2013.41 REVIEW – Darkness First by James Hayman

Darkness First
by James Hayman

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 346
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 27 – 30, 2013
Challenge: RIP VIII
Yearly count: 41
Format: E-Book
Source: Publicist/Edelweiss

Darkness FirstBlurb: In the dark shadows of a summer evening a young woman is brutally slain by a remorseless killer’s razor sharp blade. Learning that her closest childhood friend was nearly killed in the same incident, Portland Detective Maggie Savage rushes to the scene to join the State Police investigation. Maggie soon discovers the killer’s name is Conor Riordan.  There’s only one problem.  Conor Riordan doesn’t exist.

The only person who can provide a clue as to who Riordan really is, is the victim’s eleven-year-old sister, Tabitha. And now Tabitha has turned up missing.  Soon Maggie and her longtime partner, Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe, find themselves in a desperate race against time to find the missing child before she becomes a vicious killer’s next victim.

Taut, twisting, and starring two unforgettable heroes, DARKNESS FIRST is a gruesome thriller about a small town rocked by a savage crime.


Review: I was made aware of this book through Danielle Bartlett, publicity director for HarperCollins. They are starting a new digital imprint: Witness. This is just one of ten books starting the line, which will focus on digital first suspense and thriller books.

Having had to put aside two books this month already for not catching my attention, I was really feeling the start of a slump coming on. All I can say is, thank goodness for this book!

I was enthralled with it from the first page. It’s a really good book. I must warn you, this is apparently the third in the McCabe and Savage series. However, it’s the first book that features Savage as the protagonist. I had no idea it was part of a series; it wasn’t until after I finished it and was looking online for information to write up this review that I discovered it. So obviously, it reads quite well as a standalone.

The pacing in this book was very well done in my opinion. It moved rather quickly, I was pushing the button on my Nook as fast as it would allow me to! The writing is exceptional and the characters very well-developed. Overall, definitely an author I will keep an eye out for in the future. I’m very interested in not only reading the back story of McCabe and Savage from the previous two books, but also finding out what happens in the future with Emily and Tabitha, McCabe and Savage, Harlan and their father. Overall, a great cast of characters I’m looking forward to meeting again.

The only reason I can’t bring myself to rate this book a 5/5 is that I had the bad guy pegged within the first 100 pages. While not necessarily a buzz kill for the book itself, it was a little disappointing to not have the big reveal at the end be a jaw-dropper.

Overall definitely a book that I would highly recommend and I am definitely looking forward to some of the other books Witness will be releasing in the coming weeks!


About the author: James Hayman spent more than twenty years as a senior creative director at one of New York’s largest advertising agencies. He and his wife now live in Portland, Maine.  He is the author of the acclaimed thrillers The Cutting and The Chill of Night, both international bestsellers.

Click here to go to Witness’ homepage.

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