Used to be kids played outdoors until time for dinner, now social media’s the new game in town. These days, they play on their smartphones. But with more freedom comes greater danger. Mobile devices are a conduit into a child’s life, not just for friends but for those who intend harm. This is the message of J. Carson Black’s Daphne du Maurier Award-nominated thriller, DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN.
When Laura investigates the murder of a fourteen-year-old girl found in a town’s park bandshell, she knows immediately what she’s up against: a cunning sexual predator. But why is she plagued by the abduction of a schoolmate eighteen years earlier?
In a runaway case that propels Laura from a lavish Tucson estate to the secretive heart of a northern Florida town, she must confront the ghosts of her own past. Then another child goes missing—and Laura must race the clock to find her.
New series character, Arizona Dept. of Public Safety investigator Laura Cardinal, makes her promising debut as she investigates the murder of a girl in the picturesque, artsy southeastern AZ mountain town of Bisbee. Prompted by clues that indicate this death may only be the most recent in a series, committed by a man who lures his victims to him through the internet, Laura travels from her home base outside Tucson to Florida and back, hoping to not only solve the current case, but prevent any future abductions and murders. Despite a few convenient coincidences, this is a strong debut
The problem is turf. Laura Cardinal, as investigator for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, is well aware of this problem. Sent off to Bisbee to investigate a particularly brutal crime, she finds the local police are not particularly happy to have her on the scene, especially when she insists on doing the investigation her own way. All signs point to a serial killer of pre-teen girls, with Jessica Parris only the latest victim. Cardinal doesn't share the police's view that the perpetrator is a local, and is more and more convinced they are dealing with a sexual predator who preys on young girls he contacts through the Internet. Her search takes her off to another small town, this time in Florida, where she discovers the strange home and surroundings of Jimmy de Seroux, the man she is increasingly sure is the killer. But she also begins to uncover a web of evil, with de Seroux merely a player on its outer fringes. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN is a police procedural at its best, dealing with crosscurrents that sometimes facilitate, sometimes hinder the hunt for the criminal. Black does a masterly job of depicting the clash of personalities, the complete commitment of her protagonist to running down the killer, and the painstaking work involved in doing that. Add the fact that a smidgen of what the reader is left to decide may be the supernatural, and this is a mystery with all the suspense anyone could ask for.
This is a superb debut thriller from J. Carson Black. The story is compelling, the writing is crisp and the characters will haunt your thoughts long after you've finished reading. Welcome to a strong new voice in American crime fiction
A Well-crafted, suspenseful police procedural, rich in characters, plot, and setting. J. Carson Black gets it right and mystery fans couldn’t ask for more
An electric debut…Intricately plotted, tense and hyperrealistic…DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN will keep you turning pages long into the night.
A complex, multilayered, nail-biting superthriller
A suspenseful, believable thriller from a terrifically talented writer