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The Essence of Darkness

2.49  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Five unexplained child disappearances have plagued the small town of St. Marys in the space of four months. All the elements indicate that these are abductions. FBI Special Agent Eliott Cooper is sent to investigate.

Little by little, he uncovers facts that he can’t rationally explain. Soon, he discovers that a dark and very ancient evil seems to have taken over the forest
Published April 11th 2020 by Moonlight
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Average rating 2.49  · 
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Apr 09, 2020 rated it liked it
The Essence of Darkness is a Horror/Mystery/Thriller. I love mysteries and thrillers and am working on getting a better grip on horror. This novel was translated from French and I think that the translation was a good one. 

Still, I had trouble liking the main character at all. He's described as handsome without being aware of it, a man that almost all women are attracted to, a great lover, great at his job with the FBI, but his aloofness, even when we are seeing the story through his eyes, made
Dee Arr
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
I found “The Essence of Darkness” an extremely difficult book to read. The dialogue is unrealistic (no one talks like this) and the lack of research on the subject matter is shocking. I was barely through this novel and the amount of errors was on its way to becoming a mountain.

The book is translated from the French, but I don’t think that is the problem. Author Thomas Clearlake loves a lot of description, but when it is allowed into the dialogue, the characters quickly become unrealistic. With
CYIReadBooks (Claire)
Apr 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley, dnf
I really wanted to like this book. I mean, I tried to finish it but at the 54% point it was getting difficult to carry on. The concept of the story might have been a good idea -- to mix mystery with horror, science fiction, and add some romance. Somehow, however, everything got disconnected. The story became "choppy" and at that point, all fluidity was lost.

There were some good points. The horror part of the story was horrific, and there were enough graphic details to make the story gory.

I wish
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
The basic premise of this book is a good one -- five children disappear from a small Pennsylvania town and the FBI comes to investigate. Soon the case morphs from a criminal investigation to something straight out of the X-files....there is something very, very wrong happening in St. Marys.

I have to be completely honest in my I am with every book I review. I had a hard time getting through this book. It was translated to English from the original French....I'm not sure if it lost so
Kelsie Maxwell
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Like Horror with a bit of Mystery/Thriller thrown in? Then The Essence of Darkness by Tom Clearlake should be on your to-be-read shelf. The novel was translated from French to English and the translation reads smoothly.

FBI Special Agent Eliott Cooper is assigned to investigate a series of disappearances in an otherwise peaceful town. Agent Cooper begins his investigation as he does all others, but is soon contemplating bizarre evidence. Are the strange revelations related to his original case o
The Essence of Darkness by Tom Clearlake is a book that I was very excited to read; unfortunately, it was a difficult read for me. This book was initially written in French and was translated into English; I am not sure if there was something lost in the translation because this book was all over the place. I love the mystery, thriller, and horror genres, but this book fell short trying to be all three of these genres all at the same time.

Agent Elliott Cooper is sent to the small town of St. Ma
Michelle Only Wants to Read
I made it to 10% of the book and I just could not keep reading this. The writing is so convoluted and repetitive. I was unable to get into the story either. I rarely do not finish a book. Especially one provided by NetGalley for review. I just couldn't continue. This was just very challenging. It makes me wonder if the essence of the book got totally lost from the translation from French to English.


I received a copy of this book by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
The Essence of Darkness by Tom Clearlake
I really am kind of at a loss of words to describe this book, it is so different than what I was is a mystery, it is sci-fi'ish, a touch of horror and a hint of romance, interesting premise with interesting characters, I know I know I am not really telling you what this book is about...I can tell you if you want a different read this may be the one for you, give it a try. This is my first from this author and I will be reading more. Thank y
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Nothing is as it seems in The Essence of Darkness by Frech writer Tom Clearlake.

That not only goes for the story but for the mish-mash of genres the novel falls within. FBI Special Agent Elliot Cooper ends up in a small town to investigate the disappearances of five children. The police procedural within the pages is nonexistent. It lacks believability on that end, which would have rooted the novel firmly in reality.

Tracking the children deep into the woods, Cooper uncovers an ancient hidden e
Dianah Hoving Stedman
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Five unexplained child disappearances have plagued the small town of St. Marys in the space of four months. All the elements indicate that these are abductions. FBI Special Agent Eliott Cooper is sent to investigate.

Little by little, he uncovers facts that he can’t rationally explain. Soon, he discovers that a dark and very ancient evil seems to have taken over the forests around the city. This is only the beginning of his investigation...

I was invited to read this and admit I haven
Many thanks to Moonlight Editions for offering me to read this book once translated into English.
This book is a rereading, I had read it in French version "L'essence des ténèbres". I find the translation from French to English well formatted. I had no problem understanding the story that I found so captivating, addictive, full of suspense and twists and turns with characters as endearing as ever.

We learn that in the small town of Saint-Marys there have been five unexplained disappearances of ch
Rob Twinem
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
FBI agent Eliott Cooper is tasked with finding 5 children who have disappeared in similar circumstances in a dark and mysterious wooded location. What starts out as a simple detective story explodes in the most unexpected way introducing elements of horror, science fiction and ancient rituals culminating in a human crisis…”a secret that has remained hidden for thousands of years”…A very enjoyable first novel, with an excellent translation from the original French, and boasting some stand out sna ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf-2020
I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis was good and had piqued my interest. The story has potential. It just didn’t deliver. The story lagged in a lot of places. The main character wasn’t very likable. I had trouble connecting with him. There were some contradicting scenes and or parts in the story. There are some good scenes. Just not enough to keep my interest. I had to DNF (did not finish) at 22%. This book wasn’t for me but it may be for someone else. If it catches your interest, ch ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
I received this as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Moonlight for giving me access.

Where do I find the words to express my opinions on this?

I am a big horror/thriller/mystery/paranormal fan. The premise of this book is what drew me in, child disappearances in a small town? Sign me up!

Now, there was child disappearances and all that, but the execution on the story was lacking. The dialogue jumped around a lot and it seemed like the author eve
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
When I read the description of The Essence of Darkness, I imagined this book would be a horror with supernatural aspects. And I guess it is, in its own way. However, I only made it 15% of the way through before I gave up. 15% of the way through got me to Day 16 of FBI Agent Eliot Cooper's investigation into the unexplained disappearances of 5 children in rural Pennsylvania.

This book is a translation from French to English.,and French is clearly the author's first language. Though the actual tra
Lou Jacobs
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
What starts off as a FBI police procedural suddenly plunges into a mystical thriller. In small town St Marys , Pennsylvania 5 small children have mysteriously disappeared without an apparent clue. Special agent Scott Cooper is sent to investigate the suspected kidnappings. Instead of uncovering a heinous crime, he stumbles upon a diabolical ritual involving 3 mystical women (witches?) and a child sacrifice.. He intervenes by unloading his gun into the apparent high priestess, only to have her di ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, netgalley
I was really looking forward to reading this one, however, I think it’s just a bit too...unpolished (?) for me. I do feel the translation from French to English was well done.

The Essence of Darkness starts off with an FBI agent investigating 5 missing children in a small rural area. I don’t like to give spoilers, so I’m just going to say that once he goes off searching in the woods alone, the story takes on a more sci fi/paranormal-ish type of turn, with romance thrown in there as well.

I think
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

The Essence of Darkness was poorly formatted with strange spaces between words and no formatting to define the dialogue.  And that dialogue was just plain strange, reading more like a screenplay than a novel.  I understand the author usually writes in French so I can say that the book was well translated although could use some heavy editing. 

I was really close to a DNF at less than 20%, but decided to stick it out.  Just
Apr 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
This novel was translated from its original French version and had a synopsis that was very intriguing. Missing children in the small town of St. Mary’s with the hint of an old and forgotten evil lurking behind the scenes. I couldn’t resist the temptation of this mystery thriller steeped in the genre of horror.

Unfortunately, what started as a captivating read quickly turned into a very in-depth rollercoaster that took too many directions. Missing children, romance, global war, viral pandemic, w
Richard K. Wilson
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
First off, i want to thank the publisher and the author, Tom Clearlake and Netgalley for advancing me this opportunity with the Paperback ARC to review. As this being a novel that is translated from an originally French publishing, it tends to get lost in translation at times, with that said let me tell you this was definitely what i was expecting, and this is a good thing. FBI agent Elliott Cooper takes on a case of 5 missing small children, ages 3 to 5 in the small town of St. Mary's in Pennsy ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-netgalley
From reading the book description, I thought that this story would be about an FBI agent working to discover what happened to five missing children. That played a small role in The Essence of Darkness as this was not a police procedural with a supernatural element. Special Agent Eliott Cooper may have been chosen to investigate these crimes, but his first trip into the woods bordering the disappearances, lead him in a whole other direction.
The story quickly shifts into something ancient and evil
Amber Slagle
Apr 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
Nope, I'm sorry, but I just can't finish this book. Were the details and transitions lost in translation? I could not follow the story. It jumped around and there was barely any dialog.

My tipping point in the book was when the blackish cloud rose from the ground to seek out the moist warmth of the priestess, then slipped into her open crotch. I paraphrased this part, but you can get the picture. These are some interesting visualizations. It seemed like the author got lost in the details and for
Josephine Sorrell
May 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Five unexplained child disappearances have plagued the small town of St. Marys all within the span of four months. While tracking the children deep into the woods, FBI agent Elliot Cooper uncovers an ancient hidden evil. This is a book of horror, mystery, and supernatural. Interspersed are hints of religious orders and secret organizations making this quite the thriller.
The Essence of Darkness follows a gripping subject matter but the main character along with the writing did not keep my intere
Jessica Reads It
Essence of Darkness is a supernatural horror story that will have you wondering what sick and twisted mind conjured these truly terrifying words. Tom Clearlake is a French author so this book was a translation which was actually pretty good compared to other experiences I’ve had.

Reading Essence of Darkness felt like driving with your eyes closed- your heart is racing, you start sweating profusely, your mind starts racing with thoughts and you think you might throw up from the unknown!

Essence o
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book from the author. I had the opportunity to review or not.

A highly experienced, intelligent FBI agent is sent to a small town in Pennsylvania to find and bring back, alive, some very young children that have gone missing without a trace of evidence. They were not seen or heard; nor had they been left alone and yet they were gone. It is Agent Elliot Cooper’s job to find out what happened and bring the abductor to justice. A job he is entirely capable of completin
Shauna Morrison
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I requested and received an e-ARC of this book from Tom Clearlake and Moonlight publishers through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book has been translated from the original French text. I will say that I found the writing to be more verbose than I enjoy but this may be a style of writing more commonly used in French books. The first half of the book included a lot of detailed and lengthy descriptions that almost made me give up on the book. Once that background information was l
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
While this novel has some great ideas, the storyline seems awkwardly constructed and executed. I'm wondering if it would be a smoother read in the original French. Interesting premise, less than elegant execution.
Jacqueline Seaman
May 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
**I received this complimentary book from Net Galley for review purposes. The review is my own thoughts, words, and opinion of the book and has not been coerced or compensated.**

I LOVE a good mystery, I love a good thriller, I like Sci-Fi, I am not a big fan of romance books but can tolerate it when it enhances the story…

This book, whether intentionally or not was a confusing hodge-podge of ALL those genres, and not a good mixture either. This book threw together witches, aliens, science, ancie
Apr 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: net-galley, awful, horror, dnf
The premise of this one caught my attention - missing children and the hints of some kind of spooky supernaturalness tied to the deep woods of Pennsylvania. When I first realized that it was translated fiction, my hopes sunk somewhat because I do feel like translations can be so hit or miss. In the past, I would stick to the end of the book no matter what, but in recent years, I have tried to instill some rules to stop me from wasting time on anything that I am not really enjoying. And while I d ...more
Nathalie Roth
The story starts with the kidnapping of 5 kids. The F.B.I is sending Elliott Cooper (a Special Agent) to investigate and to bring them back.

So, I got some 'serial killer' vibe here which is ... okay. Then, very quickly it changed for Paranormal/Mystery/Horror genre with some unknown megalithic stones, some possible witches and dark rituals which is ... okay, you got me! But that's not it because the story switched again with the addition of some secret beings (billion of years old) ... alright,
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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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