Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cody McFadyen: The Darker Side

Cody McFayden is back with his third novel of his Smokey Barrett series. I noticed for this one that McFayden takes the time to very quickly recap what has happened in the first two books of this series that it is not essential to read the other two first books (Shadow Man & The Face of Death). However, I think as a reader you will be doing yourself a great disservice as the first two books are fantastic reads that will keep you up all night whether you want to or not.

Everyone has secrets that they never want to be found out, and are willing to take them to the grave to protect themselves and others. But there is someone out there that wants these secrets to be revealed not only to him but to the public as well. Showing that these normal people have a dark past, a dark secret that they have done everything to keep buried is this killer’s game. This killer has found a way to route out every secret that you have had and takes time to choose his next victim, and taking time to show the world who this person really was. You never know who is going to be next, even when all the clues are right there in front of Smokey and her team struggle to put them together and wonder if something that they hold secret will make them the next target on the list.

I am a BIG fan of McFayden's Smokey Barrett series and I think it is possible this expectation and love for this series lead me not to like this book as much as the others, as my expectations were possible too high. I found that the plot line and serial killers within the first two books were more creative and definitely not the norm. This book definitely fell towards the "normal" side of things. I also found that this book lacked character development of the first two. There are some big announcements especially within the first few chapters of the book, but they really do not get very much attention or change anything. I believe that McFayden did this on purpose to show that these announcements are not a big deal to the team or anyone, but if they do not matter or do not change anything why introduce them?

I really enjoy Kirby and wish to see more of her in future novels. I think that she adds the much needed comic relief when things get too intense for the team with her ability to access the FBI headquarters even though she is not an agent. I also feel that Kirby is the character that has been least explored by McFayden, therefore I hope he changes that. I would really like to know how Kirby became an assassin, who trained her, just her history in general I think would be a very interesting read.

I will always love Smokey as the main character and she has had some awful things happen to her in her life and has been challenged with her ability to come back from them. However, I felt that McFayden was stretching it in this book in that he was attempting have one more thing that she blames on herself or that she had to suffer through. I think that McFayden was just looking for something new to shock us with, where Smokey gets all her anger and her the darkness inside her. Really I think that everything that has happened is enough to justify her way of life and how she sees the world. I think that McFayden was just looking for another thing, and really compared to some of the other incidence that have happened to Smokey in the past this one is by no means the worst. However, I did like the further development of Smokey and Bonnie's relationship and Bonnie's strive to become normal after everything that has happened to her and her push to help Smokey do the same.

There is no doubt that this book is well written, has an interesting, suspenseful and yes at times scary/creepy as hell plot, but I just had higher expectations from McFayden to keep his creative serial killer and plot lines coming. That said I still will be picking up and reading the next book in the series Abandoned, just to see what McFayden can come up with next (and I hope that it is something new/interesting).

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  2. Great review. I've been meaning to read this series for a little while now but I always forgot who the author was! Thanks for such a detailed review!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages