Skip to main content

Review of "Deep Dark" by Laura Griffin

Deep DarkDeep Dark is the newest Tracers series novel by Laura Griffin.  I first heard about it through the XOXO Afterdarkcast and was excited about a romantic thriller involving a white hat hacker fighting a black hat hacker/serial killer.  Pretty much every procedural has done something involving the Dark Web and I figured that the title of this book implied that this would be the focus of the narritive.  Unfortunately, my expectations were far off the mark this time.

Laney Knox is a hacker for the Delphi Center, a private forensics facility in Austin, Texas.  She spends her days hacking into websites to assess their security weaknesses or helping out various federal agencies.  She's just finished working a big case for the government when she learns that a friend was murdered and the police have no leads.  She takes it on herself to give them some.

Detective Reed Novak is recently divorced and bitter with it.  His wife accused him of loving his job with the Austin PD more than he loved her and she used that as an excuse to cheat on him.  Still dealing with his anger over his ex's betrayal, he's thrust into a horrific murder scene and finds himself facing a serial killer with the ability to stalk his victims through their digital footprint.  Reluctantly, he turns to Laney for help and the two must work together the stop a serial killer before he claims his next victim.

This book is really the victim of poor marketing.  It is billed as being a cyberspace thriller--a killer using the internet to find and stalk his victims--and while at face value this is true, it isn't exactly a thriller.  For one, the pacing was seriously off; it moved so slow for most of the book before finally picking up speed towards the end, but at this point it was a little too late for me.  Action-packed it was not.

As for the cyber part, this was the weakest part of the plot.  The killer does use the internet to stalk his victims, but it isn't really something we're shown, either from his POV or from Laney's.  We're told that he's using his victims' webcams to watch them without their knowledge or consent and we're told that he finds them through a dating website that he's hacked into through a crack in the site's security, but we're not shown how he's doing it.  What we get is Laney saying she's this great hacker, but again, we don't see it.

Another issue I have with this book is that it isn't very descriptive.  Sitting here, I'm having trouble picturing either Laney or Reed.  I know she's flat chested (or near enough that her former lovers have apparently commented on it), that he's broad chested, and that at the end of the book Laney's got pink hair (or at least a pink streak).  It is hard to read a book and not know what the characters look like; it makes it difficult to picture things.  (When I was in 6th grade, my English class was tasked with writing a short story and when I got mine back my teacher had lowered my grade because I failed to describe things well.  She explained to me that she just couldn't see what I saw in my head when she was reading, which wasn't something I'd considered.  However, I was 11 and I'm assuming Ms. Griffin is not 11, so as someone who isn't a child and does have a fairly large backlist, she should know this.)

I also had a problem with the romance between Reed and Laney--there really wasn't one.  Yes, there was attraction and several sex scenes, but I just didn't feel an emotional connection between the two.  Definitely not enough of one for there to be declarations of love at the end (which there were).  They didn't really have much in common, part of which has to do with the age difference (she's 24 and he's 39).  Obviously, there are many May-Decemeber romances that do work, but I just don't see this as one of them.

None of these, however, are what bugged me the most while reading.  That distinction goes to Reed's ex-wife, Erika.  I cannot stand that woman.  Every time she showed up she made me want to reach into the book and rip her face off--she's that awful.  Honestly, she's the type of woman that makes me embarressed for the entirety of my gender.  She's a conniving bitch, who used her husband's job as an excuse to have an affair and blame him for it.  Then, to make things worse she's condescending to Laney because she's so much younger than Reed.  She acts as if Reed is the one who left her when it was the other way around.  There was no reason for her to be so mean--not that there was even a scene involving her and Laney.  Any time she and Reed were in the same room together, she'd make snide comments about Laney's age, calling her his "little girlfriend."

What saved this book from being a wallbanger was its use of forensics.  I found the expanations of certain things to be extremely interesting, especially when Veronica, the CSI person on the case explains why working with duct tape is illuminating.  There isn't any jargon here, thankfully as I wouldn't have understood it if there was, but Ms. Griffin describes how the use of duct tape in crimes actually helps investigators looking for DNA evidence.  I never would have thought about that, even though it makes complete sense.

I also enjoyed the interactions between Reed's partner, Jay, and Veronica, which is obviously the set up for a future book.  Even though I wasn't crazy about this book, I will be looking for the next book, especially if it is Jay and Veronica's story.  I look forward to reading it.

2.5 Stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Throwback Review: The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts

There are some books that stick with you no matter how long it has been since you first read them.  For me, the Dream Trilogy has always been in the back of my head.  I probably read them a good 15 years ago and the last time was a good 10 years back.  As a matter of fact, that trilogy was part of the first round of books I purchased when I got my first kindle for my 24th birthday (I never actually read it after buying the digital version; I guess I just needed to know that I could read them if I wanted.


The first book of the trilogy, Daring to Dream, was released in 1996 when I was just 10 years old and more concerned with passing math (I did, but not without many a night of struggling to remember what the E in PEMDAS meant) than I was with the goings on of fictional characters inside the pages of a book.  In fact, if I read at all during that time period it was to get a free pan pizza through Pizza Hut and the Book It! program.  I've mentioned this a few times before, but I act…

Review of "Bay of Sighs" by Nora Roberts

A couple of months ago, I volunteered to read Stars of Fortune, the first book in Nora Roberts's Guardian Trilogy for the Smart Bitches RITA Reader Challenge because ParaNoras are my crack.  If they were illegal, I'd be serving a life sentence for possession/intent to sell a controlled substance.  Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of book 1, but I'd already requested Bay of Sighs, so I felt the need to read it too.  Plus, I liked the idea of a mermaid heroine -- one whose name was not Ariel.  I really wish I resisted reading this.  It was awful.  It took everything I hated about SoF and magnified it to the level that I wasn't able to finish it.

Annika is a mermaid, sent to "the shore up above" to stop an evil goddess from getting the Stars of Fortune.  Together with the five other guardians, she must search for the stars and protect them.  Afterwards, she must return to the sea, which wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for Sawyer King...

Sawyer has be…

Review of "Sleepless in Manhattan" by Sarah Morgan

I bought this book with the intention of reading it on a plane from San Francisco to New York City last weekend.  Of course I read about 30% before even stepping foot onto the plane and once I was actually on it, I read maybe 5%, listening to the most recent Smart Bitches podcast and watching a few episodes of Charmed on Netflix because I had an awful night sleep the evening prior and was too tired to read.  I finally sat down to read it Sunday and Monday night.

Paige Walker has lived a sheltered life, brought low by a heart condition that had her in and out of the hospital until her late teens, but now in her late 20's she's finally healthy and happy.  She loves her life in Manhattan.  She'd felt stifled in her hometown of Puffin Island and as soon as she was able she moved to New York with her best friends, Eva and Frankie, as well as her older brother, Matt.  On the verge of a promotion at work, she figures she's got it all, but then the rug is pulled out from unde…

Review of "Magnate" by Joanna Shupe

The first thing that intrigued me about Joanna Shupe's Knickerbocker Series (other than the fact that Knickerbocker is the full name of the New York basketball team) was that it took place in Gilded Age New York.  I remember reading about that time period in both my high school and college American History classes and through the 21st century liberal gaze, I saw that period as rivaling our current economic situation (which is true in some respects and utterly false in others).  This alone was reason enough for me to check out this series, but seeing as the hero of Magnate is one of those figments of the GOP's collective imagination -- the self-made man, who struggled out of the slums of Five Points and made his way into the boardrooms and ballrooms of Manhattan (of course, this description is the true difference between the late 19th Century and today, the fact that a boy from the slums actually can become a millionaire) -- my finger deftly pressed the "Buy with One Clic…

Review of "Pretty Face" by Lucy Parker

Pretty Face is pretty fucking awesome.  There, I said it.  I first picked it up based on all the squeeing about Ms. Parker's first book, Act Like It, which I am sad to say, I still have not read, despite said squeeing.  I don't usually read books by authors I know are British and I'm sure this comes from all those stuffy classics I had to read in high school.  Granted, many of those classics were written by American authors (I still have nightmares about reading Moby Dick--Mr Sullivan, if you are out there and have stumbled on my blog, I'm sorry, but Melville was an awful writer, who used the English language as a torture device), but still, there seems to be some type of block in my brain that stops me from wanting to read something by a British author.  I'm glad I made an exception for Ms. Parker.

Luc Savage is in the middle of a crisis: he can't find anyone to play Elizabeth I in the new play that he is producing.  While he's used to dealing with actors…