Book Review: Into Darkness, T. J. Brearton
Fiction: Into Darkness, T. J. Brearton
Special Agent Shannon Ames is still relatively new to the FBI. Growing up in the far north of New York, she is not a city girl. Still, she finds herself in New York City, learning the ropes from the more experienced agents of the New York field office…and battling the typical sexism and ageism that goes with being young and female in a male-dominated career.
A young reporter was murdered and her body dumped. Now, a second reporter has disappeared. The FBI suspects a serial killer is at work, someone targeting female television reporters. When her body is found, showing signs of experiencing the same treatment and trauma of the first reporter, their suspicions seem to be confirmed. Then the case takes a twist, and Agent Ames begins to wonder whether something else is at work, a more targeted and personal motive behind the killings.
Shannon Ames is one of those characters who is likely to stick with me for some time. She is smart, resourceful, determined, and driven by a strong personal code. Very unusual in police procedurals (and really in fiction in general), Shannon Ames is a Christian. The book treats this as a fact of her character. Very seldom do writers address faith well in their characters. They are either caricatures or dogmatic or silly. Or, in the case of Christian fiction, their faith is so central to their actions that every choice is attributed to that part of their lives. Special Agent Ames is none of these. She is a person who does her job, lives her life, and church is a part of her life. It is quite refreshing to see a character whose faith is simply mentioned and accepted, neither the center of the plot nor mocked. I wish more authors took this approach.
I also love the hints given to Shannon’s backstory. Her family clearly helped forge her character, grit, and passion for seeing justice prevail. Still, there are revelations of trauma in that past which haunt her present. Again, these are treated as facets of a complete character. Formative, not definitive.
T.J. Brearton has given us a complete character in Special Agent Ames. Although the book is definitely a procedural genre novel, it is also a character study of a strong and independent young woman. The plot is exciting and fast moving. The story gives us red herrings and false starts that feel real and keep the mystery alive. Clues lead to the unveiling of the perpetrator, but they are revealed slowly in the midst of misdirections that keep the FBI and the reader guessing.
This is a truly satisfying book on every level. A strong female protagonist with charisma and grit. Realistic characters surrounding her. A gripping plot that keeps you guessing. And enough action to fill a popcorn movie. I loved everything about this book, except the fact that it had to end.
We are very thankful to the author and the publisher, T.J. Brearton and Inkubator Books, for our copy of Into Darkness in exchange for our review. We are especially grateful to Emma Welton of www.damppebbles.com for arranging the blog tour and inviting us to participate. This is our first tour with Damp Pebbles Blog Tours. It will not be our last!