7.12.16

ARC Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

review         book



I'll Meet You Theretitle: The Darkest Corners
author: Kara Thomas
pages: 336
format: Paperback
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4/5 (from hated to loved) or 6.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Far From You by Tess Sharpe, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, and other dark, character-driven psychological thrillers.
The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

in depth


  • This review is going to be short and sweet, like this book.  Well, "sweet" is another way to say "psychological thriller mindtrip," I suppose. Thomas establishes herself firmly in the small but fierce world of young adult thrillers with this twisty, treacherous debut.  Dive in and put on your water wings, friends, because you're going to need them.  

  • Welcome to Fayette, small-town USA with a dark past.  Tessa is only back to visit her dying father in prison--but finds herself embroiled in an old mystery: what really happened the night when she and her ex-bestie Callie saw Callie's cousin Lori kidnapped?  Was it really Wyatt Stokes, who sits on death row for Lori's murder?  

  • It's a set-up worthy of Gillian Flynn (think Gone Girl and Dark Places) and Thomas executes it with masterful precision.  From page one, she layers her prose with a procedural tightness and sense of eerieness, of wrongness, building up an atmosphere of suspense that leaves you forever uneasy.  She throws out little breadcrumbs of knowledge at the right pace, letting you get sucked into the mystery and pulled along one wrong path while she prepares for the smack of a twist. 

  • There were parts that tend to be sticking points for me in young adult mysteries.  Teens being overly adept sleuths and getting away with questionably legal things.  Adults being unbearably obtuse.  A few overly convenient plot points.  Some major suspension of disbelief.  (We can't all be Gillian Flynn.)  That said, Thomas also managed to surprise me, which doesn't happen often, and it was a surprise with such a clever lead-up that I got to enjoy one of those "Aha!" moments of satisfying revelation. 

  • A solid foundation for the twists of the murder mystery is the constellation of Tessa and her family and friends.  Tessa is a brusque, quiet girl, prickly but endearing.  Her friend Callie is a compulsive party-girl.  Their fractured friendship is as central to the story as the murder, and mending the cracks as much a plot-driver .  Even more than her crime chops, Thomas shows mastery in the delicacy and poignancy of Tessa's dysfunctional family and friendships, and Tessa's own struggle to fit the night of Lori's disappearance into her self-concept.  

  • If you're looking for a quick read that will having you white-knuckling it page after page, Thomas' debut is your perfect next read.  While not mind-blowing, it's solidly memorable and wildly entertaining.  Fellow crime junkies, assemble!  


        in a sentence

        The Darkest Corners is a dark, twisty thriller that brings domestic drama to the young adult scene.  


        rating         




        will i read this author again?  Yes!  I'm so excited for her newest! 
        will i continue the series?  N/A 




        Note: I received this copy from an ARC tour unaffiliated with the publisher. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.



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