Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie's painand her desire for vengeance. He's on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice. Will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she's forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.
What I liked: The suspense drove this story and I was on pins and needles the whole time. Usually I love character driven books and while Ms Webb’s No Darker Place has some enthralling characters, the unknown about what would happen next kept me turning the pages. That’s somewhat odd as we know upfront exactly who the bad guy is but the suspense comes with what will he do next and how will it affect our damaged heroine, Bobbie Gentry.
I was somewhat more intrigued by the bad guy and a couple of other characters than in sympathy with the protagonist. The secondary characters are such an integral part of Bobbie’s life and her backstory that I found myself enjoying them more at times. I think this was because of the unspeakable horror Bobbie has been through. She is literally scarred by her recent past but the relationships forged in her earlier life are what keeps her hanging on. Admittedly, she’s only hanging on by a thread, but she is living for just one purpose, to find and kill “The Storyteller”. She then figures her life will be complete and she can just let go.
The characters around her have different ideas and fight to keep Bobby on track and try to give her additional reasons for hanging around. The mysterious Nick Slade seems almost as damaged as Bobbie but his life has a different purpose. For some reason, Bobbie and Nick click right from the start. Nick knows why but Bobbie must figure his secrets out for herself. It’s a race to find “The Storyteller” before he damages Bobbie further. Everyone, local law enforcement and the FBI, want to capture him but Bobbie just wants him dead. With each act devised to completely break Bobbie, The Storyteller relishes in her pain.
I will give readers one warning, some of the scenes are extremely graphic with violence and sexual content so if you have any triggers, think about them first.
What I didn’t like: I didn’t always find myself sympathetic to Ms Webb’s main character, Bobbie Gentry. It’s not exactly as if she’s whiny or pitiful but more that she’s practically given up. She hides so much from her supposedly close friends and colleagues, I just wanted to smack her. On the other hand, her connection with Slade more than compensated for her character’s lack of sympathy.
I read No Darker Place because I found the second in the Shades of Death series, A Deeper Grave, on NetGalley. For some reason, I didn’t pick up that I had requested a second book in the series. Upon starting the second book, I realized I really needed to read the first book to get the full scope of the characters and the plot. I also found out there is a novella which is a recommended read before No Darker Place. Yeah, I’ve not read the prequel yet and it didn’t seem to impact my enjoyment of No Darker Place.
The pricing is for the e-book is pretty standard for a "House" published e-book at $7.99. I felt like I got my money's worth.
For the first in a series Ms Webb does an admirable job of grabbing and holding your attention. I thought the pacing and the way she did the ending was stellar writing.