Darker Than Desire
I’ve reviewed 380 books for AAR over the last five years. 28 of those reviews are C-, only 19 books have a lower grade than that. Which means that I tend to like what I read – or at the very least find it acceptably average. This book was a meandering mess that was painful to read and I will now have 20 reviews that have a grade lower than C-.
David Sutter, who hid out for a while under the name Cain Yoder, is a mess internally. His parents have done a real number on his psyche. The crazy town he lived in had left him mentally damaged. He’s effed up. Emotionally damaged. Permanently scarred. He’s deranged, demented, screwed up. In fact, we spend the first hundred pages of this novel mostly hearing about just how screwed up David is – at least, according to him.
Life handed Sybil Chalmers an endless array of lemons but she has managed to turn most of it into lemonade. She plans to do the same with her relationship with David. For the last decade he has been making bootie calls after her nephew falls asleep. As a result, the only relationship Sybil and David have would seem to be purely physical. Sybil sees it differently; she is convinced the sex has led to trust and the trust to connection. But she wants more.
Now that the information on Cronus is out in the open and the police are actively investigating this club of pedophiles, David has taken a stance as a witness. It has caused him to be picked on a bit as townspeople become irate at seeing prominent community leaders brought low thanks to his (and other former abused kids’) testimony. He wants to change the terms of his relationship with Sybil but he feels that everyone is talking about him and he doesn’t want to bring her and the nephew she is raising into the spotlight with him. When someone starts to take out the people who have either helped or hindered David in the past he realizes that things are even worse than he thought. He has an admirer – and that person seems determined to kill anyone who would stand in the way of their Happily Ever After. Including the people David most cares about.
Angst ridden as opposed to action driven, this slow as molasses mystery leads to a conclusion that is more confusing than explosive. As far as the romance, I couldn’t understand what Sybil saw in David or what, if anything, really drew them together. The secondary mystery regarding the Cronus Club was tied up in a neat knot at the end of the story with a whimper rather than a bang. Seeing as we spent three books getting there this seemed to me a bit of a letdown. Ultimately I found everything here a touch disappointing and uninteresting. A shame since the series started on such a high note.