Monday, June 1, 2015

Ask the Dark by Henry Turner


This review was written by: C
Received: ARC from the Publisher
Publication Date of Book: April 2015
Pages: 256 (Hardcover)
Stars: 2/5

Short summary of the book:
Billy Zeets lives in a small town with a dark secret. Young boys have been going missing, and their bodies are not always turning up close to home. The town is filled with missing posters and absolutely no leads. Enacting a curfew and accusing an innocent are the only two things that the authorities have accomplished.
Billy is just trying to live his complicated life. Once a notorious thief, he has turned his life around in order to honor his mother’s dying wish of Billy attaining a better and honest life. His father has done all that he possibly can to pay the bills and support Billy and his sister. However, a horrible accident has left him injured and unable to work. Billy’s father has given up on life, and they are about to lose the only home they have. Billy refuses to accept this reality and the responsibility of making an astronomical amount of money when paying off their debt falls upon his shoulders. On top of that, he has to straighten out his rebellious sister who begins to date the notorious Bad-Ass Ricky.
Billy is struggling with finding work and making the payment before time is up. He sticks to simple schemes to gain wealth, including mowing lawns and helping out friends. He soon relapses into his old habits and tries to resort to stealing anything of value that can be sold to make an easy profit. His thievery leads him to discover that the killer is closer to home than originally believed. Billy soon begins to pick up clues and forms a possible conclusion as to who the kidnapper and murderer truly is. Boys are still going missing and Billy’s information could bring them home safely. However, due to his past, the police would never believe a word Billy says and the killer is closing in on him, too. Will he save the missing children in time, or will his good intentions fall to ruin?

My thoughts on the book:
I would have to say that I do not read contemporary mystery books very often because I never seem to find a plot that grabs my attention and keeps me interested. The beginning of the book already fills you in on how the entire story is supposed to end and the following chapters explain how everything comes to pass. It also does not contain real dialogue; therefore, Billy is relaying what happened and what everyone said. The only other book like this that I have read would be Project Cain, but this novel just did not do it for me. I was a bit bored as I read most of it. I feel that this is the result of a lack of fast-paced action considering the fact that this is a murder mystery. I also have qualms with the fact that you understand the clues and where the story is going way before the main character does. However, I feel as though the idea for Ask the Dark was interesting, but how it was conveyed was not as spectacular.
I do have to give the author props for writing the entire book in the exact way that the characters actually speak. You do not have to imagine the accent or pronunciation of words because he writes every sentence just as you would hear it if you were speaking to a character directly (For example, week is written as we-). The ending of the story is also a redeemable quality for this book. It took me awhile to get interested in the plot because I was frustrated that it took Billy so long to figure out how the clues connected, however, he was smarter than everyone else in the sense that he was the only one capable of collecting clues and evidence to finally piece it together. The ending scenes with Billy confronting the killer and being taken were well written and drew me in. I feel as if the climax was the best part of the book, and I was happy with how the story concluded.

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