Literature

A Marvelously-Written Story With Strong Characters And Deception | “The Darkest Web” by Kristin Wright (2022) Book Review

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing an Advanced Reader Copy. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Whether it be TV series or in books, telling a story occurring even partly in courtrooms is very hard. There is an easy chance that it becoming too complicated to follow or too dry a tale. Lawyers do some investigation, either to prove their client is innocent or to divert the case from their guilty client, though it can never rival the level of adrenaline one gets from the thrill of the chase that are frequently portrayed in police-procedural thrillers. “The Darkest Web” written by Kristin Wright achieves the rare feat of keeping the readers hooked despite the shortcomings of its subgenre.

This is the second book in the Allison Barton series. Allison is a small-town defense lawyer who is retained by Jane Knudsen, her former law school roommate, when Jane becomes the most likely suspect in the murder of her firm’s senior associate. Despite them being roommates for a year, Allison really doesn’t know anything about Jane, who is extremely attractive though she had always been reticent about showing her true self to anyone. In the law firm she works, Jane has the reputation of being a workaholic with no personal connections whatsoever.

Jane’s secretive nature and her unwillingness to open herself to anyone makes her look guilty to the police. How will Allison try this case? Does she believe that her client is innocent? If so, how does she proceed in proving her innocence? Who is the actual murderer? What is Jane’s big secret that she is guarding at all costs, even if it causes her to lose her case? Read the book to find out.

Wright uses these two women as pivotal characters to tell a compelling story of women’s lost voices, their untold anguish and the unfairness they face regularly. I don’t want to give away even a small glimpse of the story’s endgame but I will just say this: a dark web is an important metaphor in the story but the author’s portrayal of it just about wrenched my heart and made me furious all at the same time.

I can’t say the reveal of the actual culprit was too surprising — you can see it coming to a certain extent. But the way the story gets there is the novelty of the book. The author takes us through the various vagaries of human nature and their proclivities and exposes the darker sides of human nature, from the seemingly idiotic to the most cruel, all the while making us follow two well-developed characters that make the journey enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Jane and Allison; they start in quite a contentious place but end in a place of great personal growth. I loved the way the author makes the reader question themselves, their prejudices and preconceptions. I had quite a few insightful moments myself.

Overall, this is a marvelously-written story of strong characters with a great emotional connection. It’s a book that is not to be missed.

The book gets 5 out of 5 stars with an additional ovation from my side

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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