Thursday, March 18, 2021

5 STARS! Book Review- Novel by John D. Bethel- Holding Back the Dark ---A Unique, Focused, Realistic Roller Coaster Ride!


Greeting Murder Bookies! We have great news for you!  While we remain 100% committed to telling our true crime stories, we are branching out! In addition to our Murder Shelf Book Club podcast, which focuses on true crime books, we are now entering the world of fiction by reviewing novels.  Not just any novels, but those that delve into serial killers, crime, investigation, psychological thrills and the pursuit of justice.  Those books that entertain us and provide an escape from the horrors and deep pain of real- life stories, I will be reviewing for your pleasure! And-- Tada! Here is my first review!  

As a purveyor of true crime, I enjoy gritty novel that engage one's intellect. I was delighted to read Holding Back the Dark by John D. Bethel. It opens with a shocking gory crime scene, establishing the
dark tone for the setting of his story, placed in the corrupt side of Las Vegas. Bethel has created a host of complex characters with multiple plotlines intersecting across the story he weaves at a breathtaking pace that leave you fully engaged from page one through the last.  I was there 'with' his investigators, Acting Sheriff William Lattimore, and FBI Special Agent Charlotte "Charlie" Rhodes, as they threw back some beers and joked, laughing along, completely engrossed as one of the team as they broke down the clues and debated their strategy.  How are they going to apprehend the serial killer that is lose among the masses they are sworn to protect? When they grew frustrated, I shared it, turning page after page, concerned about my new friends and what they were going through.  I was totally 'in it' with them, waiting on lab results, waiting for the willy killer to screw up, if he will at all.  Other authors attempt to create realistic banter; Bethel succeeds and nails it perfectly.  

Toss in the exquisite and accurate research he introduces painlessly to move the story forward, with so much happening that I simply could not anticipate.  Peppered throughout the novel is the anonymous "He", the killer, with insights into his psyche that ae not for the faint of heart.  I couldn't possibly enjoy a novel more.  Unique, focused, realistic, I am reading more from Mr. Bethel, because it is a great escape from the current woes, we are all experiencing in early 2021.  If you are struggling with binge fatigue, get a copy of Holding Back the Dark. You will not regret it.

You might want to begin your psychological journey with Mr. Bethel's previous novel, Unheard of, the prequel to this adventure  I also highly recommend this as the introduction to the series he is writing. 


-Jill-

Co-Host Murder Shelf Book Club