Title: Whisper in the Dark
Author: Robert Gregory Browne
When a violent and incoherent naked Jane Doe is found cowering in the street near the scene of a brutal murder, a pair of bloody scissors in hand, Detective Frank Blackburn is faced with a tough question: is she a victim or the killer herself? Determined to get some answer, Blackburn takes the young woman to the Baycliff Hospital detention unit, to renowned psychiatrist Michael Tolan, in the hope that he will work his magic and get her to open up.
But Tolan has problems of his own. One year ago today his beloved wife Abby was brutally slain by a savage serial killer named Van Gogh. And just this morning Vincent himself called Tolan, claiming his innocence, claiming he didn’t kill Abby at all. He’s convinced, however, that the young doctor did and promises to make him pay.
Could Van Gogh be right? Could Tolan have killed his own wife? Soon Blackburn suspects that the murder he’s investigating, the mysterious witness and the death of Abby Tolan are all somehow connected. And, above all, Jane Doe is desperately trying to communicate with the world to expose the real killer’s identity – a killer who is equally desperate… and about to kill again.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I was taking a friend for a haircut in this one random mall I have never been in, and when we took a detour to the grocery store, we found a table filled with a number of books. Being a bookaholic and all, I rushed to the table and began to peruse the paperbacks. The price she gave was ridiculously low and I left the little book sale with some books and an empty wallet.
The first line of the book literally starts with “It was a pretty uneventful night until the naked lady tried to kill him.” and with an opening like that, one can only wonder where it would all lead to. The next chapter has a very similar opening, a fantastic hook right into the beginning of a long wild tale of mystery, intrigue, horror and amazing characters that are too real to be fictional. Each chapter ends on a high, like an episode of a really well done TV series and you can’t wait for the next episode…and the next… and the next. I flew through this book so quickly, it was a pleasant surprise. One minute I was reading the first page and when I looked up, I was fifty pages in; that is how much I enjoyed this book.
Although the events happen in a single day (24 anyone?) the story is well paced, the characters given value, meaning and depth that it felt like you knew them in just that one day. There was also a lot of mystery surrounding the doctor, the witness, the detective and the quiet “rhythm” that reverberates throughout the book. For the first time in a long while, I did not see the ending coming. It caught me completely off guard, redirected my attention from the obvious so well that when it was revealed, I wondered how I missed it all.
I am definitely keen on finding more books by Robert Gregory Browne, as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. He might very well become my new Stephen King.
Rating: A solid 5 out of 5