Sunday, February 25, 2024

Village in the Dark - Rate this book Cara Kennedy #2


Village in the Dark is the second Cara Kennedy mystery thriller by Iris Yamashita. Released 13th Feb 2024 by Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 288 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and paperback formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout.

Just as the first book in the series, this book is *full* of creepy atmosphere with a dark gothic vibe and some paranormal overtones. Set in an isolated tiny hamlet in rural Alaska in what had been an army base, the 200+ residents all live in the same building with outlying (mostly subterranean) buildings used as functional business sites and entertainment venues (such as they are). It's very much an island/isolation setting with most of the dramatic tension coming from the gradual exposure of secrets and crimes for each of the primary characters. At the end of the first book, MC Cara has learned that there is more to the disappearance and deaths of her husband and son than she had been led to believe.

Chapters are told in third person, rotating through characters who are well delineated and diverse: Cara herself, a former investigator with the Anchorage police department, a curmudgeonly apartment building super who might have been a bank robber in her former life, and several others. Despite the quirky characters there's very little humor to be found. The book's tension arc is mostly unrelieved, ratcheting up throughout to an oddly over-the-top denouement and resolution. 

The writing is competent and *very* cinematic. The scenery and descriptions are three dimensional and complete. I expect the movie rights are already hashed out, and the author (an Academy Award nominated screenwriter) will be able to knock the script out in a long weekend with some energy drinks and local takeaway restaurant on speed-dial.

Four stars, mostly for the descriptions. I like "island" mysteries. This one was better than ok; and better than the first book in the series. It will be interesting to see how it develops. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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