much a feeling of her losing the plot and in fact becoming an unreliable narrator.  She makes some questionable decisions that leave you feeling flabbergasted and there’s this bewildering increase in tension as she jumps from one theory to the next.  I loved that the author kept me guessing.  I was jumping about wildly in much the same way Chloe was, which I admit may be down to the fact that I’m not a seasoned crime reader, but I found myself suspecting everyone at one point or another.  I did guess one of the plot points but I won’t give that away here.  No spoilers from me, nosirree.

I enjoyed the writing, I thought the pacing was excellent and I had no problem liking Chloe in fact I felt a little exasperated on her behalf at times (although, she did make some dodgy decisions not to mention was keeping a couple of skeletons in her closet that didn’t make her look good).  I really liked the way we flipped back and forth from the ‘now’ to the ‘then’ and I thought Willingham provided an impressive number of red herrings to lead me astray.

Basically, I don’t think there’s too much more I can add without walking the path of spoilers.  All I can say is that I really enjoyed this, it was totally gripping and I would have no hesitation in recommending it.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


10 Responses to “A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham”

  1. Tammy

    I’ve got to read this. It reminds me of Betty from Riverdale, her father turned out to be a serial killer😬 Well, I’m sure it’s nothing like that, lol. Can’t wait!

    • @lynnsbooks

      The other book series that sprung to mind was The Stillhouse Lake books by Rachel Caine where the central pov was the wife of a serial killer.
      Lynn 😀

  2. WordsAndPeace

    Sounds really good!
    It reminds me a bit of Randall Silvis. Do you now this author? He is really incredible. The first book of his 5 vol series is this one: https://wordsandpeace.com/2017/01/30/book-review-two-days-gone/
    But he has also written standalones, like Only the Rain, which I enjoyed a lot, though never reviewed. It’s less than 200 pages and so good

    • @lynnsbooks

      No,I don’t think I’m familiar with that author. will check out your link. Thanks
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m so pleased you enjoyed this! I was completely hooked on this one too, though I predicted early “the truth” – but I definitely didn’t suss out all of it, and the story kept me second guessing! So good!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, this was really good, very easy to read. I think I guessed an element to the mystery that is probably fundamental but then couldn’t get further than that because I was too busy hopping around all the clues like a rabid Easter bunny.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    There are many elements I like in this story: a possibly unreliable narrator, flashbacks alternating with present events, a plot that keeps you guessing and makes you suspect just about *everyone*. One for the “wanted” list, indeed – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I really enjoyed this and I think it was just what I needed at that particular point to lift me out of a bit of a slump.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Zezee

    This one really interests me. I might try it this year. The reviews I’ve seen, including yours, have me so curious.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It just worked really well for me and kept me guessing.
      Lynn 😀

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