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Why Dark Corners by Megan Goldin Doesn't Work (SPOILER book review)

Updated: Mar 18

GENRE: Adult Mystery
LENGTH: 341 pages
Podcaster Rachel Krall is recruited by the FBI in order to help solve the case of a missing influencer. Maddison Logan disappeared after visiting a suspected serial killer, Terrence Bailey, in prion. This book is a companion/sequel to Night Swim.
Rachel has a love interest in this novel and it’s FBI agent Joe Martinez. Their relationship is a slow burn but they had good chemistry. That being said, their relationship sort of fizzles out at the very end with Rachel considering that she doesn’t want anything long term (and Martinez himself is a relatively recent widower). I wondered what the point was to even have that relationship if it wasn’t going to go anywhere in the end? The novel would have been fine without a romance but if it was going to have one then Goldin should have committed.
Maddison is a character whose choices made no sense to me. It was very reminiscent of the character Vince from The Night Shift by Alex Finlay. Vince was a fugitive who vlogged his movements. Maddison, meanwhile, is living in constant fear of being found by a serial killer who once kidnapped her and murdered her friend. Yet she makes the choice to broadcast her van life travels. It’s a miracle she wasn’t found sooner. Yes, she changed her name (she was born Hailey) and she cut her hair and changed her dress style. Even still, the killer would be able to recognize her voice and facial features. It’s just nonsensical for her to be a vlogger.
The serial killer is not, in fact, Terrance Bailey. I figured this out quite early on because one of the POV characters is a rideshare driver named Thomas McCoy. I knew immediately that McCoy must be connected in some way to the mystery at the book’s heart and given his suspicious behavior it was swiftly evident that he was the real culprit.
The novel is told through the third person perspectives of Rachel, Martinez, and McCoy. There are also chapters told in the form of Rachel’s podcast. This was also present in the first book and a touch that I really like. As I mentioned in my review of Night Swim (book 1), if you’re going to include a popular gimmick like the main character being a podcaster then you might as well fully utilize it. Speaking of Night Swim, though, while this book is a companion story you can read it without having first read Night Swim (though if you’re picking between the two I’d recommend Night Swim over this one). Regardless, I like when series, specifically in the romance and mystery/thriller genres, have books you can read out of order. Not only can this increase an author’s readership, but there’s no worry if you pick up the book without realizing it’s not the first in a series.
This novel really feels targeted at younger millennials and Gen Z. Not only is there a true crime podcast, but a lot of young people aspire to be influencers. Van life influencers are also becoming a quite notable genre of vlogging in recent times. Even though Rachel isn’t actually the best at going undercover, I did like her time spend at the influencer convention BuzzCon where she posed as an influencer herself. It was very evident, however, that while Goldin may be keen to capitalize on the interests of the young people she herself has a quite low opinion of influencers from the ways in which Rachel and other characters talk about them.
There are a number of red herrings sprinkled in the novel. Some were obvious while others kept me guessing. I spent most of the novel trying to puzzle together how all the pieces fit together. Circling back to Thomas being a POV character, however, I do think that detracts from the mystery of the story. I can’t comprehend why Goldin made the decisions she did surrounding him. Atmospherically it is still quite chilling, but as a writer myself I would have kept Thomas’ role prior to the reveal a lot more minimal, revealing just enough but no more.
I gave Night Swim 4.75 stars so I was happy when I found out there was going to be another Rachel Krall mystery. Goldin has been such a hit or miss author for me but I was so sure I’d like this one. Unfortunately, with the inherently flawed plot of an influencer who is trying to hide to the baffling choice to make the killer a POV character, this will probably be one of my most disappointing books of this year.

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