I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Girl in the Dark by Marion Pauw
Published by HarperCollins on February 16, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women, General
Buy on Amazon
A single mother and lawyer, Iris has a colorful caseload, a young son with behavior issues, and a judgmental mother.
She also has a brother—shocking news she uncovers by accident. Why did her mother lie to her for her entire life? Why did she hide the existence of Ray Boelens from her?
Curious about this sibling she has never known, Iris begins to search for long-buried truths. What she discovers surprises—and horrifies—her. Her older brother is autistic—and in prison for brutally murdering his neighbor and her daughter.
Visiting Ray, she meets a man who looks heartbreakingly like her own son. A man who is devoted to his tropical fish and who loves baking bread. A man whose naiveté unnerves her. There is no question that Ray is odd and obsessive, unable to communicate like the rest of us. But is he really a killer?
I always enjoy when a book gives a shout out to one of my favorite treats (hagelslag), but sadly, the great beginning to Girl in the Dark fizzled out by the end. Sharp, stressed out single mother lawyer Iris, uncovers a deep family secret. She discovers that she has a brother, Ray, and he was found guilty of the murder of his neighbor and her daughter. Diving in to discover the truth, Iris takes on Ray’s case and begins to peel back the layers of her family’s past. Told in alternating chapters from Iris and Ray’s perspectives the story builds from two distinct perspectives to form one cohesive tale.
Marion Pauw created a very real world, the settings made sense in the context in the story. The characters were well fleshed out; Iris was believable as a harried working mother, and Ray was a convincing confused mentally troubled character. The pacing was steady, with the action interspersed well with the drama. The writing, for the most part, was well planned out and made sense within the story. The plot was griping and well planned out until the very end.
I enjoyed Pauw’s story until the grand reveal. Gripping and tense, it was genuinely a great thriller. The characters were well thought out and the world was very realized. My main issue came with the ending. I genuinely did not quite know the truth until it was revealed. I love a good thriller and was with the tale until the very last chapter. Then the truth was revealed and it did not fit the story at all. It just did not make sense at all to me within the context of everything learned and for a thriller lacked the punch, to me, of a grand reveal. I was hoping for a big “wow” and while the ending was something unexpected, it just did not have the wow factor I had hoped for. Pauw had most of the element’s I enjoy in her tale, but the ending just lacked the pow for me. I would read another of her books as 95% was great, the end was just not what I had hoped.
Favorite lines – Even though motherhood wasn’t particularly easy for me, I could never bear to send Aaron away. Because I loved him, of course I did, but if I were honest, the main reason was I could never live with the guilt. Wasn’t maternal love just another name for Stockholm syndrome? Maybe I was jealous of the layer of Teflon coating my mother’s soul.
Biggest cliché – “I am a lawyer, so I must know everything.”
Have you read Girl in the Dark, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge