Author: Amy Engel

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Publisher: Dutton Books

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Book Description: A spellbinding story of a mother with nothing left to lose who sets out on an all-consuming quest for justice after her daughter is murdered on the town playground.

Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Review: Alas, I am afraid that I am not a fan of Amy Engel’s storytelling. With this and Roanoke Girls, I just felt deflated reading both these books.

The Familiar Dark attempts to be a thriller. Set in the Ozarks, this is the story of the murder of Eve Taggert’s 12 year old daughter and her friend. Eve is surrounded by Cal, a police officer who is like family, her strange mother, who they have very little contact and a cast of other characters that might have you scratching your head.

Eve is on the hunt to find her daughter’s killer and she will stop at almost nothing to find out what happened. As it is a mystery, I never want to give too much away but I will give you my thoughts.

This was very disjointed, and at times felt like it was amateur. I did not care about most of these people, so I found myself not actually caring who might be the killer. When we get to the apex of this story, I was just like so what.

I hate to write reviews like this, but feel like I need to be honest here. The only saving grace that kept me going was that it was relatively short.

Thank you NetGalley and Dutton Books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Posted by:Lauren A.

You really can say I am an obsessed reader as I read 200-300 books per year. I love Literary Fiction, Memoirs (I don't really care what kind), Mysteries and Thrillers. Once in awhile I will thrown in some YA and Romance. When I am not reading, I am a Sales Engineer for a software company, and I take care of my three cats with my husband. I love music, which my college degree is in. Looking forward to share my thoughts on all things reading.

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