A Flicker in the Dark
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Rating - ⭐⭐1/2
"When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.
Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren't really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?"
A Flicker in the Dark is mystery thriller by debut author Stacy Willingham.
First and foremost, I would like to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for giving me the opportunity to review this title. Please note that this in no way affects my opinions. Also note that was I received was an ARC, and things may be subject to change for the final copy.
This book was, to sum it up simply, frustrating and disappointing. The entire time I was reading this, I was feeling this image on a very deep level ⬇. Let's just go straight into the details.
The writing was perfectly digestible, but my only complaint would be that sometimes there were words and sentences that the author used that threw me off because they sounded odd. For example, at one point the words mouth hole were used, instead of simply just saying mouth.
This was just not what I expected, nor wanted, this to be. I thought I was getting myself into an engrossing mystery thriller that focused on the crimes that happened in the past and present. That, unfortunately, was not really what I got. Instead, I got a story that focused on an unreliable main character who was slowly spiralling (I will get to this more in the characters section). It wasn't very fun being in her head and having to listen to her panic and draw conclusions.
As for the mystery, while it was multi-layered and there were a lot of pieces at play, I was able to figure out all of them either right off the bat or as I read. That is not a good sign for a book that is supposed to be full of twists you're not supposed to see coming...because I did.
As I said earlier, my feelings for this book can be summed up with the Picard facepalm, and that is mainly due to how frustrating the main character, Chloe, is. The urge to knock some sense into her was incredibly strong for several reasons. Chloe is a psychologist who has a lot of issues going on.
She is suffering from, or I can assume she is, PTSD due to the trauma of her childhood. In order to cope with it, she does so rather unhealthily with constant denial that everything is okay, and with substance abuse. I don't know about you, but I would not be lining up to book an appointment with a psychologist who will not seek help for themselves.
Now, I get that I have not been in her position and have no idea what it would feel like to go through her trauma and have to deal with it, but that is exactly why I had such a hard time following her story. Her life was in shambles and I couldn't muster up any sympathy for her because of all the things she does throughout the book.
All in all, I just didn't enjoy listening to this book from Chloe's perspective, because she made me want to smash my head against a wall, to put it bluntly. I would go into detail about why I feel so strongly about this, but then I would have to go into spoilers which I am not going to do.
The mystery aspect wasn't strong enough and was very predictable, the characters were frustrating to read about, and I felt more annoyed than thrilled while reading this. As a debut novel, it was a pretty big swing and a miss, but, I do think that the author has the capabilities to improve.