Laurie King's 1993 debut novel, A Grave Talent, won American and British honors for Best First Crime Novel, and it quickly established a loyal following for her series featuring San Francisco detectives Kate Martinelli and Alonzo Hawkins. She followed up that early success with a clever expansion of the Sherlock Holmes mythos, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. That novel, and the three that succeeded it, partnered Holmes with Mary Russell--a woman very much Holmes's equal in spirit and mind despite her young age. A Darker Place is King's first book to break from these series as she continues to pioneer new territory between literary and thriller fiction.|
The success of A Darker Place comes from its slow revelation of the back story, which illuminates the major players: Anne Waverly, Glen McCarthy, and the people of Change. King brilliantly portrays the psychological split that drives Anne to self-destruction, both in her sexual relationships and in her self-effacing work for the FBI. Though a respected university professor and expert on cults, Anne Waverly was once a cultist herself. For 18 years she has struggled with personal tragedies that wrenched her from that experience, and she has dedicated herself (through academic labor and her covert work for the FBI) to saving the lives of others who become embroiled in religious fanaticism. Now, despite a vow that she has ended her relationship with the FBI and its work in defusing cults, she returns for one last effort at the request of Agent McCarthy. Anne cuts her hair, changes her name, and gradually loses herself in her new role as a member of Change. But her investigation soon becomes a journey into her own psyche, into the dark places of her past, as she sees her own life played out again in the members of the cult.
Source: Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com.
With her debut novel, A Grave Talent, Laurie R. King became the first novelist since Patricia Cornwell to win prizes for Best First Crime Novel on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, in her first stand-alone novel, the Edgar Award and John Creasey Award winner brings us an intelligent, engrossing drama of good and evil--once again showing how Laurie King breaks every rule to craft some of the most fascinating novels in crime fiction.
Anne Waverly is a respected university professor. Few know that, eighteen years ago, her own unwitting act cost Anne her husband and seven-year-old daughter. Fewer still know that her past and her academic specialty--alternative religious movements--have made her a brilliant FBI operative. Four times she has infiltrated suspect communities, escaping her own memories of loss and carnage to find a measure of atonement. Now, as she begins to savor life once more, she has no intention of taking another assignment.
Until, that is, she is given an envelope containing details of the Change group and its leaders, whose Arizona site houses over one hundred children and a school admired by even the local authorities. Outsiders have found these children, many of them rescued from abuse, healthy and content--but far too well-behaved....
Soon Anne--as the eager, pliable seeker Ana Wakefield--is on her way to the red cliffs and high desert air of the Change compound. As she explores its enigmatic mixture of mysticism, hierarchy, and trickery, she grows unexpectedly close to two abandoned children fostered by Change. Fourteen-year-old Jason Delgado is a tough, sexy, wary street kid; his timid, silent little sister Dulcie reminds Anne all too much of her own lost daughter.
Slowly, she comes to see that this is no ordinary community and hers is no ordinary mission. For, far from appeasing the demons of her past, this assignment is sweeping her back into their clutches.
In A Darker Place, King masterfully reinvents the novel of psychological suspense, creating a complex and iron-willed woman who, in searching for the truth among the darker places of her past, discovers her own redemption.--