Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m going to be posting my review of Lisa Stone’s debut crime thriller, ‘The Darkness Within’. I previously took part in the blog tour for this which you can find here, and ended up loving the book so much that I just had to review it for you! Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
You know your son better than anyone. Don’t you?
When critically ill Jacob Wilson is given a life-saving heart transplant, his parents are relieved that their loving son has been saved.
However, before long, his family are forced to accept that something has changed in Jacob. Their once loving son is slowly being replaced by a violent man whose mood swings leave them terrified – but is it their fault?
Jacob’s girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced the man she loves is suffering from stress. But when his moods turn on her, she begins to doubt herself – and she can only hide the bruises for so long.
When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family are forced to confront their darkest fears. Has the boy they raised become a monster? Or is someone else to blame?
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Contains sexually explicit material, including references to rape and other barbaric sexual acts. Also contains explicit scenes of domestic violence throughout, with graphic descriptions of physical and emotional violence/control, and references to substance abuse.
‘The Darkness Within’ is Lisa Stone’s debut thriller novel, and was released on 13th July 2017. Prior to this, she has published 26 other novels under the pseudonym Cathy Glass. Cathy Glass made her breakthrough in 2007 with her novel ‘Damaged’. Her other novels include ‘The Saddest Girl In The World’ (2009), ‘Run, Mummy, Run’ (2011), ‘Can I Let You Go?’ (2016) and more.
‘The Darkness Within’ has received much positive praise, for example from Lovereading.com: “Lisa Stone writes with a clear, uncomplicated style […] dramatic and readable,” and author Katerina Diamond: “The Darkness Within hooked me from the start. Once you start you won’t be able to stop!” Cathy Glass’s previous novels have also received rave reviews, such as The Sun: “A truly harrowing read [Damaged] that made me cry – and angry,” and OK! Magazine: “Moving and heartfelt [Cut].”
I was immediately absorbed into the world of ‘The Darkness Within’. It tells the story of Jacob Wilson, his surrounding family members and girlfriend Rosie, after Jacob is given a heart transplant which completely changes his personality. He becomes increasingly angry and violent, and a terrible crime committed in the village leaves everybody shocked…but can they stop him before it’s too late?
The narrative is told in the first person, and follows the perspectives of Shane and girlfriend Rosie at first, before introducing us to the main set of characters: Jacob Wilson, Andrew and Elizabeth Wilson (Jacob’s parents), and Rosie (Jacob’s new girlfriend). The purpose of Shane and Rosie’s narratives at first is to introduce the reader to Rosie’s character, before she begins to get involved with Jacob. Each character narrates their experiences of Jacob’s increasingly aggressive behaviour, and their growing terror.
Jacob was a kind, selfless character prior to his heart transplant, and he had a bright future ahead of him. His heart transplant causes extreme mood swings, violent outbursts and reckless behaviour, and this change cannot be easily explained. It seems he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and those around him are understandably fearful of his actions. Jacob is definitely not a likeable character, but is it his fault?
Jacob’s mother Elizabeth is warm and caring, and grows more and more concerned about her son’s behaviour. Her son has been replaced by a monster that she hardly recognises, and she must take matters into her own hands to discover what is wrong with him. She was definitely my favourite character in the novel, as she was the most determined and active character. Jacob’s father Andrew, the village Reverend, is devoted to his religion and calls upon God to help his son. Unlike his wife, he doesn’t actively search for answers, and his passivity makes him a frustrating character. Jacob’s new girlfriend Rosie soon discovers the harsh reality about her boyfriend, but by then it could be too late. I felt a lot of sympathy towards Rosie, as she does not deserve to be treated in this way, and she repeatedly blames herself.
The other minor characters are all well-portrayed. Shane, from the beginning of the story, is an aggressive thug who gets his comeuppance. Eloise, Jacob’s ex-girlfriend, is extremely damaged after the brutal end to their relationship. And Mary, an elderly lady in the village, is living in fear after the terrible village crime.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** This novel contains scenes describing acts of domestic violence throughout, including explicit acts of physical, emotional and sexual violence/domination. It also contains much sexually explicit material, including scenes of rape and other barbaric sexual acts. The novel also contains references to substance abuse and drug usage. If you feel that any of these issues may trigger a negative response, then I would urge you to skip this book.
As the narrative motors on, those closest to Jacob become more and more affected by his violent behaviour. The village becomes fearful after a crime is committed close to home, and it is no longer a safe place to live. Jacob’s family must work together and save him before it’s too late, but this may not be possible. The plot becomes fairly complex, but Stone’s writing style makes the narrative easy to follow and keeps it simple. The pace is quick and snappy, and this really drives the narrative forwards.
So, let’s talk about the ending. The ending was fairly satisfactory in my opinion, but it didn’t really blow me away. I felt indifferent towards the ending – the direction that the novel took was fine, but it could have potentially gone in a different direction to create more of an impact. I didn’t feel moved or provoked to feel any sort of emotional response, which is slightly disappointing in my opinion.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy more simple crime thrillers. The premise to this novel really intrigued me, and I still think it is a very solid, unique idea. There was room for improvement at the end and more suspense could have been created throughout, but that being said, I still really enjoyed the novel and found that I couldn’t put it down. A great read!
Happy reading 🙂