In the opening chapter of DARKSIGHT, Audra Carter madly pedals her bicycle through a college quad in the rain, electrified by the risk and challenges of navigating her darkness by sound and instinct, and this wild ride is the perfect set-up for the experience of reading DC Mallery’s intriguing new thriller; we’re never quite sure of what’s coming next in the twisty plot, but the journey is a great deal of scary fun. Audra is a well-drawn protagonist, a woman determined to not be sidelined by her disability and a daughter trying to ease the guilt of her father by living well and bravely.
Dr. Jensen Carter, a renowned neuroscientist who has spent the bulk of his career trying to find a cure for his daughter (Audra’s injury stems from a car accident sustained while Jensen was driving) provides the emotional core of the novel, a brilliant man struggling with the demons of his own shortcomings, prone to depression, but determined to rescue his daughter despite her resistance to the notion that she needs rescuing. The secondary characters are not quite as sharp, with the exception of Sasha, who turns the “stripper with a heart of gold” trope on its head, but they serve their purpose in the larger scheme of the story.
With a great blend of real science (“blindsight” is the ability of people who are cortically blind to respond to visual stimuli that they can’t consciously see) and sneaky pseudoscience (“darksight” is something else entirely and a fascinating concept, but no spoilers here), Mallery’s novel draws the reader slowly from a sense of true experimental possibility to full-blown paranormal madness. Mallery is a terrific storyteller, his structure and pacing masterful; the only issue a reader may have is with the excessive and rather bizarre placement of italicized words, sometimes two or three in a single sentence, throwing off the rhythm of both the prose and dialogue. If one can adjust to Mallery’s visual cadence, however, DARKSIGHT is a scintillating read.
An engaging female protagonist, a mind-bending plot, and some marvelously gruesome pseudoscience make DARKSIGHT a true page-turning thriller about the fine line between emotional blindness and physical sight.
~Shari Simpson for IndieReader