Lisa Unger takes readers back to the sleepy (but surprisingly crime-filled) streets of The Hollows, a small town just outside New York City, in her latest book Darkness, My Old Friend.
As in Fragile, her previous novel set in The Hollows, Unger populates her book with a whole host of characters, both old and new. Returning are psychologist Maggie Cooper and her husband Jones, psychic Eloise Montgomery, and high school principal Henry Ivy. In small towns like The Hollows, everyone knows everyone. However, in Darkness, My Old Friend, Unger introduces several new characters for readers to get to know.
Michael Holt has come home to The Hollows after decades away. After the death of his father, Michael returns to his childhood home to prepare it for sale. Back in his hometown, Michael finds himself unable to let go of his mother's disappearance more than a dozen years ago. He hires private investigator Ray Muldune and psychic Eloise to help him solve the mystery once and for all. They, in turn, enlist the help of now-retired police detective Jones Cooper to help them work the troubling cold case.
Jones is also called to assist a young housewife who learns too late what her husband is really like. As she hires him, then immediately disappears, Jones steps carefully around the husband's pointed questions. In the meantime, he works to find her -- dead or alive.
Bethany and Willow Graves make up the final new-to-The-Hollows characters. Hailing from NYC in search of a place more quiet, the Graves family has secrets of their own. Willow, a high school student, has her share of issues that led them to The Hollows. She stumbles into the Marla Holt investigation by accident, then struggles to make her mother believe her.
Although admittedly Darkness contains a somewhat complicated set of storylines, it is an enjoyable read nonetheless. Unger immerses her readers in her small-town universe. Although most small towns don't experience quite so many dramatic disappearances and crimes, the underbelly of small-town life is decidedly complex. Unger gives us a peek behind the curtains of the houses we might normally pass by, and in the process spins quite a fascinating tale.
In addition to Darkness, My Old Friend, Lisa Unger is the author of Fragile, the first book set in her fictional town of The Hollows, as well as eight other novels. Some of these were written under her maiden name of Lisa Miscione, but are being re-released over the next year. Two, Angel Fire and The Darkness Gathers, are already available. For updates from Unger, visit her website, read her blog, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.