Fiction Friday: “Darkness, My Old Friend” Quintessential Thriller

Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger is the quintessential thriller novel. It has all of the necessary elements for the making of a thriller, including –
The Who:

  • The retired cop, who, of course, has a last name for a first name: Jones Cooper.
  • The difficult seventeen year old girl, Willow, who has just moved with her single mom to the rural town of Hollows from New York City.
  • The woman who became a psychic after a brutal car accident left her in a coma for six weeks, Eloise.
  • The creepy man, Michael Holt, who lost his mom at an early age. Even at thirteen years old he was bigger in stature than most men in their thirties.
  • The woman with the abusive husband, Paula Carr.

The What: One day while Willow is ditching school, she comes across Michael digging in the woods. Jones Cooper is hired to find out what happened to two missing women – one in the present and one in the past. Their stories start to intermingle after Eloise, the psychic, has some scary visions about the near future for Cooper.

When: Present Day

Where: The Hollows, a rural area that includes the dreaded creepy woods.
Why: To figure out what actually happened to Marla Holt, so many years ago.
This was definitely an interesting, flowing story that I could not put down. It was a quick read and an enjoyable one. At the beginning the stories seemed so disjointed, but they slowly start to intertwine into a fantastic surprise ending that brought the whole story together. Once Lisa Unger introduced the psychic, I became afraid that the story would turn cheesy, but it was quite the contrary. Unger did something I thought no one else could do– she made the psychic a real person and not cheesy at all.
It wasn’t until about half way through reading that I discovered that Darkness, My Old Friend is actually a follow up novel to Fragile, which I haven’t read. I’ve heard that it is good to read Fragile before reading the most recent novel, but it is not necessary. I do respect the fact that Unger has created a follow-up novel that can completely stand on its own.
Now, I leave you with one question today – why do most thriller novels have a cop/ex-cop with a last name for a first name? 🙂 Got any theories?

— Kristen B.