Review: A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison

Title: A Deeper Darkness (Dr Samantha Owens, M.E. #1)

Author: J.T. Ellison

Published: MIRA August 2012

Synopsis: As a medical examiner, Samantha Owens knows her job is to make a certain sense of death with crisp methodology and precision instruments. But the day the Tennessee floods took her husband and children, the light vanished from Sam’s life. She has been pulled into a suffocating grief no amount of workaholic ardor can penetrate—until she receives a peculiar call from Washington, D.C. On the other end of the line is an old boyfriend’s mother, asking Sam to do a second autopsy on her son. Eddie Donovan is officially the victim of a vicious carjacking, but under Sam’s sharp eye the forensics tell a darker story. The ex-Ranger was murdered, though not for his car. Forced to confront the burning memories and feelings about yet another loved one killed brutally, Sam loses herself in the mystery contained within Donovan’s old notes. It leads her to the untouchable Xander, a soldier off-grid since his return from Afghanistan, and then to a series of brutal crimes stretching from that harsh mountainous war zone to this nation’s capital. The tale told between the lines makes it clear that nobody’s hands are clean, and that making sense of murder sometimes means putting yourself in the crosshairs of deat

Status: Read from August 14 to 15, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy Harlequin Australia}

My Thoughts:

I am sure I have read at least one or more of J.T. Ellison’s Taylor Jackson series novels though I don’t seem to have a record of it. A Deeper Darkness is an engaging spin off from that series featuring Taylor’s best friend, Medical Examiner Samantha Owens.

Asked what I thought of A Deeper Darkness, the first phrase that came to mind was ‘easily consumable’. It’s a quick read that demands very little and provides a few hours of entertaining escape. The novel is deftly plotted with clues to piece together and twists that maintain suspense. The pace keeps the pages turning and the main conspiracy storyline resolves in a tension filled confrontation. Ellison references topical events and issues – the Tennessee floods, women in front line combat, the struggles of returned armed forces servicemen and women and obsessive compulsive disorder which provides added interest and depth to the story.

The characters of A Deeper Darkness are well developed with interesting personal histories and motivations. I liked Samantha and thought Ellison did a credible job of creating a well rounded, sympathetic protagonist. The details of Samantha’s tragic personal background is revealed piecemeal throughout the story with her OCD a symptom of her grief and emotional stress. Donavon’s death is yet another blow despite it being so long since their intimate relationship ended and explains why Samantha is so willing to get involved further in the case. The conflict between Samantha and Donovan’s wife, Susan, seemed a little forced to me though that element is quickly resolved.
Detective Darren Fletcher is the the cynical but dedicated officer, I enjoyed his wry sense of humour and his partner, Detective Lonny Hart provides a good foil for him.
Even though we meet a few members of the Ranger team briefly, and others not all, Ellison ensures they are encapsulated as individuals. I would have liked to learn more about them but it wasn’t strictly necessary in terms of the story.

I enjoyed A Deeper Darkness and I am intrigued by the premise for the second installment of this series, titled Edge of Black, due for publication in December.

Available to Purchase

Australian edition: @Harlequin Australia I @ Boomerang Books I @Booktopia I @Amazon Kindle

via Booko

International Edition: @Amazon I @BookDepository

*Australian residents only

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tea Time with Marce
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 01:39:37

    My first taste of JT Ellison was just ok but I was happy I tried more and the last few books of her last series were very good.

    Thanks for putting Thrill Week button on your sidebar, I look forward to it. 11 more days to go for your Blogoversary, cool 🙂



  2. Michael @ Literary Exploration
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 08:12:31

    This book interests me but maybe too much of a cosy read for my taste



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