Reviewed by Nora St. Laurent
Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso
"...a complex, compelling story that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and gripped my emotions as I read each page."
Back Cover: Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting……written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own. Can the unconditional love of Sam’s daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?
REVIEW: I don’t normally read books like this one but after I read Darlington Woods for book club I discovered that Dellosso’s books weren’t as scary as I thought they were. I’m a chicken at heart and don’t read books that make me sleep with the light on all night. Mike Dellosso showed me through his last book that he can bring a depth and understanding to his characters and their situations. It made reading the book more enlightening. So, I was anxious to receive a review copy of Mike’s new book.
Sam Travis lives in Gettysburg, PA and was recuperating from a serious injury he had received on the job. He’s been going a little stir crazy at home and got up often at night because he couldn’t sleep. One night he hears his brother calling him downstairs. He goes down there and sees nothing. Suddenly the glass window to his house shatters and wakes up the whole house. This is the beginning of a complex, compelling story that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and gripped my emotions as I read each page.
The police investigate, and find no clues. No bullets and no notes. Sam and his wife are stumped as to who would do such a thing. The reader is too! Later Sam discovers a story inside his little girl’s notebook written in his handwriting. He reads it. A soldier named Samuel has written about a battle in the Civil War and how he has to do something about Abraham Lincoln to stop the violence.
Sam had no recollection of writing the story. He’s not a history buff and can’t quite figure out what Samuel is talking about in the note. How could he have written it? This was the beginning of some really bizarre events. Mike Dellosso has you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what’s real, what’s not—you’re afraid of what will happen next.
Sam Travis starts to have flashbacks from his haunting, tragic childhood. Then there’s Samuel the soldier who wants to end the war and keeps appearing to Sam, and Jacob, his little girl Eva’s imaginary friend, who looks like he glows with glitter and finally a man who’s on a killing spree---why? How do all these pieces and characters fit together? Sam and his wife didn’t know what to make of it and neither does the reader until the end. Mike weaves a fascinating, intricate, intriguing story line I found captivating.
I liked how Mike wove real historical events into this story with Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and a story about the first Minnesota battle. I also like how Sam learned along with the reader about history, Sam says, “Why did these men do such a thing in Minnesota? They had to have known they were embarking on their last charge, their last stand. What was in for them? They would never kiss their wives again, never hold their children. What made a man willingly do such a think? Bravery? Fear? Insanity? Dumb Obedience?” He wondered.
Mike tackled several pretty serious and sensitive issues like mental illness in his book. I had just watched a show about a family who was afraid to live with their middle school aged child and what they did about it. Some parents have done nothing, and couldn’t wait to release their child into society to fend for themselves. It’s a scary thing. Because I saw this show the matter was more real for me and made the events in this book even scarier.
I like the author’s notes at the end that helped tie up a few things for me. But I have to say the story bordered on being almost too creepy for my liking. I adored Sam’s little daughter Eva and her faith in God and love for her Daddy. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the Civil War and what men went through at that time. Once again I was memorized and gripped by this authors enthralling tale.
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Through Fiction, Novel Reviews, Title Trakk, Suspense
Zone and The Christian