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Places in the Dark
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Places in the Dark

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  394 ratings  ·  37 reviews
It is autumn 1937 when a mystery woman appears in Port Alma, a sea village nestled on the chilly coast of Maine. A fragile, green-eyed beauty, the woman arrives with little more than the clothes on her back and a wealth of unspoken secrets.

Before a year goes by, she will flee Port Alma on the same bus that brought her there. But before she goes, she will irrevocably alter
Paperback, 281 pages
Published February 27th 2001 by Bantam Books (first published May 2nd 2000)
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3.5 Stars. After reading Edgar-nominated Sandrine's Case last year, I became a huge fan of Thomas H. Cook and was thrilled to discover his extensive back list which I immediately bought up and filled my shelves and audiobook player with. Places in the Dark is the first one of those backlist titles I've gotten around to (I feel somehow comforted knowing they are all there waiting for me).

The story was, as evidenced by my rating, somewhat less than compelling than Sandrine's Case, yet still a soli
I’ve been disappointed with Thomas H Cook’s more recent novels but reading this, one of his earlier works, I am reminded what a terrific writer he can be. The familiar themes of longing and regret, the small town setting and the pervasive air of melancholy make for a bittersweet read. This is quality crime fiction. There is a similarity to these earlier novels which makes me understand his wanting to broaden his canvas but I think it’s a case of less is more. The newer novels just don’t capture ...more
The critics seem to adore Cook and have described Places in the Dark as “a serpentine tale of long-buried secrets leading to murder and betrayal” (The Orlando Sentinel) and “complex, multi-layered and haunting” (Romantic Times).

The story concerns brothers William and Cal who grow up in an idyllic seaside town in Maine in the 1930s. They are as different as night and day: William an energetic dreamer who rushes through life filled with hope and enthusiasm and Cal, the older more pragmatic brothe
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Excellent read!

I have a soft spot for novels that are narrated in the first person but tell a story that isn't so much about the narrator but someone they know well. Thomas Cook's Places in the Dark, published in 2000, is just such a book. I loved Cook's award-winning The Chatham School Affair and can't quite figure out why I waited so long to read another of his novels. He's a masterful storyteller and not only does he write well but his plotting is assured and suspenseful. He manages to breath
This was my first introduction to Thomas Cook and it will definitely not be my last. The book is centered around a mysterious woman, Dora March, who appears out of nowhere in a small town in New England, and dramatically affects the lives of two brothers that fall under her spell. One brother, the editor of the local newspaper, falls in love with her and hires her on at the paper after her rich, elderly employer dies. The older brother, a lawyer and the local prosecutor, is wary of the woman and ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Places in the Dark, by Thomas H. Cook, B-plus, narrated by George Guidall, produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

Cal is a quiet studious lawyer who doesn’t allow his feelings to show. He takes after his father who ran the newspaper in the town. Cal’s brother, Billy, takes after their mother and has passion and believes he’ll find the one true love meant just for him. A young mysterious woman comes to town, named Dora March. Tragedies start occurring which seem in some way to in
I think I'd call it just okay. I thought it was having trouble trying to decide whether it was a mystery, a novel, love story...I do believe I could like others of this author's works though. I had trouble staying attentive to it. Just my personal taste here, probably.
V.R. Barkowski
PLACES IN THE DARK by Thomas H. Cook is the story of two brothers caught between a single mysterious woman. When one of the brothers is murdered and the woman suddenly disappears, the other brother, convinced she’s involved in the crime, becomes obsessed with finding her. I’m going to make this short and sweet. Cook is one of the finest mystery authors writing today. His prose is exquisite, his characters beautifully drawn and his psychological insights compelling. Why he isn’t better known elud ...more
This was a really gook book! A totally different plot from his other books, which I found very similar to each other. Really well-written, moody, suspenseful.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
From Amazon "In the fall of 1937, a mysterious woman, Dora March, steps off the bus in the small seaside town of Port Alma, Maine and enters the lives of two brothers: Cal, who always leads with his head and William, who always leads with his heart. Though she stays in town only a year, her presence changes their lives forever, leaving one dead and the other almost crazy with guilt. Places in the Dark is a suspenseful, compelling page turner that keeps you off balance throughout the entire book. ...more
Cook is really fine at building suspense, slowly revealing detail, understanding the psychology of his characters and working on your, the readers, mind.
Psychological suspense; kept me guessing to the very end with the unexpected. Will definitely read more by this author.
***3.5 Stars***I’ve either read or will read most of Thomas H. Cook’s books. All of them are very good, in my opinion. Most of them are not so much a whodunit as they are character studies, told in flashbacks with layers of the mystery peeled away slowly as the story develops. I listened to this one, which was suspenseful with a twist in the end. If I had any complaints, it was the narrator, who sounded like Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffith Show. That was distracting. Otherwise, the story ...more
Jo Marie
Excellent psychological thriller. Kept me in suspense until the very end.
Thomas H. Cook is a very good writer, no doubt about it. The prose is beautiful and the plot intricate. There is a surprise around every corner. Nothing is as it seems. Two brothers in love with the same woman seems like such an over-done subject but Cook finds ways to make it new. Having said all that I cannot say I enjoyed the book. For me it was too sad to be endured. Too much darkness in a book dims the light of fine writing. For some it might be a great read but not for me.
This book had the feel of an old classic movie. Somewhat like ones that we use to be able to watch on the PBS station years ago, Saturday Night at the Movies with Elwy Yost. I could just picture Jimmy Stewart playing the brother who was the newspaper editor and the other brother could be played by Tyrone Power. I picture Barbara Stanwyck playing the mystery woman. I did enjoy it and it did surprise me actually. Nothing spectacular but a good read just the same.
I really wanted to like this book, I loved Cloud of Unknowning by him. I think that is why I kept reading. Honestly though, I was never drawn into the book. I didn't care about the characters and I just wanted to skip to the end. It took me a long time to read because I didn't feel grabbed by it and I didn't need to pick it up. The best part of the book was the last ten pages because there were some interesting twists, but it wasn't the best travel to get there.
I picked this book up at a house while I was vacationing in Japan. It was slow to get into but once you're in it, it takes you in completely. I brought this book out and read it in the train and lost myself in Cal's world and found myself wanting to know as much as he did what happened with Billy and Dora. Anyhow, I came back home and ordered his books from Amazon since I couldn't find it in the bookstores and borrowed the rest from the library.
I have never read any of Cook's books but am glad I did - I will read more. The book is set primarily in Maine, in 1937 - the 'Great Depression' is a perfect stage for the story & Cook helps you understand exactly how life was at the time. While suspense infiltrates the story, it is not written in a heavy-handed way. Until the end I wavered between 2 possible outcomes & I was happy to find a third, much better ending.
Dec 05, 2010 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
An interesting, well written little thriller, if somewhat staid. I tend to like my crime novels with a wee bit more spice than this had, which verged more toward "Victorian Bodice Ripper", than James Lee Burke ultra-violence. I think this is the type of book that I'll struggle to remember at the end of the year, but I will put Cook on the list of novelists I might return to when I can't think of any others.
Last night I stayed up way (way!) past my bedtime to finish PLACES IN THE DARK by Thomas H. Cook. This novel is a real page-turner, yet the author still takes time to fully develop each character, and to create a sense of setting and atmosphere that enhances the mystery. Mr. Cook is known for writing award-winning psychological suspense. I will definitely read more of his work!
Cook's writing is very formulaic. From the beginning we know that someone has been murdered or died tragically. The narrator knows more then the other characters and the mystery is eventually revealed. Generally does a good job but in this case, I was going to give this book a 4 up until the last few pages. Don't find the twist at the end believable so will go with only 3.
"just a novel" - "just a mystery" - This book will change your life, ... if you've ever been a child.

"What did you sense in Molly Hendricks? That she was going to be hurt?"

"That she'd already been hurt."

"And that looked like ... what?"

"Helplessness. Like someone was holding her down."

"Why didn't I see it?"

"Because it's never happened to you."
Sandy Kell
I can understand why many rate this highly, because he is clearly an accomplished writer, but it was way too depressing for my taste, plus I never really cared much for any of the characters.
Very easy read and interesting as it takes place in Maine back in 1937 in a small sea village, so to me it has an erie, ghost like read to it and a good ending. Nice passion mystery.
Grace bought this for me for Christmas which I promptly read by my mother -in-law's real fire with a wine or two that Christmas holiday
Uhmm nice writing style but I just couldn't get into the story. Two brothers in love with same woman.
Marjorie Kubacki
Interesting story which tends to be melodramatic.
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Thomas H. Cook has been praised by critics for his attention to psychology and the lyrical nature of his prose. He is the author of more than 30 critically-acclaimed fiction books, including works of true crime. Cook published his first novel, Blood Innocents, in 1980. Cook published steadily through the 1980s, penning such works as the Fra
More about Thomas H. Cook...
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