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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

No Woods So Dark As These

Ryan DeMarco Mystery (Book 4)

ISBN: 1492665622

Publisher: Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen

Publication Date: 08/042020

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars Top Books of 2020 There are good reasons to fear the dark.. Former Sergeant Ryan DeMarco's life has been spent in defiance―he's defied death, loneliness, and betrayal all while fighting the worst parts of humanity. He's earned a break, and following the devastation of their last case, DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme want nothing more than to live quietly in each other's company. To forget the horrors they've experienced and work on making each other whole again. But dreams of a peaceful life together are shattered when two bodies are discovered in a smoldering car in the woods, and another is found brutally mutilated nearby. Much as he'd like to leave the case to his former colleagues, dark forces are at play and DeMarco cannot escape the vortex of lies, betrayal, and desperation. He and Jayme are dragged back into the fray, where they must confront the shady dealings of a close-knit rural community.

In the highly-anticipated fourth installment in his critically-acclaimed series, Randall Silvis returns with a case that might break Ryan DeMarco for good.

No Woods So Dark As These


"The rare crime novel infused with both darkness and light. The characters are so real I expected to meet them for a drink at the end of the day."

- Kelly Simmons, international selling author of Where She Went and One More Day

"Well-crafted prose, smart dialogue and complex characters create a chilling thriller."

- Mary Burton, New York Times and USA Today best selling author

"A poignant and gritty thriller that reveals humanity's best and worst."

- Kate Kessler, bestselling author

"No Woods So Dark as These has indeed all the signs and qualities of another masterpiece by Randall Silvis."

- Criminal Element

My Review

A favorite author, master storyteller, Randall Silvis returns following Long Way Down (Ryan DeMarco #3 - 2019) with his riveting Ryan DeMarco series NO WOODS SO DARK AS THESE (Ryan DeMarco #4)— and the title is just a glimpse into what is yet to come.

Former Sergeant Ryan DeMarco is a complex man. Each case pulls him into darkness.

As we pick up from the last installment, Ryan and Jayme (his love) and partner, former state trooper and PI, to escape work and for a much-needed rest to rejuvenate. They are a team both in work and personal.

However, a force more potent than they know always seems to be pulling them back into a hole of darkness and horror.

Presently, they are grieving over the losses. Jayme suffered a miscarriage pursuing their last case in A Long Way Down. They both are trying to recover both physically and emotionally from their previous traumatic case.

They are trying to find a bit of happiness, peace, and healing in one another. Jayme cannot keep from thinking about the child that could have been. Ryan knows she wants to try again.

However, there is always another case. Ryan and Jayme are supposed to be retired or taking a break. The local authorities do not take no for an answer.

Two bodies (women) are found in a burned-out car in the woods, with another brutally mutilated nearby. A black man nailed to a tree, naked.

Maybe the case will help them both keep their minds from their grief.

And a loveable stray dog (they later name Hero) shows up and what they need right now to help their little family.

Ryan would like nothing more than to go home and pack up the RV and drive Jayme and Hero down to Key Largo or anywhere to leave the rest of the world behind. They had paid their dues. He did not want to be responsible for others.

However, Ryan is thinking of Jayme. She is ten years younger than him, and still wanted to make a difference. Maybe she needed another victory to wash away some of the stings from the recent defeat. Just one more, right?

He had to keep Jayme safe. She was his blessing.

As they become engrossed in the current case in this small rural town of Pennsylvania, things get complex and dangerous. Troopers Daniella Flores and Mason Boyd are working with them; however, there are other lies, secrets, and darkness in these woods.

Dark, gritty, sinister, and chilling!

We are left with a jaw-dropping, hold-your-breath cliffhanger and anxiously await the next book in the series WHEN ALL LIGHT FAILS (2021).

Once again, Silvis' writing is poetic and lyrical and a master at combining a gripping crime suspense thriller with literary fiction. As a reader, you experience the senses, thoughts, feelings of the characters, and everything around them. William Shakespeare's quotes sprinkled among chapters were a nice touch.

Ryan is a complex, tormented character; however, we see the growth with each book and the internal strength he possesses. It was nice catching up with some characters from previous books and some not so much.

Readers: You must read the previous books to enhance your reading experience and get to know each of the well-developed characters.

One of my favorite authors! I highly recommend this series and all his books. Ryan DeMarco is an exceptionally developed suspense series. I cannot wait for more Ryan and Jayme and assured they will come out stronger than ever.

View my reviews of the previous books:

Upcoming Aug 3, 2021

A special thank you to Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

About the Author

Randall Silvis

Randall Silvis is the multi-genre author of twenty critically acclaimed novels, story collections, and a book of creative nonfiction named a Best of the Year book by the Toronto Globe & Mail. He was the first Pennsylvanian to win the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize (1984), and was chosen for that award by author Joyce Carol Oates. His work has been published in over a hundred editions in several languages.

Also a prize-winning playwright and produced screenwriter, Randall’s work has appeared on Best of the Year lists from the New York Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail,, Strand magazine, and the International Association of Crime Writers, and has been hailed as “masterful” not only by the New York Times Book Review but also by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Mystery Scene magazine, and several other review sources. His two novels from 2017, (Two Days Gone and Only the Rain) were Amazon #1 Bestsellers in Psychological Suspense.

Silvis has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, and was a two-time Hammett Prize finalist for literary excellence in the field of crime writing (for An Occasional Hell and Two Days Gone.) The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, and six writing fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and in 2001 received the same honor from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2007 IUP bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for “a sustained record of distinguished literary achievement.” Read More






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