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ARC Review: The Darkest Corners

Title: The Darkest Corners
Author: Kara Thomas
Publication Date: 4/19/2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Format: eARC*
Goodreads | Book Depository

“For fans of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places and Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
    There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
    Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
    Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
    But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
    Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.”

I’m not a big fan of thrillers – I don’t do scary movies, I’m not the type to watch murder mysteries all day. So I was very hesitant to read The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas. A YA thriller about a girl who returns to her hometown years after her testimony sent a serial killer behind bars, only for the case (and her memories) to be blown open when another girl is killed in the same way.

While I’m not a convert yet, The Darkest Corners was an exceptional first foray into the thriller genre for me. Thomas’ writing kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and for all of the twists and turns in this book, I was riveted. Even the ending of this book, in which Thomas continues to drop huge bombs of knowledge on the reader, was incredible. Just like the end of a Criminal Minds episode, you’re left seeing the connections, but with questions that will keep you up for hours afterward. Wait, I’m already at the end, let’s rewind.

My preference is almost always for books that are character or world driven, instead of plot. Thrillers, and especially The Darkest Corners, are understandably plot driven. This really worked for me within the context of this story, because I found that while I liked Tessa enough as an MC and found her familial relationships and friendships interesting, I did reach a point where solving the mystery became way more important to me than the cast of characters. The characters felt a bit underdeveloped, and I never felt connected to any of them. This is especially true of the secondary characters, who were largely interchangeable and static. I found the cast of characters and their interactions to be the weakest part of the story.

There were lots of red herrings in this story, which I’m sure some people may have issues with, but it honestly didn’t bother me. The murders are the main mystery, so to speak, but they open up so many other unknowns that the last few chapters of the book were one crazy reveal after another. I actually enjoyed this, realizing just messed up the situation was with each subsequent plot twist. It was certainly entertaining. The Darkest Corners also touches on the idea that you never really know what someone is capable of, including the people you think you know best.

After reading The Darkest Corners, I’m definitely intrigued to pick up more thrillers, so any recommendations are appreciated! While I definitely had some issues with this story, The Darkest Corners was a crazy, twisted ride of a thriller that will certainly keep you guessing until the last page.

Rating: 3.5 stars

*I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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