Darkest Place(CD)(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
In this brooding if uneven thriller from Shamus-winner Judson (The Bone Orchard), residents of the Hamptons are shocked at the drowning deaths of several young men found in the icy winter waters of Long Island's Shinnecock Bay. The grieving parents of one victim, devout Catholics, hire local PI Reggie Clay to prove that their son's death wasn't suicide. Grief emerges as a persistent theme, as Judson explores the struggles of several downtrodden characters, notably Deacon Kane, a college professor and writer whose only son accidentally drowned a few years back. Kane seeks solace in the bottle and in an obsessive affair with a married woman. Kane eventually realizes someone is trying to frame him, but who? Is it Colette Auster, the young temptress sitting in on his writing classes, or perhaps the eccentric septuagenarian Professor Krause, whose parents were tortured and killed by the Gestapo? Judson does a terrific job of setting up a complex plot that's full of surprises, even if the pieces fit together a bit too conveniently in spots.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Deacon Kane has been in a downward spiral since the accidental drowning of his son several years ago. He's hitting the bottle, having an affair with a married woman, and barely hanging on to his job as a Long Island writing teacher. Then one of his students, Larry Foster, turns up dead, and the police consider him a "person of interest" because he can't account for some critical time periods. Meanwhile, PI Reggie Clay, trying to prove Foster's death wasn't a suicide and knowing that other teenage boys have died in a similar manner, enlists Kane's help in looking for a serial killer. When it becomes clear to Kane that he may have been set up, he doesn't know whom to trust, and Clay and his colleagues begin to believe Kane just might be the killer after all. Told from multiple points of view, populated with well-drawn moral and amoral characters, and permeated with violence, this riveting albeit bleak crime novel offers a strong sense of place along with thoughtful rumination about doing the right thing and finding redemption for past actions. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So the narrator was awesome - that is a given.
My first Daniel Judson book.
I mostly liked the book.
I was engaged from the beginning...and wanted to know what was going to happen next.
Even though the book was moved at a good pace, there were some areas that I considered to be slow and a little wordy.
Yes, sorry, that is my biggest complaint with books.
The book does take some concentration - there are several characters.
And they are introduced at different times, both with first and last names.
I almost had to take notes to keep them straight in the beginning...too much thinking for me!
I didn't love the ending.
I didn't feel like everything was tied into a nice bow.
I felt like there were a lot of unanswered issues.
All in all I would recommend it.
But don't expect everything to come full circle.
Meanwhile someone is running around abducting male students (18, 19 years of age) and somehow managing to drown them in a way that leaves forensics baffled. Could these deaths be accidental?
Possible Spoilers Ahead--Minor:
The police are beginning to believe that Dunk is behind them. Maybe he's gone right off the deep end. Maybe he's a serial killer with a sexual kink that forces him to re-play the tragedy of his son's drowning by casting older boys in his young son's role as victim. His frequent blackouts leave him without an alibi.
Daniel Judson embodies this mystery within a David Lynch atmosphere of conspiracy, cover-up, immoral doings, and a mysterious giant black man who seems to be watching out for Dunk--or is he trying to kill him? Judson is great at atmosphere, and Eastern Long Island has never been portrayed more creepily.
What I didn't like was the absurd plot, which depends on an extraordinary amount of coincidence. On the one hand there is a criminal mastermind with far too many helpers; on the other hand, there's a good bunch of people whose motivations are just as murky as the killers. I never cared once for Duncan Kane, and on top of everything else Judson really makes women look like monsters. That's his prerogative of course, and it does add to the noir-ish feel of his book, but by the end we all have a different idea of what he imagines the "darkest place" to actually be.
Finally, when the mask is torn off the face of the killer, and the reader can't remember who he is, you're in trouble.
Otherwise a grand read by one of the genre's best technicians.
The plot, which follows the investigation of a series of drowning murders in the bleak post-tourist winter of Long Island's Shinnecock Bay, is filled with enough twists and reversals to keep diehard mystery readers guessing. But it's the characters that make the book hypnotic; wounded, wanting, and set on a collision course, they are richly textured and completely believable. Judson's deep empathy makes their pain and desire and trembling hope personal, and you'll find they haunt you long after you close the book.
The result is a can't-put-it-down thriller reminiscent of the best in the genre, works like MYSTIC RIVER and CLOCKERS.
As its title portends, THE DARKEST PLACE is a journey into the unlit places of the soul, the sordid and unfilled locations to which sane people never so much as glance. Deacon Kane, a visiting lecturer of Humanities at Southampton College, is on a downward spiral due to the accidental drowning of his son and the subsequent breakup of his marriage. Kane is hell-bent on self-destruction, fueling his journey with alcohol while engaging in a pointless and potentially dangerous affair with a local artiste. It is all he can do to make it to his classroom, a task he fails to accomplish more often than not.
Kane's life is further complicated when he finds himself implicated in a series of drowning deaths involving young men in the community. The deaths appear at first to be accidental, occasioned by youthful indiscretion and drunkenness, or perhaps suicide. But when the third drowning involves one of Kane's students, the police begin investigating the lecturer himself, who slowly comes to the realization that he is being deliberately implicated in these deaths.
An enigmatic PI firm tries to help Kane even as it investigates him, but it is ultimately Kane's own penchant for attracting and being attracted to trouble that puts him on a collision course with mortal danger. All the while, Judson's narrative skills propel the reader ever forward while contemporaneously forcing a careful reading. One simply cannot guess what will happen next, and though the event may be heartbreaking, there is simply no way to proceed but toward it. For example, about two-thirds of the way through the book Judson describes an occurrence with excruciatingly painful yet compelling clarity --- so compelling in fact that I honestly believe that if I had been in a burning building while reading it, I would have not moved until I completed the four or so pages over which the event is described. I won't tell you what it is, but it takes place in a parking lot. You'll know it when you get there.
THE DARKEST PLACE is a classic work, oddly evocative of James Crumley's THE LAST GOOD KISS without resembling it in the slightest. Very highly recommended.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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