Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
Before his death, Eden Wallace's husband made a reservation at a dark sky park, a place that's kept deliberately low-light so that visitors can enjoy the night sky. Eden has been both an insomniac and afraid of the dark for a while, jobless and unable to talk herself into actually taking a photograph with the camera she carries everywhere. She thinks that perhaps being forced into the darkness for a few nights will help her face her fears. But, there's only one problem.
The cabin in which Eden plans to stay is a large one with room for a number of guests. She is far from the only person planning to stay. A group of twenty-somethings has also arrived, and they're college friends. Eden's room is at the back of the cabin and separate, so she decides to stay for a night and go home. She awkwardly hangs out with the group of friends and then finds herself surprised to actually fall asleep.
Of all the nights to succeed at battling her insomnia, this was definitely not the right one. In the middle of the night, one of the other guests is murdered. Eden wakes briefly and hears some odd noises, sees someone running away after a door slams. But, then she falls back asleep and is surprised to find out there was a murder in the night. Worse, she is a suspect.
Eden knows the best way to get herself off the hook is to understand the strange friendship between the other guests and figure out who committed the crime. But, she also has to deal with her own problems and fears. When she finds out she may be sleepwalking during the rare moments she drifts off to sleep, she even must question herself. Is it possible Eden murdered a perfect stranger? If not, can she move on from the pain of her marriage and loss?
I didn't realize it would be so difficult to write briefly about Under a Dark Sky. It's a little more complex than I thought, as I was reading it. I'm not quite sure what it was about the book that sucked me in (whether it was the story or the author's voice) but Under a Dark Sky really grabbed me hard. It's a fairly slow-paced read, and yet I found it utterly captivating. I liked the slow reveal of the personalities, the tensions between the people in the group, the interaction between them and the local police, what we found out about Eden, the way mishaps continue to plague the group and each one reveals something about the people involved. And, I loved the ending.
Highly recommended - Apart from one particular element that I thought was so obvious I wanted to yell at Eden to remember what so-and-so said and she'd know the answer, I found the mystery in Under a Dark Sky just out of reach enough to suit me and the complexity of the characters satisfying. I gave the book 4 stars because that one element annoyed me a bit, but I highly recommend it because I truly, thoroughly enjoyed the reading and had trouble putting the book down. Be aware, though, that it's not a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read but more of a slow burn.
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I'm all in for this one. I've read about the Arizona town that turned out the lights so that the sky could be seen clearly and has become a destination for those who love the night sky, scientists, amateurs, and tourists. And I'm always ready for a mystery!ReplyDelete
That's very cool about the Arizona town! I really want to find a dark sky park, now that I've heard of them. Wondering if some of the Utah parks are that way, since you often see night sky photos from them. Or, they might have camping options (not a camper, unfortunately).Delete
You do love your mysteries. I'm not a big mystery fan, but I really have enjoyed both the books I've read by Lori Rader-Day. This is the better of the two, though.
This synopsis doesn’t sound like it’s slow so I’m intrigued that is. I love when a book surprises you.ReplyDelete
A lot happens but it's just not fast-paced. Having said that, I don't think there are a lot of wasted words. It really did grab me and hang on.Delete
I've never heard of a dark sky park, but I'm curious if we'll experience anything like that on our upcoming road trip through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The completely dark skies, that is. I really need to learn how to take pictures of the night sky with our digital 35mm!ReplyDelete
Yes, me too. When we were in South Africa, we stayed at a place that was quite dark at night and we could see the Milky Way. So, I tried to figure out how to take a picture of it and failed utterly. David saw me struggling and played with the camera till he figured it out. The photos aren't sharp but at least we did get a couple snaps that are decent. If we ever go back, I'll study up on night sky photography *before* we leave. We can't even see most night events, here -- too much light pollution. That's one reason the idea of a dark sky park really appeals to me. I'd just like to see the stars, again.Delete
I saw this the other day when the publisher had a live chat about it but I didn't really get to hear all of what was said. It sounds pretty good.ReplyDelete
Well, now you've heard about it. I really liked it. It's not scary at all, but it has its tense moments and I enjoyed every minute of the reading. Slow-paced as it is, I read it quickly because I had trouble putting it down.Delete