A Field of Darkness
Cornelia Read
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A Field of Darkness (Madeline Dare #1)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,161 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Madeline Dare would be the first to tell you her money is so old there's none left. A former socialite from an aristocratic family in decline, Maddie is a tough-talking, would-be journalist exiled to the rust belt of upstate New York. Her prospects for changing her dreary lifestyle seem dim--until a set of dog tags found at a decades-old murder site is linked to her family...more
Published July 11th 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published May 1st 2006)
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"Voice" seems to be the quality that writers most strive for these days, to the point of going way over the top. Cornelia Read's amateur detective Madeline Dare is exhibit A in this regard -- her first-person voice in "Field of Darkness" is sometimes clever and even lyrical, but this constant straining for a bon-mot or scintillating simile is ultimately irritating and exhausting for the reader, at least this one. Instead of being carried away by the flow, I was constantly stopping to either adm...more
Jan 22, 2014 Mo rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not recommended
The setting for this story is in my neck of the woods, Upstate New York. It quickly becomes obvious that the author considers the entire area to be nothing more than a hell hole. The less I liked the book, the more my anger grew over the constant bashing of Syracuse NY, and the people who live there.

Here are just a couple quotes:

“The summer of 1988 finds her in the rust belt of upstate New York, pining for her often-absent, farmboy-genius-inventor husband and desperate to escape dreary Syracuse...more
Bridgette Redman
If you’re looking for an easy summer read, Cornelia Read’s debut novel, A Field of Darkness is NOT the book for you.

If, however, you’re interested in a thriller with substance, a dark yet compelling story that is intelligent and intense, then this may be the novel for you. It’s by no means an easy read, but it is smart and even its harshness enriches the themes found within its pages.

A Field of Darkness is a mystery thriller set in 1988 written in what the author calls WASP noir. The protagoni...more
I raced to the end so I wouldn't have to hear any more of the shallow, disdainful narrator or of the author's utter contempt for Syracuse.
I have so much bias about this book it isn't even funny. But that doesn't stop it from being well written and gripping.

First, it's set in Syracuse, NY. Not quite my home town, but close enough. And this book made me see Syracuse through very different eyes. That Madeline Dare both hates and it doesn't want to leave it--yes, I get that, in spades.

Second is the main character herself. She reads like a LOT of girls I knew in my very preppy college, only grown up and married and "trapped" somewhere...more
I loved this book (thank you Seattle Mystery Bookshop for the recommendation!). This is the debut by Cornelia Read and you can be sure that I will be reading more from this author. Her phrasing strikes a cord with me -- so much that I actually wrote down phrases as I read. Here are some of my favorites:

"Nothing undercuts a good flu story like the sound of an eighteen-wheeler downshifing in the rain."

"I was wallowing in the mood pool's deep end."

"The wipers left a widow's peak on my windshield."

I suppose it is worth buying because her style is so readable - she could make a shopping list entertaining. So from that angle, it's enjoyable - but the plot is as thin and predictable as Murder She Wrote - so much so I did wonder whether or not it was actually trying to be ironic. That said, the dialogue is great, it moves at a good pace, and the characterisation is witty and memorable.
A debut mystery from a writer I will now be following. This was not perfect - the killer was easy to spot, early on and some of the characters were a bit two-dimensional - but I love the style and the main character's voice. Some of the phrases were just perfect, like the description of super rich, thin, tan Aunt Binty as a piece of "blonde beef jerky." "Bitch needs to eat a cheeseburger."
I was tempted to label this as romantic suspense, but Cornelia Read would probably slap me and so might you. The developing couple-relationship isn't really the core of the book or the series, but the romance that's there is believable, effective, and begs for an HEA. I'm not saying there is an HEA, mind you. Just that you're going to want one.

This is the first of a series featuring one of the most original female characters I've come across in a while: snarky, trash-mouthed debutante Madeline...more
Amerika Ende der 80er Jahre: Madeline Dare entstammt aus einer alteingesessenen Familie, allerdings ist der Zweig ihrer Vorfahren eher der, über den ihre Verwandten die Nase rümpfen. Sie selbst hat in die arbeitende Bevölkerung eingeheiratet und ist im ländlichen Syracus gelandet, wo die Familie ihres Mannes eine Farm besitzt und sie selbst bei der lokalen Zeitung über banale Dinge wie Cocktails oder Essen schreibt. Eines Tages erfährt sie von einem Mordfall an zwei jungen Mädchen, der 20 Jahre...more
I take two stars to mean Goodread's "it was okay" rating literally, and that was all I could say about this book. Some of the expose of the class relations in America is spot on and authentic, but I just couldn't like this book. I found the writing very busy and distracting, and some of the scenes dragged out and pointless. i.e., just needed more editing.
Loved the ferris wheel on the cover, and I was so happy to see author Ken Bruen's praise on the back cover. He's a huge favorite (gritty Irish mysteries) of mine.

To be honest, I didn't get into this book :-( That's always so hard to say when a good friend recommends it.

I did notice the spare writing style, similar to Bruen's which I enjoyed.
I had to sort of slog my way into this one, the writing took a little acclimating to, but I'm glad I did. Where it lacks slightly in character it makes up in story. It managed to be fun and creepy at the same time, a hard combination to pull off.
This was a very readable literary fiction type mystery, about a young woman whose family has old New York money (none of which she has), who lives in Syracuse and gets caught up in trying to solve a nearly 20 year old murder case. A-.
I enjoyed this book. The first 50 or so pages were great - really fun writing. The middle got a bit sloggy with her family, and I got tired of hearing how much she loved Dean. But there was much to like and I'd read her next.
PROTAGONIST: Madeline Dare
SERIES: #1 of 4
WHY: Madeline Dare works for a local paper doing frou-frou fluff pieces. When she learns that her favorite cousin's dog tags were found at the scene of a murder from many years earlier, she feels compelled to prove his innocence. I loved the humor that was skillfully interwoven into the book, and the interactions between the characters felt completely real. It was unfortunate that Madeline, under the guise of journalist, took on the rol...more
Well deserving of its Edgar nomination - the finely crafted conversational tone and true-to-life characters set it apart.
East Lansing Public Library
Mystery Book Discussion Group

Tuesday, Feburary 12, 7 p.m.
Gwen the Librarian
A totally creepy and satisfying murder mystery. I especially liked the fairy tale elements.
I did enjoy this story though it took a third of the book to really get into it.
AWESOME! super sharp wit and hilarious. Plus the great fun of a murder mystery.
Pretty good murder mystery--cold case catching up with the present.
This one-off (not a series) by Cornelia Read reads like a Katherine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy movie. Snappy dialog, highly original descriptions that in only a few words places a precise image in the reader's mind. Many of the lines made me laugh out loud, although this is not a humorous book, per se. For example, as a lover of P.J. Wodehouse, I loved this succinct description of a conversation with her mother: "Mealtime conversation here was like watching Fellini and Wodehouse drop acid." The heroi...more
Madeline (Maddie) Dare is a journalist for a local New York State paper and she gets involved in an unsolved murder murder that occurred in the area a decade previously. Two girls were found in cornfield with their throats cut and each wearing a crown made of roses. There had been a State Fair being held at the time, and the girls had been seen with soldiers during the evening, but no identification had ever been made. Maddie’s father-in-law mentions the crime and the fact that he had found a se...more
Beth Peninger
My first read of Cornelia Read was decent. She writes a good mystery and keeps the reader on the edge between confidence that they knew who committed the crime and second guessing that confidence. For a first time novelist Read does a good job crafting an engaging story, a story line that keep the reader invested in the book, and strong character development - for the most part.
Madeline Dare is a young, married woman whose husband works in Canada. At his family farm one weekend she's handed a s...more
“ ‘Always thought I’d take after Dad. He used to go up to girls at deb parties and say, ‘Excuse me, would you like to sit this one out?’’” (30).
“That close, the woman was so goddamn thin she looked like a stocking full of hangers” (31).
“By that point, of course, Dodie’s family had sold the company, embarking downstate on what I’d once heard referred to as ‘the Schlep of Tears.’ I suppose for my relatives you’d have to rename it ‘the Long Dark Cocktail Party of the Soul,’ or talk about fleeing th...more
Deborah Sloan
Cornelia Read is an intellectual mystery writer that is sure to flourish in her writing career if this debut book is any indication. A Field of Darkness takes us inside the world of an Old Money family on the decline whose black sheep of the family daughter finds herself coming back to solve a murder mystery of decades past. Though Madeline Dare doesn't quite fit into her aristocratic family relations or her husbands farming family, finding her place may mean putting herself in more danger than...more
Despite its flaws ( not quite believable coincidences, characters changing too quickly simply to advance the plot, and several characters caricatures, sad living cartoons), I liked this book primarily because I like the narrator. She is the central character, Madeline Dare, a poor relation of rich society who has chosen to become a journalist. She has not chosen to live in Syracuse, but she must because that is where her absent husband is based. Next to Maddie, Syracuse and Long Island are the m...more
Carrie Hinkel-Gill
Sep 01, 2011 Carrie Hinkel-Gill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to sink their teeth into a whodunit mystery
This book was pretty good and makes decent use of misdirection, however, because I wasn't surprised by the ending and figured it out before I even got to the last disc, I could only give this 4 stars. I listened to the unabridged version of this book.

The first time I tried listening to this book, I had trouble getting into it, so I put it down for awhile. This book relies heavily on description rather than "action" as it is a mystery/thriller/crime novel. This chronicles the main character's se...more
I have given this book 105 pages and it hasn't hooked me yet. The main reason I'm giving up on it is that I can do without all the cussing. I understand that some cussing might be needed in order to establish the character's personality, but when the main character is narrating the story you would think that the author could tone down the cussing just a bit. I also didn't like the fact that the main character seemes to love her husband one minute and the next she doesn't. She's a debutante and m...more
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I have circumnavigated the globe, throwing up in many of the world's airports as I hate to fly. I was born in Manhattan, and spent my childhood racketing around from New York to California to Oahu.

I know old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of my mother's family to live on Oyster Bay's Centre Island. I was subsequently raised near Big Sur by divo...more
More about Cornelia Read...
The Crazy School (Madeline Dare, #2) Invisible Boy (Madeline Dare, #3) Valley of Ashes Der Junge, den niemand sah: Kriminalroman (German Edition) Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying

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