I bought this book because I listened to In the Blood, and loved it. This book did not hold my attention. I've quit listening for hours hoping that a ..Show More »book will get better. If it doesn't grab me in the first couple of chapters, forget it!
I have always enjoyed Ms Unger's work, and when these early books she had written were released as audiobooks, I must admit I was nervous about trying..Show More » them. Luckly my worry was unfounded and although the plot of Darkness Gathers may have been a made bit overly complex with lots and lots of action surrounding it, altogether it was an excellent read with some good twists and turns to continually surprise and pique ones interest. Certainly worth a credit.
Like many other readers, I've greatly enjoyed Lisa Unger's newer books. I wasn't aware that this one was a very early effort, the third she'd written..Show More », originally published under her maiden name, Lisa Miscione. Would I have bought it, if I'd known? Probably, I wouldn't have known. Some early works by other writers have been just fine.
In her introduction, Ms. Unger tells us how she "met" her main character and couldn't get her out of her mind. The backstory is interesting enough, but I'd prefer the way Harlan Coben did it, in reintroducing his first book -- "Play Dead" -- republished many years after he'd become very successful. Coben averred as how parts of his first book make him squirm now, too, seeing his own immaturity, but still, there were good things about the book, and he was offering to his readers for what it was worth. (For the record, it's a great book.)
This one? Not so much. If you like Lisa Unger, you might want to skip it.
What's the problem? Just an immature writer, lots of high-handed preaching, too many lofty idealistic notions set into the plot, all of which gets tiresome after a while. One example: Part of the plot revolves around a community of homeless people who live in the tunnels and channels underneath New York City. The history of all those subsurface dwelling places -- and the people who live there -- is interesting, and has been explored in other books by other writers. Unger does fine in the history department. But as many young writers tend to do, she over-endows those homeless characters with way too much honor and virtue. Time and time again, we're informed that in THIS community -- underground -- "everyone gets a chance." Everyone will be left in peace, we're told, so long as they "obey the rules, don't hurt anyone and don't cause trouble."
So tell me: how exactly does that differ from the regular world upstairs?
If these homeless and disaffected (and many of them mentally ill) could have followed those three simple rules, wouldn't they now be living in a nice 3/2 bungalow with a picket fence in Poughkeepsie?
Bottom line: too much preaching, too much lavishing of praise on the virtues of the homeless and disaffected. It makes you wanna growl after a while.
The narrator has her own annoying habits -- that's about the worst Brooklyn accent I've ever heard. But not even a great narrator could have made this heaping dose of moral high-grounding go down pleasantly