Verdict: FEAR NOT THE DARK is a brisk little supernatural thriller with a fine fantasy bent.
Marley McCormick is a freelance journalist in need of a good scoop. And she gets one when her editor suddenly calls up, begging for her to take an assignment. The story? An article-slash-interview with a motivational speaker and maybe cult leader who goes by the name The Dark. Now it’s here that ole Marley’s trouble detector should be going “ding!” The reader’s sure is. The Dark’s pupils seem to turn red, then back to black. His white teeth take on a sharp appearance if you look at them just right. And under his cape (Yes, he wears a cape, but according to the book, he totally pulls it off.) is a bat-faced ferret hybrid with a serpent’s tongue. Marley thinks it’s a weird cat. Other strange things keep happening to Marley and she glibly explains them away with excuses like she’s just tired, or she has an overactive imagination. Granted, at times heroes can be a little slow on the draw. After all, if they figured everything out by page 10, there wouldn’t be much of a story there, would there? Still, Marley comes dangerously close to being duhm. Or at least capable of mind boggling denial. But it’s a small quibble.
FEAR NOT THE DARK is an efficient fantasy thriller, complete with shapeshifting ghouls, restless ghosts, future doubles, and time traveling wizards. There are also ancient scrolls, kindly witches, and black, fire-breathing lions. If all this sounds like a lot, it is. But author Susan Murray teases out these creatures like the skilled temptress that she is. DARK starts with a shocker of an opening and doesn’t let up for a good 50 pages or so—the book’s opening chapters are real page-turners. Aside for occasionally pedantic prose and its aforementioned oft-times obtuse heroine, FEAR NOT THE DARK is a briskly paced supernatural surprise. The action escalates nicely and Murray drops plot points like tasty breadcrumbs. The woman knows how to pace. Overall, the novel doesn’t quite cast an undeniable spell, but it’s perfect for a light winter read. Especially in the Halloween season, when the book is set.
FEAR NOT THE DARK is a brisk little supernatural thriller with a fine fantasy bent.
~Steven Foster for IndieReader