Places In The Dark

Written by Thomas H. Cook
Review by Mary K. Bird-Guillams

In small-town Maine, two brothers regard life as polar opposites. Their mother follows passion, embracing its call, and her favorite son does the same, jumping in where his heart leads him. The opening scene relates his rescuing a child swept downstream in a fast river. They are saved from disaster by the reluctant intervention of his brother, who follows the father, logical, stoical, resigned to life as a bleak landscape of colorless motions all designed to avoid the entrapments of the heart. He loves his younger brother, though and plunges in to save him from his altruistic deed.

The relationship between the brothers and the old antagonism between the head and the heart gives depth and character to this story. The mystery has vivid, dark, horrifying scenes related in fitful increments by the older son. The style proceeds in a meandering, leisurely, sparse manner, contrasting with the jolting events, which together provide the pull to keep the reader going. It’s the first book in a long time that had me wanting to know the secrets waiting in the labyrinth of the plot. The author is several times an Edgar nominee and a 1997 winner for Chatham School Affair.