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Friday, November 18, 2016

RISE THE DARK

Absolutely electric! Hee, hee, see what I did there? No? Well, if you read this book, you will. And read it you should: It's a real sizzler.

I will, however, make two observations, the first of which is that the ending is a cliffhanger - definitely not something I like to get smacked in the teeth with when I get there. Yes, I knew there's a previous book featuring one of the main characters, but I didn't connect the dots and make the assumption that there'll be more until it was too late. The other is that the story touches on what I'll call the occult; some may find those bits a little hard to believe. As a result, my actual review is 4.5 stars, but since most review websites don't do half-stars, I rounded up to 5 because overall it's that good.

The title refers to the words attorney Lauren Novak wrote in her notebook just before she was murdered. She and her investigator husband, Markus, were in a small and offbeat town in Florida when it happened; Markus is sure who the killer is, but although he was in jail, he's back out and Markus is intent on tracking him down and getting revenge.

Meanwhile, up in Montana, it's lights out - literally. Sabrina Baldwin and her husband, Jay, moved to the remote mountain area after her brother - a high-voltage lineman like her husband - was electrocuted while trying to restore power. Jay was with him at the time and was so traumatized that he accepted a transfer that would keep him in the electricity industry but safely on the ground. When Jay is called out to help with a power outage, he returns home to find that Sabrina has been kidnapped.

And that's where the two story lines converge; turns out Sabrina's kidnapper is  the same man Markus believes murdered his wife. Markus and Jay don't even know each other, and they're coming at the situation from two very different perspectives. Standing in their way is a really nasty cult-like figure who's intent on destroying America's way of life forever by disrupting (you guessed it) the nation's electrical grid.

It seems to be a fair amount of research went into the writing of this book - I know I learned some new things. I also found one of the best lines I've read in years - one that's especially meaningful for someone like me who complains about the weather extremes here in northeastern Ohio but wouldn't leave it for the world:

"If you don't have to work to get through winter, what difference does spring make?"

Highly recommended - and I thank the author and publisher (via NetGalley) for providing me with a copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown and Co., August 2016); 401 pp.

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