The Gift of Darkness by V.M. Giambanco

46116_GiftOfDarkness_JKT.indd  Twenty-five years ago in the woods near the Hoh River in Seattle three boys were kidnapped and one did not survive.  A quarter of a century later the two survivors and the brother of the third boy are bound into a complex plot of murder and revenge.  Homicide detective Alice Madison working with a combination of dogged police work and inspired intuition, slowly unravels the mystery and exposes a killer with an unstoppable thirst for revenge.

This is Jeffery Deaver country and Deaver fans – of whom there are many – should go for this in a big way.  For me the characters are a bit stock-in-trade from the drawer marked Thrillers, but the plot rattles along the tracks at a fair old speed.  Periodically, and for no discernible reason, the text breaks into the present tense in a way I found odd.  These tense changes are not linked to the carefully orchestrated flashbacks which punctuate the narrative and provide welcome detail to clarify the actions and motivations of the characters in the novel.

Alice Madison is an engagingly complex hero and I feel sure we may well meet her again in another novel.  The other characters are a little two dimensional and do not really come to life in the way that they should.  Once started you wont be able to stop reading, but there is something ultimately unsatisfying about the book – it is dark, but not deep enough.

V. M. Giambanco was born in Italy and has worked in films for many years.  She lives in London.

The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco will be published by Quercus in June

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