What's Done in Darkness
By: Laura McHugh
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 06/22/21
My Rating: 5 Stars +++
Abducted as a teenager, a woman must now confront her past and untangle the truth of what really happened to her in this dark thriller from the author of The Wolf Wants In.
One of 2021’s Best Beach Reads—OPRAH DAILY
“Laura McHugh expertly delivers a harrowing tale of a world where little is what it first appears to be.”—Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena
Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield.
A week after her abduction, she’s found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress—alive—but her family treats her like she’s tainted, and there’s little hope of finding her captor, who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life.
Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth’s help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go—the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family and all her deepest fears.
In this riveting new novel from Laura McHugh, blood ties and buried secrets draw a young woman back into the nightmare of her past to save a missing girl, unaware of what awaits her in the darkness.
Review Coming!!! Quick notes:
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Little House on the Prairie meets Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects. Fans of Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner will devour this one. I fell in love with Sarah and rooted for her from beginning to end. Jaw-dropping twists, creepy, spine-tingling. When a young girl wants only to eat at Olive Garden, go roller skating, and get her ears pierced, read her books, watch TV and be normal. Please let her escape this place! She does not want a pre-arranged marriage, to settle down with kids in this Godawful place. She wants to LIVE. From this creepy family, neighbors, church, and entire town brainwashed by the local church leaders, this is one of the best thrillers I have read this year! Quickly buying up the author's back list. She has outdone herself! This is a MUST READ! Thriller fans, get ready. WHAT'S DONE IN DARKNESS will consume you.
“Laura McHugh has been reinventing the rural noir to tell women’s stories, and her latest is a harrowing venture into a deeply religious community hidden in the Ozarks.”—CrimeReads Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2021
“Laura McHugh’s psychological thrillers are characterized by their deeply wrought characters, objectively harrowing situations, and their shared setting in the Midwest and Ozarks. In What’s Done in Darkness, a woman revisits her abduction as a teenager when more information comes to light.”—Oprah Daily (Best Beach Reads of 2021)
“Laura McHugh is already on everyone’s short list of crime writers to watch for, someone who just goes from strength to strength. What’s Done in Darkness is timely, but more important, it’s a deeply empathetic look at a community and place that are all too easy to stereotype. Compulsively, propulsively readable, it never loses sight of what’s really at stake for its characters—or its readers." —Laura Lippman, bestselling author of Lady in the Lake
“What’s Done in Darkness is a beautifully paced story of a young woman’s courage to confront, both psychologically and by novel’s end literally, an evil that might again entrap her.” —Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena
“It’s hard to find a truly original thriller these days, one that’s populated with unique characters and a plot that feels fresh. But with What’s Done in Darkness, Laura McHugh has managed a new spin on the genre. From the suffocating isolation of a religious cult to the twisted loyalties of family, this page-turner takes readers on a journey into the dark heart of the Ozarks. A riveting, poignant, and propulsive read.” —Amy Engel, bestselling author of The Familiar Dark
“In her latest spine-chilling thriller, McHugh weaves a dark and delicious spell. Seamless, expressive writing, a voice like a crystal clear lake, an intimate sense of place, and storytelling that keeps the pages spinning make this a thriller that should be at the top of everyone’s summer reading list.” —Julia Heaberlin, internationally bestselling author of We Are All the Same in the Dark
“Thoughtful, compelling, and steeped in the secrets of its backwoods setting, What’s Done in Darkness is a cry for justice for the girls and women lost on the shadowy, ultrareligious fringes of the homeschooling movement.” —Amy Gentry, bestselling author of Good as Gone and Bad Habits
“This is one heck of a spine-tingler, and Laura’s combination of seamless prose, beautifully drawn characters, atmospheric settings, and plot twists to keep you guessing—not to mention reading—is sure to be another stellar hit. If this one isn’t on your Thriller Reads Radar, it should be!”
—Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling author of Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me
About the Author
Laura McHugh is the award-winning, internationally-bestselling author of novels The Weight of Blood, Arrowood, The Wolf Wants In, and What's Done in Darkness. The Weight of Blood won the International Thriller Writers Award and the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel and the Missouri Author Award for Fiction, and was named a Best Book of the Year by BookPage, the Kansas City Star, and the Sunday Times in the UK. Arrowood was a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel, and The Wolf Wants In was named a Best Book of the Year by Library Journal. McHugh’s work has also been nominated for an American Library Association Alex Award, a Barry Award, a GoodReads Choice Award, and a Pushcart Prize. McHugh lives in Missouri with her husband and daughters.
A little more about me...I grew up in small towns in Iowa and Missouri, the youngest of eight kids, and I've been writing stories all my life, but a career as a writer never seemed like a real possibility. A first-generation college student, I earned an English degree, but then went on to get degrees in more "practical" fields—computer science and library & information science—and worked as a software developer for ten years, most of that time in the basement of an insurance company. When I was pregnant with my second child, I was laid off from my job, and that's when I decided to write a novel. It seemed like a crazy thing to do under the circumstances, but I knew I would regret it if I never tried. That novel became The Weight of Blood.
About my writing...My novels are often inspired by true crimes, but at the heart of each story, I am writing about families: their secrets, their tragedies, and the powerful, complicated bonds of blood. All of my work is set in the Midwest and the Ozarks, where I was raised. Website