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Review: Gardiner weaves horrifying tale in `Dark Corners'


“The Dark Corners of the Night,” Blackstone Publishing, by Meg Gardiner

A terrifying killer that targets families by attacking them in the middle of the night tests the abilities of FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix in Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller, “The Dark Corners of the Night."

Each event starts the same way: The person breaks into the house, kills the husband and wife, and then finds the children. Before leaving the scene, he scares the children, who are traumatized, and in one case, he tells the kids to call him the Midnight Man.

As the crimes escalate, Hendrix tries to profile someone who seems to defy expectations. And when a family survives because the Midnight Man makes a mistake, the description that authorities receive from the scared kids and parents reveals a truth that throws the FBI’s initial analysis out the window.

This case will push Caitlin to the brink. She has difficulty not getting emotionally involved, and being a survivor of a serial killer makes it almost impossible to push aside the fear when pursuing a potential suspect. A close friend was hurt in a bombing nine months earlier and that incident is also unsolved, distracting her from focusing fully on putting away the Midnight Man.

Gardiner weaves a suspenseful and horrifying tale that focuses on solving the crime rather than diving into gruesome and gratuitous details. Caitlin’s expertise and background bring a strong emotional hook to the story line. As the pursuit escalates, so do the surprises, right up to the shocking last page. Gardiner’s writing is lyrical and cinematic, and the final result is her best novel to date.

Jeff Ayers, The Associated Press