TITLE: Nothing But Darkness | AUTHOR: Maria Ann Green| PUBLISHER: Self-Published | PUBLISHED ON: July 27, 2018 | PAGES: 305|
RATING: 4 hooks out of 5 | SOURCE: Author provided copy |
TRIGGER WARNING: Extreme violence against women
I fully admit, I was apprehensive about starting this book. The more I learned about it, the less it sounded like something that would be up my alley: I’m not a huge fan of serial killers, or gore, or romance. Not to mention those don’t really sound like things that would mix particularly well. But somehow, the author manages to take these very, VERY different elements and combine them into a thoroughly engrossing, supremely disturbing thriller.
Our main character is Aidan, a handsome, charismatic and reasonably successful man. He’s got a decent job, a caring best friend, and no shortage of luck with his sexual conquests. But Aidan is also discovering that he has a newfound penchant for death, and the more violent, the better. Even before you add in the whole serial killer element, Aidan is a grade-A asshole; he’s a liar and a womanizer, and the thoughts in his head are pretty damn disgusting. And yet, I couldn’t help rooting for him. I think it says a lot about the quality of writing when an author can make a reader simultaneously utterly disgusted by yet weirdly supportive of such a despicable character. I hated Aidan completely, but I also couldn’t help hoping that he’d succeed in his non-murderous endeavors. I had a lot of very uncomfortable, very conflicted feelings towards Aidan, and I have to applaud the author for making me feel that way about a character I should have out and out loathed.
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of having romance thrown into a non-romance book. I feel like most of the time, it’s unnecessary and adds nothing to the story. I should have felt that way about our charming serial killer’s love life, and yet somehow I kind of loved the romance element here between Aidan and Bee. It just fit into the story perfectly despite being such a completely different vibe from the rest of the plot. It also made Aidan feel like an actual human being, which I think added a lot to the conflicted feelings I had about him. There was a cheating spouse element to the story that I didn’t care for at all, but that has more to do with my personal tastes than how it was actually integrated into the plot; I just don’t enjoy reading about infidelity. But overall the romance element was well done and I loved how it added a totally different and softer element to the still completely fucked up plot.
I really didn’t have many issues with this novel. Sure, Aidan’s thoughts on women are pretty horrifying, but it fits with his character. It definitely made me make my “ick” face more than once, but it was overall well done. The writing is great, with good pacing and complex characters. I did find the ending to be a little bit abrupt, but knowing there’s a sequel coming, it didn’t bother me much. This was a really solid thriller, and a great take on showing things from the killer’s perspective. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Aidan and Bee will end up in the next book!