Readers of Ellison’s Taylor Jackson series will already know Sam as Nashville’s intelligent medical examiner and Taylor’s loving best friend. However, those readers will find Sam much changed in A Deeper Darkness, which is the first book in a new series in which Sam takes center stage. We at Reading Rock highly recommend the Taylor Jackson series (reviews of recent books in that series can be found here and here), but you don’t have to have read them to read Sam’s series.
The meat of this story starts two years after Sam suffered a nearly unbearable loss: her husband Simon and their children all drowned in the May 2010 flood that ravaged Nashville and much of Tennessee. Already a workaholic, Sam is bereft without the healthy tug of her familial anchor. Then the mother of her ex-boyfriend, a handsome soldier she dated during med school named Eddie Donovan, asks Sam to come to D.C. to do a secondary autopsy on that ex because she suspects this seemingly simple case is actually anything but. With much trepidation, Sam agrees.
Outside the safety of her job, a job at which she is in charge and has very little need to socialize with others, D.C. is a challenge for Sam. She is suddenly forced to deal with the horrible grief that surrounds her, as well as the unhealthy manner in which she has coped with it. Sam is staying in the house of her former lover’s mother and must interact with his newly-widowed wife, who is none too happy to have her around. Add to that the detectives she has to work with, and the number of people she is suddenly forced to be around is a shock to her system.
Eddie Donovan’s murder is indeed only the beginning of an intricate case, but I won’t spoil any of the details for you. I will only say that, as in all of Ellison’s novels, there came a point while reading that I realized I was holding my breath and that I wouldn’t be doing anything else until I read through to the end. Ellison’s snappy dialogue and masterful suspense building make this book hard to put down, but that’s not why I liked this book. I came to care about Sam and enjoyed reading about a heroine who was working so much out her element and totally out of her comfort zone. This book marks the start of a great new series that I can’t wait to share!
Meet the Author
Reading Rock Books will be hosting the book launch party for A Deeper Darkness. Please join us at 6pm on April 17th, the book’s official release date, for hors d’oeuvres, followed by a Q&A and book signing with J.T. Ellison.
Feel free to RSVP on the Facebook event page.