Title: A Map of the Dark
Series: The Searchers #1
Author(s): Karen Ellis
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: January 2nd 2018
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Karen Ellis, pseudonym of author Katia Lief, releases a thriller mystery tale focused on a special agent with a disturbing past and a kidnapping of a teenager. One part police procedural and one part thriller, A Map of the Dark is a fast-paced story that delivers an emotionally-charged and highly personal hunt.
Elsa Myers is not your typical FBI agent. While her father is hospitalized with an illness that seeks to steal his life, she is assigned to take on a child abduction case that dusts off all the devastating things she has been through in her own childhood. The story features multiple point of views, as well as both past and present narrative. Chapters that explore the past of Elsa Myers especially highlight the protagonist’s damaged-self through her past relationship with her mother as well as the present residuals of her trauma. Short and extremely concise, they don’t make for an easy read with Karen Ellis’ ability to write convincing and powerful scenes showing us the consequences of abuse.
Although these chapters set in the past were interesting in making us further understand our damaged protagonist, they were oddly integrated and never truly felt fluid in the narrative. It didn’t help that there were also a couple of chapters interspersed within the story that offered readers the perspective of the kidnapped. As much as I wanted to truly enjoy this case, I felt like background of the main character overshadowed the main investigation and diluted its thrill. However, Elsa Myers was still a complex character whose baggage isn’t easy to read about. Her flaws are put in the foreground and became the main focus, and that unfortunately took away from the crime story that was being told.
Karen Ellis has an excellent writing style that is absolutely captivating. I did see the main twist coming that made the story accelerate considerably a little after the halfway mark, but the author delivers it masterly. In fact, I found that the action towards the end was remarkably developed. I won’t lie that it had me flipping through the pages at an uncontrollable speed. But everything before that twist felt like mud instead of water. It simply wasn’t easy or exciting to swim through. A Map of the Dark is a great new series to check out with its exploration of abuse ambitiously integrated within this child abduction story.
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆
Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about A Map of the Dark?
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Till next time,