A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

A Flicker in the Dark is an impressive debut novel set in Louisiana. Chloe Davis is a psychologist with a troubled past. Her father has been in prison for twenty years, having murdered six young women, and the unresolved trauma, for which she self-medicates with pills and alcohol, leads her to behave in an irrational and often self-destructive way, imagining connections that might not be there.

The characters are well rounded and believable but flawed, and at some point in the narrative they all look guilty and appear to be hiding something. Stacy Willingham keeps pulling the rug out from under the reader, has you believing one thing then turns it on its head. Several times I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. Unlike most of the other reviewers, I did not guess what had happened, but then again I rarely do.

The writing is atmospheric and creepy, bringing the Louisiana setting vividly to life, but overly descriptive in places. I liked the way Chloe’s memories and flashbacks were woven into the narrative, avoiding the need for the more usual alternating past and present chapters.

There is a cinematic quality to the writing which probably explains why A Flicker in the Dark is to be made into a TV series. I look forward to watching it brought to life on the screen, and will certainly put the next book by this author on my reading list. Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.