Title: That Darkness Author: Lisa Black Published: April 26th 2016 by Kensington Format: eBook, Hardcover, 336 pages Genre: Suspense Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this
book. Series: Gardiner and Renner #1
The further that I got into this book, the more Dexter that it felt. When I reread the blurbs by other authors and saw Jeff Lindsay’s name, I realized that if he approved then I was in for quite a ride.
The first book in the Gardiner and Renner series, Lisa Black introduces the reader to Maggie Gardner a civilian criminalist for the Cleveland Police Department and Jack Renner a slightly psychopathic vigilante (think Charles Bronson in Death Wish) who believes that he is on the side of the angels. A man that believes that it is “remarkably easy to convince people you were what you were not, if you simply paid a little attention to details”.
Front and foremost with this book is the off humor. There are parts that you know that you should not be laughing at, but yet, a psychopathic vigilante can be downright funny.
There have been three homicide victims in a short period of time, making some wonder if this is “drop your dead bodies in Cleveland week”, and though they do not appear to be related, Maggie is seeing a pattern. There is something familiar and the trace evidence to putting them, or their killer, in the same vicinity.
Jack Renner cannot stand injustice. Criminals that are never found guilty of their offenses and just skate through life - those that “took it upon themselves to judge the value of another human being”. If the criminal justice system cannot contain this problem, then he will help them out a bit – “if one cannot defeat the enemy one can at least refuse him safe passage”. Jack’s job is to remove the dangerous from society and his ultimate goal is Maria Stein. This is a name that is touched on throughout the book with only little parts of the story being revealed at a time until the ultimate showdown.
As Jack and Maggie’s lives are on a collision course, they will each have decisions to make. This could go either way and the reader is on the edge of their seat wondering where this will end. In a “voice that walks a tightrope between integrity and insanity”, Jack Renner makes perfect sense. Does Jack stay and “become an unproven theory” or do they “decide to exist in an uneasy détente of mutually assured destruction”?
There are parts of this book that would make for an excellent book group discussion. For example, the ultimate question of a burning building and you can only rescue one person. It is amazing when the reasoning of a psychopathic vigilante makes perfect sense.
This is the beginning of an awesome series and though Lisa Black is a new to me author, I cannot wait to pick up further Gardiner and Renner books.