Title: City Dark
Author: Roger A. Canaff
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 1st 2022
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: September 17th 2022
Pages: 352

“The darker truth was that Joe didn’t understand what was happening to him at all.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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WARNING: get ready to board the unpopular opinion train again!!

Hello and welcome aboard to the unpopular opinion train again… I know, I wasn’t expecting it to be back this soon, but it is what it is I guess. I’m still not sure exactly what went wrong, because the blurb of City Dark itself sounded fascinating. I mean, the mystery around the disappearance of Joe’s mother forty years ago, the crimes in the present, the legal thriller aspect… I fully expected to enjoy my time with this story, but unfortunately I ended up struggling considerably with it instead. It might just have been my fickle reading mood acting up again, but the fact is that City Dark and me most definitely didn’t get along.

Like I said, I still like the premise of this story with the mysterious disappearance of Joe’s mother during the blackout in 1977 and the crimes happening in the present. The New York setting makes for a perfect backdrop and helped set the right atmosphere. The story uses a multiple POV structure, switching between a LOT of different characters as well as different moments in time (both past and present). This is partly where the story went wrong for me… There were just way too many POV switches and different characters to juggle in general; it really broke up the pace for me and a lot of switches felt like were completely unnecessary. Going back and forth between the 1977 flashbacks and different moments in 2016 and 2017 became really annoying as well.

There was also something about the writing style that didn’t work for me personally. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but there is something about the tone, word choice and style in general that really irked me, and I struggled especially with the flashback chapters set during the 1977 blackout. I wasn’t a fan of the characters either, and the pace was surprisingly slow in parts for a story with so much happening. Sure, there were twists and secrets to discover, but those started to become more and more over the top and not exactly credible as the story advanced… Although I have to confess that I already started skimreading before I got to the really unbelievable part.

All in all there is one thing that is certain, and that is that City Dark most definitely wasn’t a right fit for me. I seem to be in the minority though, because the ratings are high and most people seem to enjoy this story considerably more than I did. So definitely don’t give up on my account! Just adding my two cents in case someone else feels the same about this story…


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