Deborah Biancotti's Reviews > After the Darkness

After the Darkness by Honey Brown
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Apr 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: writer-women, aww2013

There's a line somewhere late in AFTER THE DARKNESS, about how brutality somehow manages to make a mockery of everything that isn't brutal.

That's what this book is about. It's a mockery of the non-brutal, told with such disarming conviction that you find yourself believing even the most outrageous circumstances, the most horrifying details. The book also, in a way, mocks the brutal, as each act of brutality ends in more chaos, more unexpected horror. More... darkness.

For me, somewhere around chapter two, the word 'masterful' appeared inside my skull and kept pulsing, dully, like dirty neon intermittently thereafter. Because this is a masterful book. Every time I thought I'd managed to work out where the story was going, the story did just that. It went there. For a chapter. It moved into the narrative I'd pictured the book becoming, & then it went right on out the other side - with everything worsening at each turn. The book then veered into new directions - new examples of violence or chaos, new badness, new misery. And like one of Pavlov's subjects, I was hooked. I would guess again. And again. I was completely at the author's mercy for this story (& frankly, there's not a lot of that in the book).

This is a savage psychological thriller. It's smart, it's sexy - yes, sexy - it's frightening, and it's beautifully, convincingly written. I loved this book, & I hope Brown does a dozen more just like it.

One of the great pieces of verisimilitude in this book (I dunno, are we writers the only people who use 'verisimilitude'? I so often can't find another word that matches it) is the family life. The cosy, awkward life of Trudy and Bruce and their three teenaged kids. The details of homework, horseriding, schooling, cooking, and visits to Gran's. The way this is threatened. The life that comes 'after'. And the other kinds of threats, not just of violence, but destruction of a kind - from the people that prey on the weak.

I can't say much: I don't want to give it away.

I wasn't a fan of the title at first, but I became convinced. During chapter 1, I thought I knew why it was called AFTER THE DARKNESS: because the book is not about what it appears to be about in chapter 1. It's about what comes *after* that. But by the end of the novel, I realised the title was even smarter than that. Because there is no after. When the darkness enters, there is only ... darkness.


#aww2013 no.04
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Tehani (new)

Tehani Darn. We didn't get this one for the AAs, even though she won one a couple of years ago! :(


Deborah Biancotti Aaaarghh, I was really hoping this one was entered. >:(


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