Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

THE DARKEST CORNERS
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Pub Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Library

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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.

 

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love (SO well done!) | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | not center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body | #ownvoices

 

I read Kara Thomas’s second mystery book Little Monsters first and loved it, so I decided to go back to her first thriller and see if it was just as good. Another YA thriller author, Caleb Roehrig also recommended it to me, so I was eager to read it.They had very different vibes, but they were equally as good.

The author’s two books had very different vibes, but they were equally as good. Consider Kara Thomas one of my auto-buy authors now!

This book reminded me of a true crime podcast/documentary in many ways. How it was set up, the eerie mood, the multiple mysteries that twined together–it all blended together perfectly to make the best mystery possible.

Now that I’ve read both of the author’s books, I can say that crafting intriguing, well-rounded characters is one of Thomas’s strong suits. Each character was unique and different and watching their personalities clash made for an entertaining book.

Tessa was rougher around the edges, maybe what you’d call an unlikable character. She had a hard time as a child and now that she’s grown up, you can see that reflected in her personality. I really loved seeing things from her POV. Then there was Callie. Both Tessa and Callie experienced something very traumatic when they were children, and it was interesting to see how they differed almost ten years later. Callie chose to throw herself into alcohol and partying; Tessa, instead, sort of stuck to herself and became hard inside. Their reunion, and their subsequent interactions, never failed to intrigue me.

The other characters, such as Maggie, Callie’s mom, were just as strong. But perhaps the best thing was the characters that weren’t even present. Tessa talked a lot about Lori (Callie’s murdered cousin), Joslin (Tessa’s sister), and Tessa’s mother. They weren’t present for the entire book, and yet, I felt like I knew everything about them. Through other characters, back stories, etc., they became just as real as Tessa or Callie. I think that’s a hard thing to do while making it seem effortless, so major props to the author.

As for the story itself, there were many layers. It started off somewhat simple: Who killed Lori Crawley? And like any mystery, there were twists and turns and murky truths that I doubted. Then more questions started popping up, such as Where was Joslin? and Who was the Ohio River Monster? and What happened to Ariel? Personally, I liked all of the different plot threads, but at times it did become a literal overwhelming because some threads disappeared entirely, or morphed into a new question.

Again, no romance (at least, not anything on the page and certainly nothing major), but there was simply no room for it, so that’s fine by me.

The pacing in this book was very much a slow burn. It starts off slow (not in a bad way) and builds to a stunning climax that completely shocked me. I definitely didn’t see the turn coming at the end, and I was genuinely worried for one character’s life.

Ahh, the ending. I’m going to try and word this carefully so not to spoil anything, but also to give you a good idea of what to expect. As I said above, the questions posed at the beginning of the story morph into different questions. Some of these questions never have concrete answers, but some do. Either way, the ending completely does a 180 and I swear, the last page SHOCKED ME. It wasn’t what I expected, but I was still surprised.

Overall, The Darkest Corners was a slow burning, atmospheric read. While some of the plot threads became murky or disappeared entirely, the characters were unique and intriguing and plot twists were always surprising. I thought I predicted the ending, but I was wrong. If you’re looking for a twisty mystery with strong characters and eerie backstories, then you should definitely check it out.

Have you read The Darkest Corners yet, or are you planning to? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

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