Dark Matter

During 2020 I decided to read about all things dark, black and demon haunted and I came up with quite the collection of titles. 

Midnight Bowling by Quinn Dalton

2023 has turned out to be a lot. In times of stress I read a lot BUT I don't retain a lot...it has been that kind of a year to put it mildly.

This book was recommended/sent to me by my husband, he thought I would like it--even though he had not read it himself. Not sure if he has even read it since I did, so much for book club.

I don't remember all the fine details of the plot and truthfully I thought it would be more about bowling--instead it is more of dark character study. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark (One Woman's Search...) by Michelle McNamara

Ms. McNamara became obsessed with trying to find the identity of The Golden State Killer. I became obsessed with the author's back story as it's a little infamous in and of itself. She was the wife of the actor Patton Oswald, became obsessed with true crime starting in her teens with the yet unsolved mystery of the death of a young girl in her childhood neighborhood. She became a true crime journalist and managed the website True Crime Diary. Alas Michelle died suddenly while she was writing this book, it was pieced together by members of her research team and published after her death. And yep I did some googling, accidental overdose (too many pills + a heart condition). She never uncovered the identity of the killer but it is thought that her research kept the case alive. The killer was ultimately traced by DNA evidence thanks to the development of website companies such as Ancestory and 23&Me. He is prison.

Saigon Dark by Elka Ray--Crime Wave Press

Saigon Dark marks the second book I have read by Elka Ray.  I requested and received a digital copy compliments of Crime Wave Press in exchange for an honest review.

Of the two books I much prefer Saigon Dark as Ms. Ray’s talent shines through on every page—it is a well-crafted ferris wheel ride of a read. I devoured the book without hardly ever putting it down.

It is dark and compelling—I was certainly at times hard pressed to feel empathy with the main character, Lily—but I nevertheless hoped she would succeed—even if the woman was completely unable to simply tell the truth. Saigon Dark is a testament to Ms. Ray’s strength as a writer.

Instead, I took inspiration from the wisdoms that Ms. Ray portrayed through her characters—the wisdom that keeping secrets leads to a life filled with deception and paranoia. It builds a secret inner monologue in your brain which if left unchecked completely drives your entire life.

It is like drinking a poison that ensures that your focus is always trapped listening to a paranoid deceptive demon constantly whispering in your ear advising a continued diet of lies, deception, vigilance, paranoia, fear, stress, and anxiety—to succeed at all costs—if you are to protect what you hold dear. In Lily and in Saigon Dark, Ms. Ray creates a dark closed-in world that precisely validates her wisdoms, writing that results in a well constructed novel that is as compelling as it is claustrophobic.

Family (she claims) is the most important thing in Lily’s life and she would do anything to protect it—while reading I would often wonder which was more important to Lily—her family or getting caught.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

A little confusing by the end. I am glad that my son also read the book this year so we able to discuss and figure things out. Sort of--quantum physics will alway remain mostly out of my grasp. I really enjoyed this book.

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of a darker version of the television drama Six Feet Under excepting that it is set in Scotland and the funeral home is run by the women of the family. This is supposed to part of an upcoming series of books which I am looking forward to read.

The Complete Novels: Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

I am slowly but surely making my way through the works of Jean Rhys. Dark tales about down on their luck women who are beholden to men for money and shelter, I used to "hope" that she was making this lifestyle up--but no it seems it was a standard and acceptable way for women to "make a living" in the early half of the 20th century.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This book laid around in one of my many TBR stacks for years, it is the first in a trilogy. Sometimes books have to wait for their appropriate moment. 2020 and this category made it a perfect choice. In fact all three of this trilogy made the cut. Excellent reading. Hope she circles back to these characters one day.

Blackout by Connie Willis

Another dusty book found lying in one of my many TBR stacks. I have read many of Ms. Willis's books and I have loved every one of them...so glad this one (and it's sequel) stood up to counted as must reads for this category.

Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

I am a fan of Ms. Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and a copy of the last installment is waiting on a shelf #TBR. There is no denying that she is a fine author with excellent writing skills. I wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did. 

The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

I picked this book up at Half-Priced Books warehouse sale (boy those were the days) and it sounded so fascinating. I had such high hopes and was delighted that it fit into this category of reading. Part of this book is indeed absolutely fascinating but then it shifts. About half way through he starts repeating himself, working the same material into chapter after chapter. Maybe I should have been forwarned since the author's name on the book cover is at least 3 times the size of the actual book title.

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.