Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chris Patchell's In The Dark Compares to Great Books By Top Suspense Thriller Writers!

          Yet all things must die.
The stream will cease to flow;
The wind will cease to blow;
The clouds will cease to fleet;
The heart will cease to beat;
          For all things must die.
          All things must die.
The truth was, he liked the dark, the close smell of incense, the candles burning for the righteous, the murmured prayers of the faithful.
He liked the sense of solitude, looking up at the vaulted ceilings, knowing that there was no one staring down in judgment. No vengeful hand of God, poised to reach out of the sky and smite his black soul.
There was no rescue.
Most of all, he came here because he liked the ritual. That's what Catholics were good at, right? Say the same prayer over and over and expect different results. Yeah. Wasn't that the very definition of madness?
Slowly, almost reverently, (he) withdrew his mother's rosary from his pocket, the same rosary she had spent countless hours hunched over in her hospital bed, praying for deliverance. And, well, she'd gotten it now, hadn't she? Death had relieved her of sickness and pain. Dean had removed her to a better place, and left him here. Alone, and very much alive.
He worked the beads methodically through his fingers. Ritual. It had become his friend too, something he could hold on to. Something he could take comfort in. Something that gave him release.
The long string of beads passed from finger to thumb, and still he remained silent. Drew knew the rosary prayers by heart, but he did not pray. Instead, words from his favorite Tennyson poem ran through his head like a song.


In The Dark

By Chris Patchell

This is my first reading of Chris Patchell, and this is only her second novel. Frankly, I was amazed. Even with a few questionable issues, I've been reading similar books for years and this is one of the best in the genre... I've thought over names like Lisa Jackson, Brenda Novak, Iris Johansen, and so many other of my favorites and could not find a memory of anything like this storyline. It is extraordinarily compelling and grabs the reader immediately, only to begin to wonder...just how far are we going to be taken...into the dark...

A scream rent the air, shattering the
stillness of the afternoon.
It was shrill. Human...
Another scream. Louder.
"Help me, Oh God. Please."
At first he could see nothing, his eyes
blinded in the dim light. Then her
slender form materialized out of the
darkness--a slip of a girl, barely more
than a hundred pounds. She was
standing near the center of the room,
her hands bound behind her back.
A soiled University of Washington
T-shirt hanging from her skinny
frame. Pink panties. And nothing
The relief on her face froze the
instant she spotted him. A Small
sob escaped her lips. She stepped
back, retreating into the shadows.
As if she could hide...
The Prologue sets the stage, when we discover the location where his captives are held. (Ben Affleck was selected to play the villain in a movie!) The youth camp had been allowed to deteriorate and was falling apart--sometimes even while a young girl sat alone with the roof caving in about her... He was just arriving, thinking that it was a shame it had been left to rot--he had enjoyed many times here, escaping his alcoholic abusive father. But then a scream came and he started running, needing to stop it as quickly as possible. She would be punished for not following his rules...

He had made it! He'd escaped his past, doing what he needed to do to be free, and he now was in a good job, had a beautiful fiancee...and still was able to respond to his dark desires. This last time, however, the woman had remembered him from her past. He really had no choice. It was easy, really. Now she was at his child-hood summer camp, even though she might not be enjoying it like he had...

Marissa Rooney, the main character, is a mother of 2, one of which is a diabetic. Marissa has had a rough time as a single mother, but she's tough and has worked hard to keep her family going. But nothing could have prepared her when he daughter, Brooke, disappears.

Nobody believes that her being gone is more than just a college student taking off for a few days... not even her sister Kelly.

But  Marissa knows that she wouldn't do that, especially when she goes to her daughter's room and finds that most of her insulin is there--did she even have a pen for emergencies, with her?

The police took the information but didn't sound optimistic that they would be helpful. It was when she blew up at work and walked out to hunt for her daughter herself, that a complete turnabout of her circumstances changed...

She was fired...
Then she was hired...

And right in the middle of a book with someone performing heinous crimes, we meet who you might call a fairy godmother who starts working a miracle... A way cooool addition with an idea that today's society really needs! Kudos to the author for expanding the value of her book to America's concerned readers...

Leading to the climax is not just the routine search for a criminal. It becomes more dangerous as Kelly becomes a problem and Marissa winds up allowing her to go live with her ex-husband... But that doesn't stop her, too, being taken...

The settings for the various action scenes are scary happenings, so be prepared. Still, the seductive qualities of the criminal are the things you notice--he's looking for total control over his victims and he easily achieves it... or he eliminates the problem...
"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked again.

"Because you're a good person. Smart. Funny. And pretty.
She swiped her nose with the back of her hand, her eyes wide. "You think I'm pretty?"
...Steeling himself, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers...
Music filled the silence between them. The song ended and she opened her eyes.
"What about..."
There are a number of characters that play important roles that move the story further. In most ways, the characters are the main point of interest as we become frustrated when those who wanted to help then catch the killer's attention. Will anybody be able to pull him down?

Patchell keeps readers guessing, by letting us think we know what's happening and then pulls a complete turnabout that you'll not have considered. I loved this one! It's both captivating and engrossing right into the Epilogue! Get it!


When Chris Patchell isn't hiking in the Cascade Mountains or hanging out with family and friends, she is working at her hi-tech job or writing gritty suspense novels. Writing has been a lifelong passion for Chris. She fell in love with storytelling in the third grade when her half-page creative writing assignment turned into a five-page story on vampires. Even back then Chris had a gift for writing intricate plots that were so good her father refused to believe she didn't steal them from comic books.

Years later, Chris spent long afternoons managing her own independent record store and writing romance novels. After closing the record store and going to college, Chris launched a successful career in hi-tech. She married, had kids but amid all the madness, the itch to write never really went away. So she started writing again. Not romance this time - suspense filled with drama, and angst, speckled with a little bit of blood.

Why suspense? Chris blames her obsession with the dark on two things: watching Stephen King movies as a kid and spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting in Seattle traffic. "My stories are based on scenarios I see every day, distorted through the fictional lens. And my stories come with the added bonus of not having to be restrained by socially acceptable behavior."

Recipient of the 2015 Indie Reader Discovery Award for DEADLY LIES

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