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A Darker Place

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,932 ratings  ·  129 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
The difference between mainstream and genre, or so I'm told, is that mainstream gives us character, back story, and theme in greater depth than genre. The trouble is, mainstream can also be padded, flabby, and dull, trapped in the Big Book syndrome, in which a scene that should run no longer than 400 words stretches to 4,000. My all-time favori
ebook, 512 pages
Published October 14th 2009 by Bantam (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Fascinating and engrossing thus far.

ADDENDUM: Marvelous; I especially love the snippets provided from Wakely's case notes and lectures which precede each chapter. Though I suspect I will never love or dissolve as easily into any book of hers as I did The Beekeeper's Apprentice (which world I found myself physically aching for after having finished it), I liked this quite a lot. Perhaps the only reason I haven't given it a full five stars is because the central working behind Change is one that d
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joyce Lagow
Laurie King has a Master's Degree in theology from Union Theological Seminary; religion has been a life-long interest, not to say passion. The subject shows up in a number of her works, mainly the Mary Russell series, and in this, a stand-alone novel, although it makes an appearance in the Kate Martinelli series as well.[return][return]The protagonist of A Darker Place is Anne Waverley, a middle-aged professor in an Oregon university. Anne's specialty--alternative religious movements--has involv ...more
Bridgette Redman
Rarely have I read an author with the literary courage and skill of Laurie King. It’s easy to be reactionary when dealing with a controversial topic. It’s easy to be formulaic when writing in the mystery or thriller genre. She does neither. Instead, King tackles a polarizing topic with incredible sensitivity and creativity in a way that shatters stereotypes.

What A Darker Place is

A Darker Place is a book of journeys. It is the journey of Anne Waverly as an undercover agent entering a religious co
It's been a long time since a book has captured me as thoroughly as this one. The development of the main character was bumpy at first, then settled into a gentle swell. Her backstory evolved in a unique way, deepening as the plot grew more compelling, simultaneously enriching the plot.

At times the raw foreboding was too much to endure; I would put the book down in order to get my bearings. It was the perfect book for my recovery from surgery-- just enough intellectual punch to tantalize, just
By the end of this stand-alone story I was so thoroughly disgruntled that I'd spent several hours of my life reading about characters unlikeable and un-engaging, that I tore the book in half and used it to level a tilting appliance in order for the door to swing open unimpeded.

This from a book-lover no less. I wanted to feel guilty: it was a very satisfying tear.

Although I enjoy Laurie King's other two mystery series (Russell/Holmes & Kate Martinelli), this dreary little book didn't ring my
This is one of Laurie R. King's, my favorite contemporary writer, stand alone books, or not part of her spectacular Mary Russell series, or her riveting and diametrically opposed Kate Martinelli series. Anne Waverly. I find it interesting in this age of ageism, that the heroine or main character is a 48 year old woman, going gray, perhaps on the verge of going all pear shaped, and yet...she can not be kept down, aggressively sexual, not afraid to get what she needs to maintain her delicate menta ...more
King has a least two 'series' sets going, one following Mary Russel--the one-time protege of Sherlock Holmes, who now appears as her husband--and one following an SFPD cop from the 1990s, who happens to be a dyke and who happens to be hilarious.

Now, in A Darker Place, she introduces a new protagonist (Anne Waverly), but does so in a way that makes it seem as if she's already written at least three books about her. The references to this character's past are so elaborate, so detailed, and yet the
I found this paperback sitting on my shelf so I wonder if I read it before, but I don't I remember doing so. And I should have remembered because it is very well written and gave me so much to think about. The main character is an older women, a professor of religion who has built "a persona on the wreckage of her former life. She had paved over the rubble, sealed up the debris of catastrophe with the clear, hard shell of academic discipline." Each chapter begins with extracts from her lessons o ...more
The only reason I stuck with this book was because I have enjoyed other books by Laurie R. King and basically thought she was a very good writer. Initially, I liked the premiss of the book -- an academic who specializes in religion and cults has functioned as a police consultant and is called again to duty -- a fourth. Anne Waverly, the professor, is always haunted by an 18 year experience with a cult in which she lost her husband and daughter. She is supposed to infiltrate the cult known as the ...more
A slow moving but psychologically intense look at cults, this novel refuses to be defined. It is a sometimes bleak but rewarding look at Alchemy - the concespt that people change when put under pressure is one that has made me think of this book over and over.

At the time much of Kings other works were a bit lighter in tone, even the sometimes grim Kate Martinelli series, so this novel was a bit of a shock for those wanting to cozy up to Russell and Holmes. Not for those who are uncomfortable wit
Lisa Weber
In King's Mary Russell novels, I have come to expect the writing of Laurie R. King to be intelligent, well researched, and exciting, with consistent characters and well thought out plot lines. Unfortunately, a Darker Place, my first excursion into one of King's non-Sherlock worlds, left me frustrated and hugely disappointed. I found the novel fraught with inconsistent reasoning, and confusing, unexplained choices repeatedly made by the protagonist. Worse, the entire premise of the story is unsub ...more
A Darker Place is the story of Anne Waverly, a college professor who goes undercover for the FBI to evaluate religious cults. I was fascinated for the first half of the book, not only by the unusual characters and their finely detailed development, but also by the in-depth information about cults and how they are evaluated by the government (much of it delivered in headnotes to each chapter).

But as the book progressed, it became less about these topics and more about the superficial resolution
A fun read, although fun may be the wrong word for a story about a very scarred woman going undercover to infiltrate a religious group suspected of being dangerous. Enveloping, might be a better word, perhaps? An exploration of transformation, wrapped up in a mystery plot.

My only quibble: With a few exceptions,* I grow to resent an omniscient narrator who rubs it in. If the third-person narrator essentially inhabits the skull of one protagonist at a time, it is jarring for that narrator to step
I had to wait a few weeks to write my review, I just could not rehash this book so soon after reading it, it was that disturbing for me. This was a powerful book grappling with the forces of good and evil within the context of religious community. Laurie King is a master of character development and I have never felt more empathy for her characters than I did in this book. The story develops as a sort of train wreck. You know something terribly bad is going to happen but you are praying it doesn ...more
This is the novel I started to read after reading the Mary Russell series.(Which I loved) YIKES! This will be on my would-not-recommend-to-anyone list. I coudn't get very far into the book before it became disgustingly, sexually graphic. BIG ick! Wouldn't recommend any of Laurie's other books if they are like this.
The book started with an interesting premise. Eighteen years before Anne Waverly, her husband, and her daughter belonged to a cult in Texas. Anne became suspicious about the cult leader and left for a few days. She returned to find her husband and daughter as well as everyone else in the group dead from a group suicide. Of course she was devastated.

She later became a religion professor and also worked undercover for the FBI several times in investigating cults. Now she has once again been recrui
I am a big fan of Laurie R. King, especially her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes stories, so I was interested in reading about a new and different character. A Darker Place was good, even gripping at points, but was a bit of a mush, with a main character who couldn't decide if she was a savior or a nut case.

Anne Waverly, the protagonist, had a quiet life as a professor but a sad back story. Her child and husband had been murdered by a cult leader many years previously and she had since infiltrated
The mass suicide by members of the Heaven's Gate cult in 1997 may explain why I originally thought of A Darker Place by Laurie R. King as a book about cults. I read it soon after it was published in 1999. Cults were in the news, and here was an inside look at what goes on in one. But this riveting novel is about much more than that, as I recently discovered when I reread it. King brilliantly weaves the theme of self-transformation into the nonstop action, when the FBI, suspicious of a cult calle ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
I didn't like this as much as the other books by Laurie King. The premise wasn't as interesting and there were long periods of soul searching by the main character that I found to be very boring. Still, it did have some very interesting twists and turns and was worth reading. King is just such a good author, I think I was expecting too much.

The story is about Professor Anne Waverley, a university religion teacher and expert at infiltrating cults for the FBI. As a young woman, she and her husband
Anne Waverly is a strong woman, made tough by years of personal pain. She is a professor of theology, a national expert on religious cults and chosen by the FBI to infitrate "Change", a religious group. Anne becomes Ana, and must protect the unsuspecting members of the cult from its leaders. In the process she becomes attached to twoo of the group's youngest members, something that may prove disastrous for her. I love the strong female characters L. R. King creates. I particularly like that they ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Fascinating. Both the context of a modern, original cult under surveillance by law enforcement, and the heroine herself -- religious studies Professor Anne Waverly.

King likes to head each chapter w. some sort of passage. This time, it was multi-media - sometimes a drawing or hand-written math calculations by one of the characters, sometimes an excerpt from a letter or report or lecture transcript or book by Waverly.

Anne Waverly is truly a mystery that isn't solved by book's
Karyn Niedert
I've recently discovered Laurie R. King and am starting with her stand alone novels before I tackle either the Mary Russell or Kate Martinelli series.

Laurie R. King has a writing style that I really enjoy, and she keeps the story churning down a solid path. Her heroine, Anne Waverly, is a college professor haunted by the death of her husband and young daughter. She seeks forgiveness for their deaths by infiltrating cults for the FBI. King did a tremendous job fleshing out Waverly's character as
Beth Allen
Nov 02, 2008 Beth Allen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I would like to rate this book between 3.5 and 5, but Goodreads won't let me do that.

Anne Waverly is a professor of religion, and in her spare time, she infiltrates cults for the FBI. Anne is qualified to do this work, because years ago she was a member of a cult.

I liked this book for many reasons:

--Anne is a middle-aged woman with creaky, hurting bones, and a past filled with mistakes, just like me!

--Unlike me, Anne's husband and daughter were killed, years before this story starts, and Anne fe
The first 100 pages of this book are about Anne Waverly's (the protagonist) experiences with infiltrating religious cults. I kept wondering if I had missed other books in the series as the references seemed to assume the reader knew more of the story behind each of the three cults Anne had been involved with. The rest of the book deals with Anne's infiltration of a cult that wants to achieve transformation through alchemy. The details of the cult and the conversations between Anne and cult leade ...more
Cindy Saunders
Excellent book. A professor of world religions who barely survived a mass suicide with a cult becomes useful to the FBI in entering other cults to judge their probability of problems ( mass suicide, child endangerment, abusive practices). Ann Waverly is very interesting as a person; her relationships are mixed with her disguised personality not always able to persevere over her real personality. Very good book!
Not nearly as good as the Mary Russell series. I was really drawn into the protagonist's role in infiltrating a religious cult and was expecting a lot more out of the experience. I thought the book wrapped up too soon and too abruptly without resolution for the two children that Anne became attached to. Perhaps this opens the door to a series for Anne Waverly? I'd give it a chance if so.
Anne Waverly is a college professor who's past as a cult member enables her to infiltrate other suspect cults for the FBI. She's done this 4 times in the past and when Glen McCarthy comes to her for help again with a cult known as Change, she's reluctant, but agrees to do it.

Years ago Anne lost her husband and daughter to a cult suicide after she decided to leave and it's cost her, not only her family, but her sense of self. In a way, returning to these cults is a punishment and in others it's h
Jill Holmes
Although this is not my favorite book by Laurie R. King, I still greatly enjoyed the sense of suspense and mystery she wove into the story centered around a curious cult. Most of the action takes place at two of the cult's centers in Arizona and England, and the author captures the strange and contrasting beauty of both places admirably. Our "hero" is Dr. Anne Waverly, a professor of religious studies and occasional cult infiltrant hired by the FBI. Her personal relationships, history, intellige ...more
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Edgar-winning mystery writer Laurie R. King writes series and standalone novels. Her official forum is
THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads--please join us for book-discussing fun.

King's most recent novel, Dreaming Spies, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from Japan to Oxford, in a case with international players and personal meaning. The Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series foll
More about Laurie R. King...
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1) A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2) O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5) A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3) The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)

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