Review: Maureen Nicholl – Into The Darkness

Maureen Nicholl - Into the DarknessI won this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads giveaways and before I started reading I already knew I was going to be disappointed with it. It’s a novella, meaning that it’s only 57 pages long. So either the story was going to be terrible and I’d hate it, or the story would be amazing and I’d be disappointed that it was so short.

And yep, the story was great, but I got to the end wanting so much more. The story revolves around a lonely and socially awkward mall security guard named Duncan and a rebellious teenager named Calvin. They’ve met many times in the past, usually in the mall where Calvin and all his friends make Duncan’s life horrible, taunting him with names like Officer Doughnuts. Ironically, the first place we meet Duncan is in the doughnut shop, where he is ordering his usual order of not one, not two, but six doughnuts, his usual nightly order, to cover up his feelings of emptiness.

As Duncan heads home from work, he drives past an abandoned car at the side of the road by the old abandoned mental hospital and stops to investigate. He finds the circumstances highly suspicious, but when he calls the ‘real cops’, they’re not interested. He decides that he will take matters into his own hands and find out what has happened.

But Duncan doesn’t have any friends and he doesn’t know the layout of Brookfield, so he’s nervous about going there. On a whim, he decides that Calvin could maybe help him. After all, he’s always hanging round there with his friends, drinking and causing trouble. Duncan has recently pulled Calvin in for underage drinking, so he knows his number and gives him a call to see if he is willing to help. Calvin agrees, but only with conditions. Duncan is so intent of finding out what is going on that he agrees to meet Calvin the same night.

When Calvin and Duncan get to Brookfield, Calvin goes in first to see if he can find any of his friends to see if they have heard anything. While he’s gone, Duncan wonders a short way into the woods and gets himself into the same trouble that the poor owner of the car found herself in. It’s then up to Calvin to get them free, leading to almost disastrous circumstances. Although it’s Duncan that instigates the ‘adventure’, it’s Calvin that finds out the most about himself, and seems to metamorphosize from his old delinquent self over the course of one short night. And happily, it looks like Duncan may have finally found the friend he always wanted, and got himself his dream job which was denied to him so many years ago.

I really enjoyed this book, it was fast paced and I couldn’t put it down. Of course, it was only 57 pages, so it didn’t take long for me to reach the end and be left wanting so much more. I would have loved the book more if it had been longer, maybe more back story to the characters, or more of what happened after. Looking on Goodreads, it looks like this author only has one book, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for more.


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