Confession time: I am the kind of creep who finds serial killers fascinating. At least in fiction. So when a romantic suspense novel promises to have one, I’m pretty much sold. So it’s no surprise that After the Dark by Cynthia Eden had me all excited.
After all, the killer in this book shares a connection with the heroine, and with the hero. How delightful! To me, it couldn’t be more perfect—the hunt is always more fun when it is Beyond Complicated™. Plus, the suspense of What Happened That Night is fantabulous. What’s better than a mystery of how a killer has not only gotten away but also left one of the best agents bloody, ruined and unwilling to talk?
Sadly, all did not go well for me. Or, at least, not as well as I wanted it to. Despite the plot and the awesome.
The show and the tell
I think that the main reason After the Dark did not grip me as fully as I expected it to is the writing style. At times, it was too simplistic. Repetitive, even, stating things that were far too obvious already. The transition between narrative and thought was often jarring. And not always necessary, in my opinion. It created a story that was precise but not very emotional. Or, at least, the language certainly did not add any. And that, to me, can never work.
That’s why the point of view that I enjoyed most is probably that of the killer. Because that train of thought was interesting and it wasn’t supposed to be very emotional in the first place. Clean, logical, clipped. Perfect for its purpose. I definitely got a chilling killer vibe.
Good but not as good as it could’ve been
I really enjoyed the plot and the hunt of After the Dark by Cynthia Eden, on both sides. And I really enjoyed the characters. But, unfortunately, they never really got to shine. It’s like they came to the pages fully developed and didn’t really get a chance to advance, to grow, together and on their own. Which, to me, once again, was not enough. I wanted more.
(Also, I think it’s a sign that I have been watching far too much Criminal Minds because the moment the killer appeared on the page, literally The Moment, The Sentence, I knew he was the killer. And I laughed myself silly, for some reason. Definitely too much Criminal Minds. Except one can never have too much of Criminal Minds, am I right?)
After the Dark by Cynthia Eden
Killer Instinct #1
Published by Harlequin on March 28th 2017
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Former FBI agent Samantha Dark was one of the most respected profilers in the bureau, an expert on the twisted minds and dark hearts of the most depraved criminals. But when her own former lover turned out to be the serial killer she was hunting, Samantha's career was destroyed. Blamed for the FBI's failure on the complex case, Samantha left Washington, DC, for the quiet anonymity of Alabama.
Now an all-too-familiar killer is hunting once again. She can catch the cunning assassin, but that means putting her trust in her former partner, Blake Gamble. Ex-military, Blake is tough, protective, precise. With her entire life on the brink, she knows he wants her back in the FBI...and possibly more.
But someone else wants her, too. A threat is waiting in the dark, a killer who has set his sights on the ultimate trophy victim--Samantha.