It’s a Mystery: Darkness, My Old Friend, by Lisa Unger

Darkness, My Old Friend: A NovelLeft alone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Hollows, a rural town not far from The Big Apple, is populated by people who have lived there for generations. It’s a quiet place, where the only danger comes from a patch of woods, where disused mine shafts and passages lie concealed under the ground. There’s generally little drama, and folks still talk, 20 years later, about the disappearance of Marla Holt, a beautiful young wife and mother. While that event comprises the focal point of Darkness, My Old Friend, it’s really a book about abandonment, which has played a crucial role in the lives of each of the major characters.

It isn’t easy to combine parent-child relationships, teen angst, marital discord, midlife issues, and a missing person mystery into a single coherent novel, but Lisa Unger has done just that. She makes little attempt to conceal what happened to Marla Holt, concentrating instead upon the lives that were affected when she vanished. The story is told from multiple points of view, at the point when Marla’s son returns to town hoping to find some answers. And it’s a compelling story, full of psychological insight, and there’s enough suspense to keep the pages turning.

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