Forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore sheds light on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others fail to see. Cleaning out her late father’s law office after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case . . .
In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing. The predator, nicknamed The Thief, left no bodies or clues behind—until police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigations appeared to unmask the killer. Then Angela disappeared without a trace. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder. But the cryptic file Rory finds in her father’s law office suggests there is more to the case.
Making one startling discovery after another, Rory becomes helplessly entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell and what happened to her. As she continues to dig, even Rory can’t be prepared for the full, terrifying truth that is emerging . . .
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Readers can find him online at charliedonlea.com.
Read an Excerpt
Chicago, September 30, 2019
The chest pains had started the year before.
There was never a question about their source. They were stress-induced, and the doctors promised they would never kill him. Tonight's episode was particularly distressing, though, waking him from sleep with a cool chill of night sweats. He tried to suck for air, but it was like breathing through a cocktail straw. The harder he worked to inhale, the more distraught he became. He sat up in bed and fought the fear of suffocation. History told him the episode would pass. He reached for the bottle of aspirin he kept in the nightstand drawer and placed one, along with a nitroglycerine tablet, under his tongue. After ten minutes, the muscles of his chest relaxed and his lungs were able to expand.
It was no coincidence that this most recent bout of angina coincided with the arrival of the parole board letter, which sat on his nightstand. He had spent time reading the letter before he fell to sleep. Accompanying the letter was the judge's summons for a meeting. He grabbed the document now as he climbed from bed, his sweat-soaked shirt cold against his skin as he walked down the stairs and headed to his office. He twisted the combination lock on the safe under his desk and pulled open the door. Inside was a stack of old parole board letters, to which he added the latest.
The first parole hearing correspondence had arrived a decade before. Twice a year, the board met with his client, denying him his freedom and explaining their decision in a properly worded essay that would stand up against appeals and protests. But last year, a different document arrived. It was a lengthy review by the board chairperson, who described in rich detail how impressed the board was with his client's progress over the years, and how his client was the very definition of "rehabilitation." It was after reading the final sentence of that letter, which indicated the parole board's enthusiasm for their next review and the suggestion that great opportunities lay ahead for his client, when the chest pains had begun.
This latest correspondence marked the arrival of a slow-moving train that carried as its freight pain and misery, secrets and lies. That proverbial train had always been just a speck on the horizon, never making progress. But now it was a full barreling freighter growing larger by the day, impossible to stop, despite his many efforts. Sitting behind his desk, he stared at the middle shelf of the safe. A file folder was stuffed fat with pages from his investigation. An exploration that, during times of sorrow and angst like tonight, he wished he'd never embarked upon. The ramifications of his findings, however, were so profound and life-altering that he knew he would be empty had he not. And the idea that his own lies and deceptions might soon crawl from the shadows under which they had rested for years was enough to cause his heart to, literally, ache.
He wiped the layer of perspiration from his forehead and worked hard to fill his lungs with breath. His biggest fear was that his client would soon be free to continue the search. The investigation, which had been declared fruitless, would enjoy a resurgence once his client walked from prison. This, he knew, could not happen. Everything in his power must be done to prevent it.
Alone in his study, he felt a new chill come upon his body as his saturated shirt pressed to his shoulders. He closed the safe and spun the dial. The chest pains returned, his lungs tightened, and he leaned back in his chair to fight again the panic of suffocation. It would pass. It always did.CHAPTER 2
Chicago, October 1, 2019
Rory Moore inserted her contact lenses, rolled her eyes, and blinked to bring the world into focus. She despised the vision her Coke-bottle glasses offered — a bowed and distorted world when compared to the crispness of her contacts — but she loved the shelter her thick-rimmed frames provided. So, a compromise. After her contact lenses settled, she slipped nonprescription glasses onto her face and hid behind the plastic casings like a warrior ducking behind a shield. To Rory, each day was a battle.
They agreed to meet at the Harold Washington Library Center on State Street, and thirty minutes after Rory had dressed in her protective armor — thick-framed glasses, beanie hat pulled low, coat buttoned to her chin with the collar up — she climbed from her car and walked into the library. Initial meetings with clients always took place in public locations. Of course, most collectors had trouble with this arrangement because it meant hauling their precious trophies out into the daylight. But if they wanted Rory Moore and her restoration skills, they'd follow her rules.
Today's meeting called for more attention than normal, since it had been arranged as a favor for Detective Ron Davidson, who was not only a trusted friend but also her boss. Since this was her side job, or what others annoyingly called her "hobby," some part of her was honored that Davidson had reached out. Not everyone understood the complicated personality of Rory Moore, but over the years, Ron Davidson had broken through to win her admiration. When he asked for a favor, Rory never gave it a second thought.
As she walked through the library doors, Rory immediately recognized the Kestner doll that was housed in a long, thin box and resting in the arms of the man waiting in the lobby. The blink of an eye and a quick glance at the gentleman holding the box was all it took for Rory to run through her appraisal of him, her thoughts flashing like lightning through her mind: midfifties, wealthy, a professional of some sort — business, medicine, or law — cleanly shaven, polished shoes, sport coat, no tie. She quickly backtracked and rejected the initial thought of a doctor or lawyer. He was a small-business owner. Insurance or similar.
She took a deep breath, arranged her glasses squarely on her face, and walked up to him.
"Yes," the man said. "Rory?"
The man, a full twelve inches taller than Rory's five-two stature, looked down on her petite frame and waited for confirmation. Rory offered none.
"Let's see what you've got," she said, pointing at the porcelain doll that was carefully packaged in the box, before walking into the main section of the library.
Mr. Byrd followed her to a table in the corner. The library was only scantly populated in the middle of the afternoon. Rory patted the table and Mr. Byrd laid the box down.
"What's the issue?" Rory asked.
"This is my daughter's Kestner doll. It was a gift for her fifth birthday, and has been kept in pristine condition."
Rory leaned over the table to get a better look at the doll through the plastic window in the box. The porcelain face was badly split down the middle, the crack starting somewhere beyond the doll's hairline, running through the left eye socket and down the cheek.
"I dropped it," Mr. Byrd said. "I'm beside myself that I was so careless."
Rory nodded. "Let me have a look?"
He pushed the box toward her and Rory carefully unlocked the latch and lifted the lid. She inspected the damaged doll like a surgeon's initial assessment of an anesthetized patient lying on the operating table.
"Cracked or shattered?" she asked.
Mr. Byrd reached into his pocket and produced a ziplock bag that contained small pieces of porcelain. Rory noticed his thyroid cartilage rise and fall as he swallowed hard to control his emotions.
"These were everything I could find. I dropped it on hardwood, so I think I located all the pieces."
Rory took the bag and analyzed the shards. She went back to the doll and gently ran her fingers over the fractured porcelain. The split was well opposed and should come together nicely. The restoration of the cheek and forehead could be made to look flawless. The eye socket was another issue. It would take all her skill to restore, and she'd likely need help from the one person who was better than Rory at restoring dolls. The shattered portion, Rory was sure, would be found on the back of the head. The repair there, too, would be challenging due to the hair and the small bits of porcelain she held in the ziplock bag. She didn't want to remove the doll from the box until she was in her workshop for fear that more porcelain might fall from the shattered area.
She nodded slowly, keeping her gaze on the doll.
"I can fix this."
"Thank God," Mr. Byrd said.
"Two weeks. A month, maybe."
"As long as it takes."
"I'll let you know the pricing after I get started."
"I don't care what it costs. As long as you can fix it."
Rory nodded again. She placed the ziplock bag containing the shattered pieces into the box, closed the lid, and relatched the lock.
"I'll need a phone number where I can reach you," she said.
Mr. Byrd fished a business card from his wallet and handed it to her. Rory glanced at it before sticking it into her pocket: BYRD INSURANCE GROUP. WALTER BYRD, OWNER.
Rory attempted to lift the box and leave when Mr. Byrd put his hand on hers. A stranger's touch had never been well tolerated, and Rory was about to recoil when he spoke.
"The doll belonged to my daughter," he said in a soft voice.
The past tense caught Rory's attention. It was meant to. Rory looked at the man's hand on her own, and then met his eyes.
"She died last year," Mr. Byrd said.
Rory slowly sat down. A normal response might have been I'm sorry for your loss. Or, I see why this doll means so much to you. But Rory Moore was anything but normal.
"What happened to her?" Rory asked.
"She was killed," Mr. Byrd said, taking his hand off Rory's and sitting down across from her. "Strangled, they think. Her body was left in Grant Park last January, half-frozen by the time she was found."
Rory looked back at the Kestner doll resting in the box, the right eye shut peacefully, the left eye open and askew with a deep fissure running through the orbit. She understood what was happening, and knew why Detective Davidson had been so adamant that she take this meeting. It was a classic bait and switch that Davidson knew Rory would be helpless to resist.
"They never found him?" Rory asked.
Mr. Byrd shook his head, dropping his gaze to his dead daughter's doll. "Never had so much as a lead. None of the detectives return my calls anymore. It feels like they've simply moved on."
Rory's presence in the library that morning proved Mr. Byrd's statement false, since it was Ron Davidson who had convinced her to come.
Mr. Byrd brought his gaze back to her.
"Listen, this is not a setup. I reached for Camille's doll the other day because I was badly missing my daughter and needed to hold something that reminded me of her. I dropped the goddamn thing and shattered it. I couldn't bring myself to tell my wife because I feel so guilty, and I know it would send her into a fit of depression. This doll was my daughter's favorite possession through her childhood. So please believe me that I want you to restore it. But Detective Davidson told me that your work as a forensic reconstructionist is heralded in the City of Chicago, and beyond. I'm prepared to pay you anything it takes for you to reconstruct the crime and find the man who wrapped his hands around my daughter's neck and choked the life from her."
Mr. Byrd's stare became too much for Rory to handle, penetrating the protective shield of her nonprescription glasses. She finally stood, lifted the Kestner doll box off the table, and secured it under her arm.
"The doll will take a month. Your daughter, much longer. Let me make some calls and I'll be in touch."
Rory walked out of the library and into the fall morning. She felt it as soon as Camille Byrd's father had used the past tense to describe his daughter, that subtle tingling in her mind. That nearly imperceptible, but now ever-present, whisper in her ears. A murmur her boss knew goddamn well she wouldn't be able to ignore.
"You're a real son of a bitch, Ron," Rory said as she exited the library. She had been on hiatus from her job as a forensic reconstructionist, a scheduled break she forced herself to take every so often to avoid burnout and depression. This most recent pause had been longer than any of her others, and was starting to piss off her boss.
As she walked along State Street and back to her car, with Camille Byrd's shattered doll under her arm, Rory knew the vacation was over.CHAPTER 3
Chicago, October 2, 2019
Her phone buzzed for the fifth time that morning, which she again ignored. Rory stared at her reflection in the mirror as she pulled her dark brown hair back and tied it off. She was not a morning person and on principle did not answer her phone before noon. Her boss knew this, so Rory felt no remorse for ignoring him.
"Who is incessantly calling you?" a voice asked from the bedroom.
"I'm meeting Davidson."
"I didn't know you decided to go back to work," the man said.
Rory walked from the bathroom and slipped her watch onto her wrist. "Am I going to see you tonight?" she asked.
"Okay, we won't talk about it."
Rory came over and kissed him on the mouth. Lane Phillips had been her, what? Rory wasn't traditional enough to label him a "boyfriend," and this far into her thirties, she thought the description sounded juvenile. She'd never considered marrying him, despite that they'd slept together for the better part of the last decade. But he was much more than her lover. He was the only man on this planet, aside from her father, who understood her. Lane was ... hers, that was the best Rory could do in her own mind, and they were both okay with that.
"I'll tell you about it when I have something to tell. Right now, I don't know what I'm getting myself into."
"Fair enough," Lane said, sitting up in bed. "I've been asked to appear as an expert witness on a homicide trial. I'll be testifying in a couple of weeks, so I'm meeting with the DA today. Then I'm teaching until nine tonight."
When Rory tried to back away, he grabbed her hips.
"Are you sure you won't give me any clues about what Davidson lured you back with?"
"Stop by tonight after your class and I'll catch you up."
Rory gave him another kiss, batted away his roaming hands, and walked out of the bedroom. A minute later, the front door opened and closed.
* * *
Her phone rang two more times as she sat in morning traffic on the Kennedy Expressway. She exited on Ohio Street and snaked through the grid-pattern streets of Chicago. She pushed through the congestion until she reached Grant Park, circled the side streets for fifteen minutes until she found a parking spot too small for even her tiny Honda. Somehow she managed a brave parallel parking maneuver, unsure if she'd be able to escape the twisting and turning and bumper kissing when it was time to leave.
She walked through the tunnel that cut under Lake Shore Drive and along the picturesque path until she came to the cusp of the park. Grant Park was a magnificent piece of real estate that separated the high-rise buildings of The Loop from the lakefront. The park was always a popular destination with tourists, and this morning was no exception. Rory walked through the crowds until she spotted Ron Davidson sitting on a bench near Buckingham Fountain.
Despite that her coat was already buttoned to her neck, she pulled it tight, lifted her collar, and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. It was a mild October morning and others around her wore shorts and sweatshirts, enjoying the lake breeze and bright sunshine. Rory was dressed for a brisk fall day: gray coat secured top to bottom, collar up, gray jeans, and lace-up Madden Girl Eloisee combat boots, which she wore everywhere, including during the dog days of summer. As Rory approached the detective, she pulled her slouchy fleece beanie down on her forehead. The edge of the hat touched the top of her glasses. She felt protected.
Without introduction, she sat down next to him.
"Well, Christ be the king, it's the lady in gray," Davidson said.
The two had worked enough cases together for Davidson to know all of Rory's quirks. She shook hands with no one, something Davidson had learned after a few attempts where his hand floated in the air while Rory averted her eyes. She hated meeting with department personnel other than Ron, and she had little tolerance for red tape. She had never accepted a deadline on a job, and worked strictly solo on her cases. She returned calls at her leisure, and sometimes not at all. She hated politics, and if anyone — from an alderman to the mayor — tried to pull Rory into the spotlight, she disappeared for weeks. If her skills as a forensic reconstructionist weren't so outstanding, Ron Davidson would never tolerate the headaches she caused.
"You've been off the grid, Gray."
Rory allowed the corners of her mouth to curl slightly while she stared at Buckingham Fountain. No one but Davidson called her "Gray," and over the years Rory had warmed to the nickname — a combination of her attire and her detached outward persona.
"Busy with life."
"Is he a better boss than me?"
"He's not my boss."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Some Choose Darkness"
Copyright © 2019 Charlie Donlea.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
THE RUSH - Chicago, August 9, 1979,
THE AFTERMATH - Chicago, August 9, 1979,
THE SWEET SCENT OF ROSES,
PART I - THE THIEF,
CHAPTER 1 - Chicago, September 30, 2019,
CHAPTER 2 - Chicago, October 1, 2019,
CHAPTER 3 - Chicago, October 2, 2019,
CHAPTER 4 - Chicago, October 14, 2019,
CHAPTER 5 - Stateville Correctional Center, October 15, 2019,
CHAPTER 6 - Chicago, October 16, 2019,
CHAPTER 7 - Chicago, October 16, 2019,
CHAPTER 8 - Chicago, October 16, 2019,
CHAPTER 9 - Stateville Correctional Center, October 17, 2019,
CHAPTER 10 - Chicago, October 21, 2019,
CHAPTER 11 - Chicago, October 22, 2019,
CHAPTER 12 - Chicago, October 22, 2019,
CHAPTER 13 - Chicago, October 23, 2019,
CHAPTER 14 - Chicago, October 24, 2019,
CHAPTER 15 - Chicago, October 25, 2019,
CHAPTER 16 - Chicago, October 25, 2019,
CHAPTER 17 - Chicago, October 26, 2019,
CHAPTER 18 - Chicago, October 26, 2019,
CHAPTER 19 - Chicago, October 27, 2019,
CHAPTER 20 - Chicago, October 27, 2019,
PART II - THE RECONSTRUCTION,
CHAPTER 21 - Chicago, October 28, 2019,
CHAPTER 22 - Chicago, October 29, 2019,
CHAPTER 23 - Chicago, October 29, 2019,
CHAPTER 24 - Chicago, October 30, 2019,
CHAPTER 25 - Chicago, October 30, 2019,
PART III - THE FARMHOUSE,
CHAPTER 26 - Chicago, October 30, 2019,
CHAPTER 27 - Chicago, November 1, 2019,
CHAPTER 28 - Chicago, November 1, 2019,
CHAPTER 29 - Chicago, November 1, 2019,
PART IV - THE CHOICE,
CHAPTER 30 - Chicago, November 2, 2019,
CHAPTER 31 - Chicago, November 3, 2019,
CHAPTER 32 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 3, 2019,
CHAPTER 33 - Chicago, November 3, 2019,
CHAPTER 34 - Chicago, November 3, 2019,
CHAPTER 35 - Chicago, November 3, 2019,
CHAPTER 36 - Chicago, November 4, 2019,
CHAPTER 37 - Chicago, November 4, 2019,
CHAPTER 38 - Chicago, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 39 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 40 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 41 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 42 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 43 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 44 - Starved Rock, Illinois, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 45 - Chicago, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 46 - Chicago, November 5, 2019,
CHAPTER 47 - Peoria, Illinois, December 5, 2019,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am very conflicted as I finish Charlie Donlea’s Some Choose Darkness. The reason? It turned out to be more of a thriller than I had anticipated. This reader’s taste leans towards Agatha Christie and cozy mysteries. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I avoid thrillers because they stir me up too much. I chose to read Some Choose Darkness because I had read a book by Donlea previously and enjoyed it. Somehow I did not expect an intense work of fiction about a serial killer. The problem is that although in some ways I didn’t enjoy reading it, I felt compelled to finish the tale, to make all of the pieces fit together. Donlea has masterfully crafted a thriller with so many layers and connections that rapid page turning is a necessity. Add to the plot not one, but two characters with autism and obsessive/compulsive disorder and this retired teacher is all over it. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
3.75 stars Thank you to Kensington for allowing me to read and review this ARC. Publication was May 28, 2019. This book was definitely character driven. Which as I understated it, is a habit of Charlie Donlea. This being my first book by him, I am sure it will not be my last. Going back to a serial murderer called The Thief, this book takes place in 1979 and also in current day. As is so popular, this story is made up of alternating chapters. One of our main protagonists is Rory, a forensic reconstructionalist, who works on cold cases for the Chicago PD. Soon after her attorney fathers' death she finds out that he has been a substantial partner of the incarcerated serial murderer. What is the connection? And why has her father kept this a secret? Our other main protagonist is Angela, an autistic woman leading the 1979 story line, who had come close to solving the crimes of the The Thief, however no one wanted to believe her. The question now is whether she is still alive. The Thief was imprisoned for her murder - the only one that they could prove - however her body was never found. The tension in this story is riveting making it so easy to turn pages. And the ending!! Nothing that I saw coming. Great all around mystery thriller - with another book coming - that also highlights Rory, the forensic reconstructionalist.
"Some choose darkness, others are chosen by it." It's 1979 and there's an auto-erotic serial killer on the loose. The Thief lives for the "rush" he gets from strangling his victims to death. He has managed to keep this part of him a secret from those closest to him... until now. Forty years later, The Thief is up for parole. When his attorney dies unexpectedly the burden of his defense falls on Rory Moore, a silent/unofficial partner in her father's law firm who is also a forensic reconstructionist. Once involved in the case she quickly uncovers that her father had secrets, secrets he never wanted her to discover. Although the story wasn't surprising, it was definitely dark and disturbing. I was fully engrossed by the main characters. I loved the two strong women who were the focus of the duel timelines - Rory and Angela. They were such complex characters. Donlea did an amazing job of developing them and writing about how autism has been viewed over time. It was so interesting to see how differently these women were treated over the span of 40 years. This was my first Charlie Donlea book but it certainly won't be my last. I'm also hoping we get to see Rory in future books. She is definitely a character I would happily follow in a series.
Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructionist. In addition to restoring old china dolls to their original perfection, she also has a unique ability to see crimes, patterns and offenders in ways that others cannot, which makes her a valuable asset to Detective Ron Davidson, who frequently utilizes her abilities. After a six-month hiatus, he’s tossed another case her way, in the form of a broken Kessler doll – who’s young owner was murdered. Shortly thereafter, she receives a call from her father’s assistant, informing her of his death that morning, at home. As Rory struggles to come to terms with her attorney father’s death, she has to reassign all of his casework to other area attorneys. While doing so, she finds records of a client that her father has done over 30 years of work for – and his parole board meeting is coming up quickly – leaving Rory no time to reassign the case. A lawyer herself, she must assume her father’s role in the proceedings. In researching his case, Rory learns of a young woman, Angela Mitchell, who 40 years ago, diligently worked to gather evidence against a suspect known only as The Thief, submitting it to law enforcement, before she too, became a victim. Rory feels a strange kinship with the woman, who is the only victim that The Thief (and her present client) was convicted of killing. But no trace of her body was ever found. As Rory works to secure her client’s release, she begins to explore the mystery of Angela Mitchell, The Thief, and the missing victims he’s believed to have killed, and in doing so, unwittingly opens the door to a past that was best left buried… Told in excerpts from Angela’s life in 1979, the killers life and Rory’s investigation in the present, the storylines converge with wild twists and turns as Rory attempts to put the pieces together, and all lines converge in a surprising (or not so surprising, but no less thrilling) climax that will keep you turning pages well into the night! I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery. Hoping that we’ll be seeing more of Rory Moore in the near future as well!! Great read!! I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.
The story begins in 1979 but jumps back and forth in time from 1979, when Chicago is on edge over a series of unsolved missing women cases, to 2019 when the story comes to its resolution. This is not a typical mystery or thriller because we learn the true identity of the perpetrator, dubbed The Thief, fairly early in the book. The actual mystery is how the lives of three women—Angela, Greta, and Rory, intersect. It is their stories that are gradually revealed and as we come to know them, we ache with their suffering. We meet Angela in 1979 when she becomes obsessed over the reports of the missing women, researching the victims’ lives in great detail to try to figure out what happened to them. Rory, the daughter of The Thief’s attorney, becomes involved in the case in 2019 when her father unexpectedly dies and she must handle the client’s parole hearing and subsequent release from prison. She becomes obsessed with trying to understand why her father remained so involved in the case over the course of 40 years. Greta’s part in the story takes place over all forty years. Particularly intriguing to me was that all three women, whom I would call the heroines of this story, had severe emotional challenges yet found the courage and the strength to use their weaknesses to defeat The Thief. It was far from easy for them; if they gave in completely to their impulses rather than using them to discover patterns and connections, they could be destroyed. Often misunderstood by others, they were unique, powerful women. Charles Donlea has written a book that not only keeps us on the edge of our seats, but, more importantly, teaches us to accept others who think and act differently from us as complete persons who do not need to be “fixed,” but respected.
She’s talented. Perhaps it all started when she was younger and her great aunt showed her how to repair porcelain dolls or it’s her own strict attention to detail, Rory is great at her job. As a forensic reconstructionist, Rory gives everything she has, when she is working. It begins with the task of restoring a porcelain doll which belongs to a grieving father and extends to Rory tending to her father’s affairs after his death. Rory attention to detail, investigation and competition extends to all aspects of her life, no matter the outcome. Reconnecting with her great aunt in a new environment, Rory uses the toy to try to reconnect her great aunt to the real world. The simple closing of her father’s business, after his death, turns into a major undertaking as she uncovers some information about her father. Where exactly that puts Rory now that she is part of her father’s business is another question she has to consider? I thought this was a fast read and I couldn’t put it down/stop thinking about it after I got about halfway through it. I liked the twists and turns that this novel provided in the second half. I enjoyed the characters and I liked that Rory felt like a normal, everyday person. I enjoyed the drama. I couldn’t get too comfortable, as something would change in the novel and I would have to readjust my thinking. This is my first novel by this author but I am looking forward to more by Charlie. 4.5 stars I received a copy of this novel from Kensington Publishing Co. in exchange for an honest opinion. - thank you!
4.5 chilling stars I’ve read two others by Charlie Donlea, so I had an idea what sort of read was ahead of me – a good one! I was thoroughly hooked by this story and I felt like I couldn’t get to the ending quickly enough. This tale follows two timelines, one from the present with Rory Moore who has a fascinating job with the Chicago Police Department piecing together crime scenes and solving cold cases. The other timeline is from the past with a misdiagnosed autistic woman, Angela, solving a series of serial killings in the late 1970s. I liked the present-day story a bit more and I was drawn into the story, rooting for Rory to get to the bottom of two mysteries – a new case from the Chicago PD and wrapping up her father’s law firm after his death. There’s one particular case that a judge insists she keep from her father’s caseload, the parole recommendation for a killer, The Thief. We get some chilling insight into the mind of a killer in this one. The storyline pacing is just right and we are fed a few clues here and there as the story progresses. The two storylines connect, or maybe I should say they collide and the book builds to a powerful conclusion!
Be sure to add this to your summer reading list! This is a new to me author and I'm so glad I was introduced to his writing! Rory assists the Chicago PD with reconstruction services when heinous crimes occur. Angela was a young married woman who lived through the year of heinous crimes committed against women by "The Thief". With the recent death of Rory's father, she uncovers her father's long hidden truth regarding his representation and investigation into "The Thief's" past crimes and his last special request, made while serving time for past crimes. Now up for parole, "The Thief" is soon to be reintroduced into the real world, with unfinished business to complete. This story is navigated in such a way to keep the reader hooked, through creative writing, characters you connect with, and an original storyline that will have you quickly turning the pages until the very last word. I'm so excited to catch up on other books this author has written as he has quickly entered into the category as an author to watch! I am truly hoping Rory decides to come back as a character in future reads!
Another good effort by this author. I look forward to another book!
[4,5/5 stars] SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS was my first read by Charlie Donlea and it won't be my last! This book was definitely a page-turner! Initially the premise sounded like any other thriller - however, this title exceeded my expectations! The author wrote the mystery in a clever way, in addition, both characters and plot were well-developed. I enjoyed the quirkiness and flawed characters, as well as some psychological analysis that the author did. Furthermore, the plot was fast-moving and kept me guessing the whole time (with some surprising twists). The dual timeline made the plot more intriguing and clear. Ultimately, the truth behind was unexpected. I only wish Donlea could have explored more the story behind the murderer. SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS is a satisfying and gripping book perfect for all thriller readers. [I received a complimentary copy from Kensington in exchange for an honest review]
I am leaning towards 4.5 stars. I'm a huge fan of Charlie Donlea and have read all of his previous books and have loved them. I still loved this book but not as much as the others. Rory is a very quirky character, I'm also not sure how she functions with the amount of alcohol she consumes. I can definitely see Rory in a sequel where she solves cold cases. (Crossing my fingers for sequels!!!) I wasn't sure who The Thief was going to end up being until his identity was finally revealed. I pretty much went along with all of Angela's theories. So I was definitely surprised. I wasn't too shocked about the secrets surrounding Rory. The book was definitely full of twists and turns. I was hooked from the very start. I didn't mind the back and forth between Angela in the past and Rory in the present. Why would Rory go to the cabin in the middle of the night without telling anyone???? She almost dials her boyfriend and 911 but never does. Nothing good ever comes from this!!! That's like wearing a huge PLEASE MURDER ME SIGN in a room full of killers!!!! If I thought someone was a possible crazy killer, the last thing I would do would be go see him ALONE. Definitely recommend the book and the author's previous books. Loved everything about the book- characters, story and writing style. I can't wait to read more books by the author!!! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Read this book and then look at your neighbors and wonder. This is the first book by Charlie Donlea for me and I am quickly searching for another. The book blurb gives the premise, and the book is so much better than that. There are two story lines running parallel which is usually my ignore, do not read sign. I am soooo glad I did not listen to myself. We have two strong women with oddities, quirks, that are not diagnosed or pointed out at the get go, so I myself will not. I admit to having a few issues with them, because of my lack of knowledge, and being forced outside of my comfort zone. Thank you Mr Donlea, well done and definitely needed, as I grew to know them, I became them due to your gift of writing. The death of Rory's dad opens more issues as Rory continues on with her life. I was lead down the wrong path, turned around and hoodwinked by The Thief. There is a lifetime of books that can come from this book, please tell me this is not the only one. Thank you Mr Donlea, Kensington Books and NetGalley for this arc, a truly awesome psychological thriller that has me looking at my neighbors and wondering......could they to be a Thief. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were unsolicited.
Rarely do I find an author that I can just start reading and know it will be top-notch suspense. Charlie Donlea has become one of those authors. I was SO happy to receive this ARC and was not disappointed. The characterization is great, plotting is excellent and the creep-factor/suspense is outstanding! I loved the idea of an autistic heroine, especially as autism runs in my family. Rory and all of her quirks were well written and I would like to see her story become a series of books! Just a thought! Even though you feel fairly sure who the culprit is at first, there is so much going on to lead in a different direction. But no spoilers, just READ THIS BOOK!!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to #CharlieDonlea and #NetGalley for this ARC!!!
crime-fiction, thriller, psychological, kidnapping, serial-killer Intense. Frightening. Riveting. If you want crime fiction too close to reality to scare you, this is it. If you're looking for an escapist read to negate harsh reality, give this one a pass. It's a little too good at realism. The publisher's blurb should give you a clue because it is well done, but it's the intensity of the writing that got me. It's not a book that's easy to forget. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
Thirty years apart, two women with obsessive-compulsive disorder track a serial killer in Some Choose Darkness. In 1979, Angela is newly married to Thomas in suburban Chicago. She also has a photographic memory and ocd. When frightened by a stranger in the alley behind her house, she begins to suspect he is the notorious serial killer, the Thief. The Thief gets off by alternately choking his victims and himself in an elaborate rope and pulley contraption. He has been blamed for five deaths. Angela sees a pattern among the deaths. In 2019, Rory works as a freelance forensic reconstructionist for the Chicago police. She also has ocd. The 2017 cold case she is working on has the same cause of death as those done by the Thief. But he is in prison. Is it a copycat twenty-eight years later? The Thief tells his story from a prison cell. Finally granted parole in 2019, he is looking forward to giving payback to the woman who emprisoned him. What a fantastic thrill ride! Some Choose Darkness has a complicated plot that pulls the reader first one way and then the other like a twisty rollercoaster. Any readers looking to play armchair detective, beware! There are several false trails within the storyline. However, despite being totally fooled myself, I highly recommend this thriller. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars! Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
JUST TO SAY 5 STARS * is NOT ENOUGH!! Two tales in one novel with the strings attached. In 20119 Rory Moore has a talent for cold case evaluation. When her father dies it falls to her to settle his lawyer business and his estate. In 1979 Angela Mitchell is a wife and a women who has fought a form of autism all her life. Gruesome serial killer who is known as the Thief is after decades scheduled to be paroled. Charlie Donlea is amazing at character development and holding a readers' interest page after page. "A copy of this book was provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." READ AND ENJOY!
Rory Moore is something called a forensic reconstructionist. She investigates and nearly always solves cold case homicides that no one else can solve. She has OCD, is quirky, not always likeable and often feels closer to the victims than the warm bodies around her. When the story opens she’s been given another cold case to reconstruct, but her father suddenly dies and she is drawn into settling his affairs, which includes representing a man who is being released after 40 years in prison. He’s a suspected serial killer but could only be tried and convicted for one murder. Her father’s involvement with this man seems strange, and while cleaning out her father’s office Rory discovers things that make her want to investigate. What follows is an exciting novel that jumps back and forth from 1979 to 1981 to the present, with different POVs and multiple settings and leaving genuine clues and red herrings all along the way. The characters are complex and well-developed, and sometimes just plain creepy, like The Thief and his RUSH, and every character is important. Angela is a mess. She puts together the clues, but since not much was understood about autism and OCD in 1979, she is considered mentally ill, schizophrenic, and generally unreliable. What she goes through trying to get someone, anyone, to believe her is tragically sad. There are some truly heart-stopping moments, especially when Angela thinks she knows who the murderer is, and then when she knows she knows. Her husband Thomas seems to be the only one who understands, with enough patience and love to put up with her odd behavior, and her best friend Catherine never gives up on her. As she sifts through old papers and clues, Rory feels uncannily close to Angela. And Rory’s Aunt Greta, even though suffering from dementia, seems to have something to say that Rory would be wise to listen to. Rory is good at her job, despite or maybe because of her own OCD and eccentricities. But there are a lot of facts and details to sort through and Rory is often a step behind and in real danger. Some Choose Darkness is thrilling, a good puzzle with lots of twists and turns. It’s a complicated story that only gets more and more involved as layers are pulled away. It’s riveting suspense with a sinister predator, and some real surprises. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advance copy for my honest review.
4 Exciting Stars!! What can I say...Charlie Donlea did it again!! “Some Choose Darkness” is a chilling, captivating, fast-paced mystery/suspense novel with a one of a kind protagonist, Rory, a forensic reconstructionist who is on the autism spectrum. Once again, I was impressed with author’s ability to write truly suspenseful, gritty, and dark crime fiction novel while keeping his characters interesting and well developed. You cannot help yourself but to quickly connect with Rory, and join her on a gripping and twisty journey to find out the details of 40-year old cold case. There was not one dull moment in this story and it is safe to say that Charlie Donela just earned himself an auto approval spot on my to-go-to authors list. I am looking forward to reading more of his books, and hopefully we will get to read another book with Rory’s character as a main protagonist very soon. Thank you NetGalley, Kensington Publishing, and the author, Charlie Donlea, for giving me an opportunity to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a huge soft spot for characters who are a little different. In a sea of stereotypes it’s the ones that don’t fit in who are more interesting. In this gripping story we’re introduced to Rory Moore, an MC who stands out from the crowd for several reasons. Rory is a forensic reconstructionist. Occasionally she works on cold cases for the Chicago PD under the supervision of Det. Ron Davidson. Her specialty is recreating a crime scene in such minute detail that often new information is revealed. It’s a gift & her uncanny abilities are a direct result of her being somewhere on the autism spectrum. Ron has just dropped another case in her lap when Rory gets the news her father has died. It’s a terrible blow made more difficult when she takes on the job of closing his law practice. She discovers he’s been representing an infamous convicted killer since 1979. That was the year 5 women went missing courtesy of a man nicknamed “The Thief”. Despite a massive search, police were only able to nail him for one. Her name was Angela Mitchell & she was credited with identifying him. After numerous applications made by Rory’s father, it looks like he’s finally been granted parole & the job of guiding him through the process falls to Rory. There are dual time lines & in alternate chapters we follow Angela in 1979. She, too, is a little different. Intelligent but socially awkward, Angela deals with the daily challenge of appearing “normal”. With the help of a supportive husband, she just about manages to keep a lid on the personal tics that can take over her life. That summer, everyone is talking about “The Thief”. She is soon obsessed with following the investigation & begins to see patterns others miss. Eventually, she’s sure she knows who the killer is. Then Angela becomes missing woman #6. That’s it from me about the plot. The less you know going in, the better & I don’t want to deprive you of one “Holy Crap!” moment. Just get used to saying it because you will. A lot. Given the subject matter, much of the prose is surprisingly low key. You have a chance to get to know Rory & Angela before events begin to spin out of control in both time lines. In terms of the big picture, it’s like little puzzle pieces are littered throughout the story. Some I picked up, others I completely missed. The overall plot is intricate & as that picture emerges, it becomes a tense & compulsive read. I should mention we also get chapters narrated by the killer, a man who had me praying to the Gods of Karma that he’d get what he so richly deserved. The author does a good job of portraying how times have changed (somewhat) for people living with degrees of autism. Rory is accepted by those she allows in her life & appreciated for her abilities. Angela has to deal with patronizing smiles & labels such as “slow” or “retarded”. It’s not overplayed, just presented as a fact of life for both women. I’ve heard other readers say they were disappointed by the finale but I thought it was perfect & very much in keeping with the characters involved. The author knows how to spin a story that keeps you reading & has created a compelling MC. If there’s a Rory 2.0 in the works, sign me up.