Darkness, My Old Friend
After giving up his post at the Hollows Police Department, Jones Cooper is at loose ends. He is having trouble facing a horrible event from his past and finding a second act. He’s in therapy. Then, on a brisk October morning, he has a visitor. Eloise Montgomery, the psychic who plays a key role in Fragile, comes to him with predictions about his future, some of them dire.
Michael Holt, a young man who grew up in The Hollows, has returned looking for answers about his mother, who went missing many years earlier. He has hired local PI Ray Muldune and psychic Eloise Montgomery to help him solve the mystery that has haunted him. What he finds might be his undoing.
Fifteen-year-old Willow Graves is exiled to The Hollows from Manhattan when six months earlier she moved to the quiet town with her novelist mother after a bitter divorce. Willow is acting out, spending time with kids that bring out the worst in her. And when things get hard, she has a tendency to run away—a predilection that might lead her to dark places.
Failure wasn't a feeling; it was a taste in his mouth, an ache at the back of his neck. It was a frantic hum in his head. The reflection of failure resided in his wife's tight, fake smile when he came home at the end of the day. He felt the creeping grip of it in her cold embrace. She didn't even know the worst of it. No one did. But they could all smell it, couldn't they? It was like booze on his breath...
Honors and Awards
- New York Times Bestseller
- Family Circle Top Book Pick
- Washington Life Top Book Pick
Praise for Darkness, My Old Friend
"Darkness, My Old Friend is deeply plotted and complex and carries an undeniable momentum. Lisa Unger's enthralling cast of characters pulled me right in and locked me down tight. This is one book that will have you racing to the last page, only to have you wishing the ride wasn't over."
—Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Lisa Unger is one of my favorite authors. She gets better and better with each book."
—Karin Slaughter, #1 international bestselling author
"Lisa Unger’s writing has the gift of rhythm. She has created a melody that traps readers with a heart stopping story that only Unger could write. The characters are profound and reveal the hidden side that exists in all of us. This is a magnificent , well told story, full of revelations about human nature. "
—Javier Sierra, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Angel
"Excellent characterization makes this one of Unger's best thrillers yet."
—Library Journal (starred review)
"The beauty of this unconventional crime novel is that focus is not on whodunit but the darkness that drives us."
—Family Circle Magazine
"Gripping psychological thriller... as much about uncovering the past as it is about accepting the future."
"The American thriller writer Unger has her schtick down pat. She sets groups of troubled characters among one another in devilish ways that are bound to prove fatal to someone. This time, under Unger’s expert hand, events unfold in an anonymous American community called the Hollows where creepy mystery seems a way of life."
—The Toronto Star
"Unger has a sure touch with teenage characters and their parents, exploring the sometimes painful territory without falling back on stereotypes. She also shines a light on marital bonds, some strong, some broken, some unhealthy. Her story's roots are in those family relationships, which any detective will tell you account for plenty of homicides. Unger gives us one other important element: characters to root for as well as against. She's definitely one of my new favorites."
—The Charlotte Observer
"Unger's new mystery novel has her usual winning combination of psychological suspense and a cast of interesting characters."
—London Free Press
"Retirement for Jones is a facade and his troubled neighbors know it. Several seemingly unconnected storylines collide with Jones as the focal point... As the pages turn and the pace finally quickens, Jones develops into an introspective knight errant... Sounds a bit like a hero from another era, one we all loved called Trav. Its obvious that Unger has more in store for Jones... Bring it on."
"Lisa Unger uses the fears found in everyday life to pump up her exciting psychological thriller Darkness, My Old Friend. In this enthralling follow-up to last year's Fragile, Unger again tackles family secrets, the legacy of violence and the complexity of relationships. Again, Unger shows that the family structure makes for some of the most involving mysteries. Unger skillfully pulls together the various stories in an exciting and logical way. The Hollows is filled with people who have known each other all their lives and it is hard for many of the residents to separate memories of the past with the realities of the present. "The Hollows had a way of encouraging paths to cross." Darkness, My Old Friend moves at a brisk pace as Unger makes us desperately want to know what drives these various characters. The Hollows perfectly depicts the microcosm of life in an insular town that has far-reaching effects."
"As all of the characters' storylines come together in the thrilling conclusion, the reader may stay up all night to finish. This is a fast-paced page-turner with compelling characters who draw you in."
—Parkersburg News and Sentinel
"Good reading, canny characterizations"
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Unger raises questions of faith, memory, sacrifice, and love in her latest novel. It has a gripping plot, fast-paced action, and characters that seem so real they almost leap from the printed page. Darkness, My Old Friend is a great follow-up to her previous novel, Fragile."
"A satisfying story with an eclectic and interesting cast of characters... Unger shows her usual deftness at intricate plotting and explores the mother-child relationship from multiple angles... Sure to be another hit with Unger fans."
"Readers will find themselves drawn to the author's mastery of characterization and her psychological penetration. As in Fragile, Ms. Unger is especially adept at delineating the emotionally troubled depths of rebellious adolescents. Frustrated, desponded parents are drawn equally well. The recovery from a kind of safe paralysis to dangerous action that brings Jones Cooper back to his essential self is handled with insight and skill. The author makes Eloise Montgomery's uncanny talents vivid and credible, while she handles the control freak-psyche of Kevin Carr with a sure hand."
"This is one of Lisa Unger’s best novels, with a complex plot and a great cast of characters. You’ll fly through it to find out what has happened."
"Lisa Unger's latest novel, Darkness, My Old Friend is her best to date, revealing her evolution as a writer. As a fan, it satisfied every expectation I have of one of my favorite authors. As a bookseller, it is the perfect novel to place into the hands of those who may not have read Unger's previous novels simply because we know that they will be back to do just that. Unger’s latest is an unpredictable, entangled and refreshing stand alone thriller set in a fictional town that's as much a character as the lives that inhabit it. Unger took me to the edge, pushed me a little further than expected, and then presented a twist that has left me asking for galley number five. I cannot wait to put this book into the hands of readers."
—Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop
"Reading Darkness, My Old Friend feels a bit like moving to a small town like The Hollows. First you get to know the locals, slowly but surely, and then once you're familiar, you start to notice the oddities and peculiarities of the place, wondering what secrets it's hiding. The book might not be explosive or edgy, especially not at first, but it does steadily build suspense in a way that might be even more effective."