REVIEW: That Darkness by Lisa Black

Originally published 2016-05-18: Two positions on vigilante justice are explored with fascinating forensic detail in Lisa Black’s That Darkness


Have you ever started a book and, from the very first page, knew that you were going to love it? The book I’m reviewing this week was exactly that kind of book for me. That Darkness by Lisa Black gripped me from more than the first page – it had me in the first paragraph.

cover of mystery thriller suspense novel That Darkness by Lisa Black

Book Description

As a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department, Maggie Gardiner has seen her share of Jane Does. The latest is an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries–for Maggie at least–is the fact that no one has reported her missing. […]

Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he enjoys it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place. When he follows the trail of this Jane Doe to a locked room in a small apartment where eighteen teenaged girls are anything but safe, he knows something must be done. But his pursuit of their captor takes an unexpected turn.

Maggie Gardiner finds another body waiting for her in the autopsy room–and a host of questions that will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil.

My Rating

Jack was my favorite character in That Darkness. He’s flawed and, perhaps, morally bankrupt… or is he?

Like many other antiheroes in fiction, Jack’s actions are driven by the immoral deeds of others. More than revenge, what he wants is vengeance, and to rid the world of the kind of scum the modern justice system often lets slip through the cracks.

It’s hard to say whether he would have ever pulled the trigger on his plan if he hadn’t seen so many bad guys go free; the only outsider’s perspective we really get is in the story of Maggie, and she makes her feelings of distaste for vigilantism known quite clearly early on.

I gave That Darkness (A Gardiner and Renner Novel) by Lisa Black four of five stars. This story has an explosive start, great forensic details, an unfortunate lull in the middle, and a killer ending that gives you a reason to be glad you stuck through it all. I recommend it to people who love forensics, psychological suspense, and vigilante justice.


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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley.