Darkroom

Darkroom

by Joshua Graham

Paperback(Original)

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Overview

Darkroom by Joshua Graham

A thrilling suspense novel about a man’s dark past, his daughter’s mysterious visions, and a psychopath who wants to kill them both.

YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE . . .

After scattering her mother’s ashes in Vietnam, photojournalist Xandra Carrick comes home to New York to rebuild her life and career. When she experiences, in her darkroom, supernatural visions that reveal atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, she finds herself entangled in a forty-year-old conspiracy that could bring the nation into political turmoil.

Launching headlong into a quest to learn the truth from her father, Peter Carrick, a Pulitzer Prize laureate who served as an embedded photographer during the war, she confronts him about a dark secret he has kept—a secret that has devastated their family.

Her investigations lead her to her departed mother’s journal, which tells of love, spiritual awakening, and surviving the fall of Saigon.

Pursued across the continent, Xandra comes face-to-face with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to prevent her from revealing the truth. But not before government agencies arrest her for murder, domestic terrorism, and an assassination attempt on the newly elected president of the United States.

Darkroom is a riveting tale of suspense that tears the cover off the human struggle for truth in a world imprisoned by lies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451654691
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Joshua Graham earned his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, and a master's degree from Juilliard. He has performed as a soloist and principal cellist domestically and internationally. Today he lives with his wife and children in San Diego. Graham has served on the faculties of Columbia Union College, Western Maryland College, Shepherd College, and Brooklyn College.

Read an Excerpt

2

GRACE TH’AM AI LE

Thirty-Five Years Ago
Binh Son, Vietnam: January 7, 1973

I always knew the war would come to the South. Before the Communists sent the Vietcong back down the Ho Chi Minh trail, before the Spring Festival attacks during Têt Nguyên Ðán, I knew. I had seen it all in my dreams. I even foresaw my parents’ deaths, which left me and my brother orphans, forcing us to flee to the village of my aunt and uncle.

Some of the boys in Bình Son, on this side of the Mekong Delta, had expressed interest in joining the Vietcong, my brother included. Everyone else feared this would eventually draw a confrontation to our otherwise untouched hamlets.

And so it had.

The trip back from Saigon was only 120 kilometers, but it was like going from one world to another. At first glance, you would not imagine a war was taking place. Abundant green mountains, flowing waters of the Mekong, all resting under cotton clouds and sunlit skies.

Amongst the countless generations of farming families, I was the first girl, if not the first person, to leave and go to university. Now, upon my return, my entire life had changed.

At the bottom of the dusty road, where the foot of Bình Son touches the water, all that remained of the huts in the neighboring village were charred embers. Not a soul stirred. I could only hope that everyone had escaped.

Higher up, I looked to the hills where once I lived. Where Huynh Tho still lived. Perhaps, because it was hidden behind bamboo and palms, it had been spared. So quiet were the mountains. But for the whispering wind, nothing stirred. Not even a bird.

Off the road’s side, I walked under the shade of the trees. I had to find my brother and quietly bring him back to Saigon before it was too late.

Quietly. How do you take an angry young idealist who espouses the goals of the Vietcong away from his village quietly? The thought of an argument with Huynh Tho made me as anxious as did the war itself.

I stepped toward the path leading to our village. Each snap of a twig jolted me, as if it were a gunshot. But there was no one in sight. The utter quiet unsettled me.

Without warning, less than ten meters from the path, a terrifying explosion threw me to the ground. Through the ringing in my ears and the clouds of dust and smoke, I could tell. A battle had just erupted all around me.

“Huynh Tho!” Disembodied and hollow, my voice sounded as though I were underwater. Flashes of light, thumping explosions reverberating in my chest, the tat-tat-tat-tat of gunfire. Too frightened was I to lift my face from the dirt.

But that is what I had to do. For if I remained, I would surely die. And Huynh Tho, who was only sixteen, would be left alone with nowhere to go. Disregarding the fear that clutched my heart, I crawled to the most remote part of the woods.

This proved a terrible mistake.

In hopes of hiding behind the trunk of a tree, I got up to run. Someone began shouting. My English was not so good at the time, but the little I had learned at university sufficed.

“Get down!” cried the American, from somewhere I could not see. “Lady, get down!”

I spun around, seeking the direction from which the desperate voice called. In that instant, a whisking sound rushed toward me. A sharp twinge knocked me back, as if struck by a stone.

Then came the searing sensation below my collarbone, which I shall never forget. A spot of blood spread on my shirt. My head grew faint. My body became too heavy for my legs. Down I went.

The world around me blurred.

I began to shake.

So cold …

What People are Saying About This

Douglas Preston

Darkroom is a fascinating, fast-paced, beautifully written story of love and war, murder, terrorism, and a dark conspiracy. (Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Cold Vengeance and The Monster of Florence)

Steve Berry

Darkroom comes complete with a great mystery, unearthed secrets, and beguiling adventure. Joshua Graham mines an emotional landscape through an entourage of fascinating characters. Read this one—and take a walk on the perilous side. (Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Jefferson Key)

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Darkroom includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Joshua Graham. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. In Darkroom Peter Carrick withholds the truth in order to protect his family—a lie of omission. Do you think it’s ever moral or acceptable to lie? Why or why not?

2. Xandra Carrick is a strong individual but vulnerable when it comes to her relationship with her father. How much does your relationship with your father (or other paternal figure) affect your view of yourself?

3. Xandra’s visions bring her knowledge that put a burden of responsibility on her shoulders. Have you ever become privy to something that you struggled with, wondering whether you should turn a blind eye or bring it out into the open? How difficult was that decision?

4. Peter Carrick was not a religious person, yet he was married to Grace, a deeply spiritual woman from a different culture and ethnicity. How do you think their differences affected their marriage and life? Have you ever had to overcome such vast differences?

5. How were the following characters imprisoned by the lies and secrets they kept? Peter Carrick, Ian Mortimer, Richard Colson.

6. Have you ever kept a secret that ate away at you? How did it feel when you finally came clean with it, if you did so?

7. When Pastor Jake speaks to Xandra about faith and his views on life, he says: “Nothing just happens. Everything’s connected. By a divine plan. What we humans perceive as infinite possibilities of events doesn’t even come close to the infinite from God’s point of view.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

8. When Kyle explains why he never questioned Xandra’s ability to see visions, he cites Pascal’s Wager, which states: “Though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose.” What do you think of this?

9. Xandra actually pulled the trigger when pointing the gun at President-elect Colson. Was this from vengeance, self-protection, or to rid the world of an evil man who abused power? If you were in Xandra’s position, would you have done the same?

10. John Morgenstern, Xandra’s defense attorney, said, “I think we atheists have to have the strongest faith of all. Because if we’re wrong . . .” Do you think it takes faith to believe there is no God? Explain.

11. After testifying and confessing his own lies, Peter Carrick goes to prison where he says: “ ‘There’s no prison wall that can ever take the freedom I’ve gained.’ For the first time, I can look my daughter in the eye, unashamed.” Can you think of a time when a lie has imprisoned you? And a time that the truth set you free?

A Conversation with Joshua Graham

1. You mention in the acknowledgments of Darkroom that you began pursuing your passion for writing after losing your previous job of nine years. What kind of work were you involved in before? How does it affect what you write about today?

In the past I worked as a professional musician (I’m a cellist) and professor of music. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Juilliard and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. I performed internationally and in the United States as a cello soloist and as principal cellist of various professional orchestras and taught on several music faculties including Shepherd College, Western Maryland College, Columbia Union College, and Brooklyn College. My most recent prior line of work was information technology. When my entire department was outsourced in 2008, I found myself facing some very difficult decisions especially in the face of the economic downturn. But it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in many ways. I believe it was a God-ordained plan to use a bad situation to pave the way for me to become a full-time writer.

My past experiences help add some flavor (seasoning, if you will) to my books. Because I have so much of it in me, it is natural to incorporate classical music (Xandra Carrick is a cellist—coincidence?), computers, and my faith into the books I write. Write what you know, as the saying goes.

2. What role does your personal faith play in writing novels? What kind of messages are you trying to convey to readers?

I cannot begin to express how important a role my faith in Jesus Christ plays in my novel writing. Without reservation, I always tell people that all of my success has come through divine inspiration. I know that might sound cliché, but it’s completely true. Before Darkroom, my book Beyond Justice hit #1 on three different Barnes & Noble Bestseller lists and #3 on Amazon.com. It also won the 2011 International Book Award. But that book came as a result of deep soul searching and prayer. The message I am trying to convey in all of my books is not one that preaches and/or tells a reader what to think or believe. I want to show my readers a side of Christianity that is rarely portrayed in the media and to present controversial issues with fairness. To that end, I don’t portray nonbelievers in a bad light, nor do I portray believers as perfect. And as for the questions about God and faith, I present both sides as unbiased as I can and let the reader draw their own conclusions. I am grateful that, based on all the positive feedback for Beyond Justice, many readers who are not “religious” appreciated my approach and were given a chance to glimpse this faith in a way they might not otherwise have done. As for the message, it varies from book to book and I try to write what I feel God has given me to write. That’s not as lofty as it sounds. After all, we all have divine purposes and assignments (according to Ephesians 2:10) and it is God’s plan that we should walk in those callings.

3. How did you develop Xandra’s character?

It was just a few months after my mother-in-law had passed away. I began to ask my wife (an avid reader) what she felt made a great novel. We started brainstorming about Xandra and to make a long story short, I borrowed many ideas and character traits, and angst, from my wife. Some of them were her suggestions; others just grew as I wrote. I wanted to write Xandra as a real person with whom everyone can identify. She’s smart, she’s capable, but she knows she’s flawed. She has identity issues that are very common with women that resonate well, so I’m told.

4. What did you enjoy most about the writing of Darkroom?

The research was one of the highlights. I learned a lot writing this book, not just the historical facts, but the spirit of the time/place. Much of my research came from the firsthand accounts of Vietnam War photojournalists and correspondents.

I also enjoyed weaving in the twists and turns, as well as the character interactions. My favorites are the tension between Xandra and Kyle. But I also loved it when Peter Carrick confronted Mark Collinsworth.

5. How and why did you choose not to include Jake as one of the narrators in Darkroom?

None of the scenes featured him as the person with the most at stake. That is how I decide in whose point of view I will write a scene; the one to whom the most significant things happen.

6. It’s very interesting that Colson took his own life—an act that feels more complex than just an “easy way out.” What were you trying to illustrate with his choice to commit suicide?

Ah, yes. Definitely not an easy way out. Colson firmly believed that what he did was right. To the very end he kept that “You can’t handle the truth!” attitude (to borrow from the Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson movie, A Few Good Men), even as he lost everything. But deep down, I see Colson as analogous to Lucifer. He deluded himself to believe that he has the right to take Machiavellian actions, that he is above the law because of his power. But at the heart of his actions and attitudes is the sin God hates most (according to Scriptures): pride.

So to the very end, unrepentant, Colson shakes an angry fist at eternity, at God even. He will not let anyone punish him for his crimes. He would rather take his own life than allow anyone to bring him to “justice.”

7. Colson is clearly an advocate of “the end justifies the means,” but this is clearly a flawed philosophy. Did you intend for this story to serve as an allusion to current governmental practices? What can readers take away from Colson’s demise?

I had no designs on drawing an allegory to our current government. Regardless of my agreement or disagreement with my authorities, I honor and respect them. The Scriptures say that all authority is given by God. Colson’s practices are fictional, and while similar actions may have occurred in our world, I was not drawing any known parallels. That said, I’ve always been a conspiracy theorist when it comes to writing fiction, be it a national cover-up, or a murder mystery.

Colson’s demise will hopefully resonate with those most difficult parts of our human nature: pride and self-righteousness. Pride masks fear, but manifests itself in many ways, from outright rebellion or arrogance to passive-aggressiveness. But as humans, we all have to deal with it. We all have a little bit of Colson in us, though we don’t want to admit it. Colson dealt with it by using all his resources, drive, and passion to do things his way, unrepentant to the bitter end. My hope is that as I recognize my own pride and self-righteousness, I will turn from it, repent, and be set free like Peter Carrick at the end of this book.

8. How did you imagine the process through which Xandra has visions? Have you ever known anyone who experiences similar visions the way Xandra does?

When I was a teenager, my older brother studied photography. Someone gave him all the equipment needed to set up a darkroom at home and I developed many photos with my brother. It always gave me the chills as the ghostly images came up under the developing solution. So when I imagined Xandra’s capabilities, these experiences were very prominent in my memory.

I have known several people who have experienced visions, though not exactly as Xandra did. But these visions were ones which told of the future (a spiritual gift called “Word of Wisdom”) as well as visions of past/present things (“Word of Knowledge”) which the person experiencing the vision could have no way of knowing outside of the vision. One thing they have had in common was that they benefit, edify, and encourage those whom the visions were about. While some consider such things esoteric and “supernatural,” for those who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, they are quite common and familiar, though life-altering.

9. How does Darkroom compare to Beyond Justice?

I wrote Darkroom shortly after I completed Beyond Justice. There are similarities, such as the supernatural visions, the Christian undertones, and the legal drama, but Darkroom’s stakes are global, whereas the stakes in Beyond Justice are deeply personal. Darkroom takes on multiple time lines and delves into a moment in history, whereas Beyond Justice is a huge journey of faith and redemption. While both books incorporate multiple points of view, Darkroom’s main protagonist is female, while Beyond Justice’s is male. Neither books are heavily gender-weighted in content, and there’s plenty of action and suspense, as well as some romance intertwined in both books.

10. Xandra Carrick’s character had a wide-open ending. Are you considering including her in an upcoming story? Are you currently working or planning on another novel?

This book was meant to be the first in a long series of Xandra Carrick books. I plan to write more Xandra Carrick books and stories in the near future.

11. If you weren’t writing, what else would you be doing? What else are you passionate about?

It’s amazing how much time this writer spends on things other than writing. I love spending time with my family, traveling, and going to activities. I am passionate about my church, The City Church, and the small group that I and my wife lead (the members of which are mentioned in the acknowledgments).

I also enjoy playing the cello, reading, watching movies, dining, and playing Texas Hold ’em with my good friends. I am so blessed with friends and loved ones. Truly, my cup runneth over.

Customer Reviews

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Darkroom 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
RhodesReview More than 1 year ago
Xandra Carrick is a photographer following in the footsteps of her father. Peter Carrick is a Nobel Prize winning photo-journalist. His prize came for his photo essay on a massacre in a Vietnamese village during the war. The camera he’s used has been passed down to his daughter Xandra. It is this camera that is at the source of this surreal journey. It begins on a trip back to Vietnam that Xandra and her father take. The trip was to honor her late mother’s wishes and to release her ashes there. But strange things begin to happen when Xandra develops the film. What are those things? You’ll have to read Darkroom find out. The story is a thriller and a vivid retelling of historic events. Each chapter is seen in first person point of view. Mr. Graham alternates between characters from Grace, to Ian, to Xandra. Grace’s story is achieved through her diary entries. These diary entries really bring the Vietnam War to life in alarming detail. In Particular, Mr. Graham covers the fall of Saigon in a very realistic manner. I’d seen the videos of it happening, and he captured it very well in the pages of this story. If you like Thrillers, or the odd story you’d see on Twilight Zone, then grab this book when it’s released. You’ll enjoy every minute of it. Kudos to Mr. Graham on another job well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LHedgpeth More than 1 year ago
Last year I was fortunate enough to read and review author Joshua Graham’s extraordinary freshman effort, Beyond Justice, which proved to be one of my favorite books of the year. I was impressed with his ability to take what could have been a stock storyline and mix things up, to make me really feel and connect with his characters. My literary luck continues this year as Mr. Graham’s follow up work, Darkroom, demonstrates that Beyond Justice was not a one-hit wonder and Joshua Graham is an author to watch out for. Darkroom is just as good as Beyond Justice, although in a very different vein. Rather than being told from the viewpoint of one central character, Darkroom introduces us to a handful of characters, all of whom will eventually come together for a heart pounding and thrilling conclusion. It is a slick and nuanced ensemble tale of a conspiracy that goes back decades. As the mystery unravels, it threatens to impact and/or destroy the lives of all the characters that Mr. Graham so deftly weaves throughout this tale. Writing a novel with a large cast of characters, a handful of whom are narrating the tale, is never an easy task but he seems to effortlessly intertwine their stories. I found heroine Xandra to be a strong, relevant character that I could relate to, and one that was, at times, painfully human and vulnerable. Her strength, along with portions of her grief, simply radiate from the pages. She will touch any reader who has lost a parent, or who is struggling to find a connection with a family member. I particularly liked how savvy and resourceful she was - - no shrinking violet here. I also found several of the supporting characters to be particularly praiseworthy and enjoyable. Even those characters that weren’t the nicest of the bunch were so well developed and interesting that I couldn’t wait to get back to them. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a weak character or plotline in the bunch, quite a feat when you’re dealing with an array of vastly different characters with very unique voices. As with Beyond Justice, a dash of the paranormal is thrown into the mix along with questions and uncertainty of faith. I hesitate to call Darkroom a work of Christian fiction, as I think the book is more than just a work on Christian beliefs and demonstrates the resiliency of the human spirit and most importantly, hope. As a reader who enjoys the paranormal/supernatural genre, I enjoyed those paranormal aspects of the book, as well as Mr. Graham choosing not to put forth a cut and dried explanation for all the events. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate Mr. Graham’s use of actual events to build and base his work, as he describes the realities and horrors of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. I knew only the basic facts of Vietnam prior to picking up this book and was shocked by some of the fictional recounting I read, knowing that Mr. Graham did use history as a basis. Fans of conspiracy theories will not be disappointed or find this book lacking in the least. At its core, Darkroom is a twisted tale of conspiracies and proves to be powerful and rewarding to the reader who likes their books with action, intrigue and secrecy. Mr. Graham’s writing is tight and seamless and he proves, once again, that he’s a gifted author with wonderful storytelling abilities. He has kept the chapters relatively short and by telling his tale with a handful of diverse voices, all done extremely well, Darkroom moves at a frantic and suspenseful pace. As he did with Beyond Justice, Mr. Graham immediately grabs hold of the reader with the tenacity of a pit bull and will not let go until you have read every last page and emerge exhausted and happily satiated from this astonishing ride. You will be so invested in these characters, so riveted by the story and events, that your life will be hijacked by Mr. Graham’s plot. Besides the superb plot, excellent writing and well fleshed out characters, Darkroom really excels in the plethora of twists and turns thrown at the reader. Don’t expect to know where Mr. Graham is going to take you on this journey because you are guaranteed to be thrown a curveball. Several times throughout the reading of this book I gasped out loud and uttered cries of “Oh no!” and “I can’t believe it!” For a book aficionado, especially a hardcore reader like myself who has likely read it all, this is absolute literary nirvana. I would not hesitate to recommend Darkroom without reservation to any book lover. You won’t be disappointed and you will find yourself anxiously awaiting Joshua Graham’s next foray into the literary world. Very well done, Mr. Graham. ©Psychotic State Book Reviews, 2012
SADDI1 More than 1 year ago
VERY FAST READ. HOLDS YOUR INTERST AND KEEPS YOU GUESSING. REALLY ENJOY THIS AUTHOR.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down and hated for the end to come!
Celticlady1953 More than 1 year ago
To me, Darkroom, is a very poignant and emotional read. I really felt for Xandra Carrick, not only for her loss of her mother but also her secretive father. Darkroom is told in two different times, the present and during the Vietnam war. After going with her father Peter, to Vietnam, to scatter her mothers ashes. She had taken some pictures and when she got back home as she was developing these photos, she sees images that are disturbing to her. What she sees in these photo's takes her to a park in New York where she saw the body of a young woman floating in the water, dead. She soon finds herself arrested for the murder of the young woman because she knows things that only the murderer would know. Xandra is released on bail and flees to investigate why these things are happening to her. A Senator, running as an independent for president, is one of the men Xandra finds herself investigating. He had condoned the massacre that happened in Vietnam but does all he can to keep his involvement from coming out. What ensues is a story taken from the news at the time, an exciting, suspenseful thriller that had me eagerly turning the pages until the surprising ending. Political intrigue, atrocities of war and a bit of the supernatural makes Darkroom a very engrossing story. I highly recommend it. I intend to find more works by Joshua Graham to add to my increasing library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down.Looks like found a new series .
KBP More than 1 year ago
Edge of your seat excitement!!!!! I read this thriller in one sitting. This cross between historical fiction and supernatural thriller moves at a breakneck pace and will leave you breathless more than once. Other reviews have recapped the plot, so there is no reason to do it here. Suffice it to say that Darkroom should be your very next read. Do yourself a big favor - read this novel, and then check out other excellent works by Joshua Graham. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Humbee More than 1 year ago
Dark, deceptive, political intrigue and ghostly images...all this and more await the eager reader who loves a thriller and a mystery in "Darkroom." I lived through the Viet Nam War era, but don't recall having read a single suspense novel that has its focus around the Vietnam cross-culture that made its way to the US. This book is unique in many ways. It has a bit of everything to recommend it: love, mystery, conspiracy, family connections to ancient times and places, politics, terrorism and murder; not to mention the Viet Nam War and the vets that brought home not only images, but other baggage, and loved ones. A must read, this book is fast moving, intriguing and beautifully written to tantalize! Joshua Graham is a fantastic writer who knows when to dangle the carrot and when to pull it back. I loved the whole reading process! His characters are rich in detail, lovable, sad, frightening and strangely familiar. I was literally up all night reading "Darkroom" having such a good time in the process. I couldn't put it down... If you've ever been placed in the moral dilemma of wondering whether you should tell the truth and risk it all, you'll love this book. If you've ever wondered if there are conspiracies and cover ups in political arenas we aren't privy to, you'll love this book... I have to give it a solid... 5 stars!!
readaholic-nana More than 1 year ago
Darkroom is a very unique take on events from the Vietnam War and the impact decisions made have on the life of a photojournalist and his family. Darkroom is set in modern time but there are unique flashback that tell the story that occurred in Vietnam. Xandra is the main character who is following in her father footsteps of photojournalism. Darkroom is a story of love, loss and the ever need presence of faith in our lives. It is an extremely moving and haunting story. Darkroom was hard to put down and when not reading I was thinking about it. Few books succeed in consuming me in that way. Darkroom is by far the best written by Joshua Graham. Joshua has a fantastic way of telling a story that make you feel as if you are part of it. Darkroom by Joshua Graham is on its way to becoming a bestseller.
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
Another amazing book by Joshua! Once I started reading, I could not put it down.
smittenword More than 1 year ago
Her mother’s recent death, her father’s continuing estrangement, frightening visions associated with any photos she takes with her dad’s camera - photographer Xandra Carrick has a lot to deal with. On top of that, she’s wanted by the FBI for a murder she did not commit, while nefarious forces want her dead. Having recently arrived back from a trip to her mother’s birthplace, Vietnam, Xandra is troubled by her father’s reticence. And to make her life even more complicated, after taking several photos during her trip, she discovers images in her pictures that she did not see with her natural eyes. She’s having visions of a supernatural nature – visions that will blow the lid off a major conspiracy – if she lives long enough to have anyone believe her. Arrested for the murder of a local Julliard student, Xandra flees New York and heads to see her father in California, seeking answers to her visions concerning Vietnam. FBI agent Kyle Matthews teams up with her to find some answers of his own. Darkroom, by Joshua Graham, is a political thriller with a spiritual undercurrent, driven mostly by Xandra’s mother, Grace, a Vietnamese immigrant who married Xandra’s father, Peter Carrick, after a harrowing escape from Saigon when the US troops pulled out. We hear her voice through several journal entries - beginning when she first met Peter, a photojournalist embedded with a platoon in Vietnam; through the birth of Xandra, until her death. Her voice brought a depth to the story that certainly tied the themes of purpose, God-given gifts, and the freeing power of truth, together. Darkroom rips along rapidly, jumping from multiple points of view, from Xandra, her father, her mother, a presidential candidate, an FBI agent, and a hit man. And because of this, Darkroom’s pace is set at a very high shutter speed, swiftly shifting character Point of Views from chapter to chapter. Initially, I found this somewhat of an ADHD style – jumping from POV to POV in only a couple pages. Soon, however, I settled into Graham’s rapid rhythm, which kept me interested in what was going to develop next. Graham’s intricate weaving of truth and deceit keeps the pages turning, and with a wide-open ending hinting at the return of feisty and insightful heroine, Xandra Carrick, Darkroom is a novel you won’t regret being exposed to.
MollyzReviewz More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Joshua Graham fan. I fell in love with his mind blowing work when I read his novel, Beyond Justice. He draws his readers into the heart of the story instantly and grips their hearts so strongly, you can't help but turn page after page and read late into the night. Darkroom is a thousand times better than Beyond Justice was, and Beyond Justice was fantastic! Darkroom takes you to the life of a young woman, working as a photojournalist who experiences paranormal visions. Desperate to find out the truth behind the visions, she confronts her father about them. What she finds out is so much more than she bargained for. Tangled in a web of secrets and conspiracies, Xandra's story becomes life. Her story unfolds before the reader as she uncovers the truths behind the happenings in Vietnam. But, one this is for sure, someone doesn't want her to reveal that truth, and sets out to stop her efforts. I don't want to give too much away. This is just too good of a book to reveal anything more. I want you to grab a copy of this book now, sit down, and get lost in the pages. They won't be light reading. After all, what conspiracy is ever light? But, you'll get sucked into the vortex of the story and where you'll end up.....well, lets just say that the ending is powerful and leaves you hungry for more!!! I definitely recommend this. It's so beyond 5000 stars worthy. The intensity and heart pounding thrills you'll feel as you read each page, each characters piece of the story will leave you breathless. Blending history with current events, Mr. Graham is a talented author who can wrap the reader in a cocoon of emotions from bitterness to redemption and leave the reader feeling as if they were the story, as if they were ones plotted against. A fantastic job, Mr. Graham! I can't wait for the next story! ~~~~~Molly Edwards, Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours ~~~~~Reviews By Molly
SilversReviews More than 1 year ago
If you love narrow escapes, deep secrets, on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, and murders, you will love this thriller. Dark Room begins with a scene during the Viet Nam war with Grace, a Vietnamese girl, being shot and Peter Carrick, a photo journalist, rescuing her. It then flashes forward to Peter and Xandra, Grace and Peter's daughter, spreading Grace's ashes in her childhood neighborhood in Viet Nam. The book then moves to present day in California and New York with Peter and Xandra, and the chilling ride begins. There are flashbacks to Viet Nam throughout the book, and these flashbacks play a major part in the story. As the book continues, Xandra questions....can this really be happening? How could developing pictures in a dark room and seeing visions as the pictures are being developed lead to clues in a murder investigation and subsequently her arrest for a murder she didn't commit and one that was contrived to cover up a crime from 30 years ago. The scenes are intense and very descriptive, and they will keep you turning the pages. You will learn about Viet Nam, political campaigns, political conspiracy, political deception, and lies that go unexposed, but you will mainly share the fears of Xandra as she experiences her visions, her struggle with trying to find out her father's secret from his past, and the horrors of being accused of numerous crimes and murders she didn't commit. You will also escape with Kyle and Xandra and be a part of their solving the mystery of why everyone in Echo Company during the Vietnam Nam war is either dying an unexplained death or being murdered. The book is action-packed until the last page. Graham is a commanding writer that will keep any lover of thrillers entertained with his non-stop action and unbelievable revelations of things that could easily happen. As you near the end, you realize there are very powerful messages being sent out to the reader. Dark Room can't be labeled anything but an excellent read. 5/5 I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ftbs