Myriad things, mostly bad, happen in the dark: human monsters step out to prey on the vulnerable. But sometimes those with the strongest willpower find their strength arising from the ashes of terrible situations, as does Paris Peralta in Things We Do in the Dark, Jennifer Hillier's superb psychological thriller about survival.
Paris lived through horrific child abuse at the hands of her mother and sexual attacks from her mother's many boyfriends. She not only survived but also reinvented herself with a new identity, moved to Seattle and married Jimmy Peralta, once a popular and successful comedian. But her carefully curated life and long-held secrets may be exposed when she's arrested for murdering Jimmy, who was just about to launch a lucrative comeback. Tabloid headlines pounce on the facts: Paris was holding the bloody straight razor, and she's almost 30 years younger than the wealthy Jimmy. The press also ridicules her Filipino heritage. As Paris deals with her legal problems, Canadian journalist-turned-crime podcaster Drew Malcolm begins work on a project about Ruby Reyes, nicknamed the Ice Queen, who is being paroled after serving 25 years of a life sentence for murdering her rich, married lover.
This seventh novel from Hillier (Little Secrets; Jar of Hearts) moves briskly, with believable twists and emotionally damaged characters who refuse to allow their pasts to rule their present lives. Though the connection to the two plot threads may be obvious, Hillier skillfully ladles intense emotion and realism as Things We Do in the Dark reaches its jaw-dropping denouement. --Oline H. Cogdill, freelance reviewer