For two years Nicky has wandered the dark empty corridors of the overgrown Thorn Hall, unseen and untouched, feeling like a ghost. His only company, the cold man who promised to keep him safe from harm, Lance. But when Lance dies, Nicky’s assurance of safety disintegrates and his world suddenly becomes a lot more real and a lot more dangerous. Scared to leave the house, Nicky longs for daylight. He employs a gardener to clear the over-grown bushes and vines that have nearly swallowed Thorn Hall whole. The last thing Nicky expects a little light to do is show him something to fight for.
Eighteen months in a young offenders’ institute has taught Cai two things: he occupies the playful puppy end of the How Dangerous Are You? spectrum, and he has an unfortunate knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Desperate for a job, he takes the first offer he gets. Even though Thorn Hall creeps the hell out of him and he barely knows one end of a pair of garden shears from the other.
Things start to fall apart when Cai is drawn into Nicky’s strange world of sticky notes and secrets. Cai finds he is now a target, blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. Desperate not to go back to prison, he digs deep and risks all the good things in life to help Nicky run. But now Nicky has someone he wants to protect, he knows he can’t run any more.
349 e-book pages
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Suki Fleet has the most elegant way with words. This is only my second book by this author, but I’m hooked totally and completely with her style.
Y’all. This story…it’s dark and twisty and spine-chilling. But the words. Holy Moly, the WORDS. Suki tells this creepy story with such exceptional grace that there were times I was just, in there, so caught up in the strains of the melody that I forgot what terrors might be lurking ‘round the bend.
Nicky has a disturbing past. His life has been one horrific event after another until…. Jeeezus, this guy. He’s locked away in Thorn Hall, in a sort of Stockholm Syndrome situation. He can’t leave, ultimately because, in some ways, he doesn’t want to by virtue of his own demons. He’s cut off from the world and his fears consume him, except for some tiny threads of comfort he finds in these familiar, spooky surroundings.
Then there’s Cai, with his own hard-knocks life, caring for half-sister, trying to make an honest living, scraping by to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. He’s drawn to the reclusive resident of Thorn Hall and the mysteries that lurk in the overgrown vines he’s hired to trim.
Two quick things. Backhanded compliments, maybe? that I want to get out of my system before I continue with unadulterated love of this story.
First, the word ‘inky’ as an adjective — I’m tired of it. The first time I saw it used, I was maybe twelve, and I thought it was the most poetic word to describe darkness and it made me swoon every time I saw it thereafter. Now it seems to be everywhere, in so many books. And it’s…yeah. BUT! Here, look at this sentence: “The sky was spilled ink outside.” That hit me as fresh usage and phrasing. Just a little twist to an overly common word that still managed to strike me with a poetic punch.
Second, I am not a fan at all of more than two POVs. It jars me — especially in love stories when I feel like learning things the two main characters can’t know is cheating somehow. BUT! This story was so twistedly fantastic with so many disturbing details that were crucial in the grand scheme — not to mention kind of needing a few breaks from the darkness around Nicky and the despair around Cai — that additional POVs were a welcome respite. Even if they, too, were a bit unsettling.
Light in the Dark is angsty with lots of Gothic undercurrents that at times felt like Historical Horror in a modern setting. It comes complete with melodramatic Dukes doing their evil-dude monologuing and shrieking shrews and shadows lurking in the eerie fog. Parts seemed unreal, sometimes over the top for spectacular creep-factor effect. But then it boils down to two guys who somehow find a connection, one that’s healthy (or could be), a man who needs help and another who helps because that’s who he is.
This story…it consumed me. I don’t DO horror. I don’t DO scary things. Except. Well, unless (apparently) I have some reasonable assurance that I’ll be delivered, safely, to the other side to a place of happy. I need hope. Some crumbs of hope to follow and something that tethers me to the world I know, the one I believe in.
And there is light and hope here, in this book. It’s the kind that peeks through the small gaps in the curtains, between slats in closed blinds, and the crack around the door. But it’s there and worth waiting for and straining the eyes through fingers covering your face to see.
About the Author:
Award Winning Author. Prolific Reader (though less prolific than she’d like). Lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.
Suki Fleet writes lyrical stories about memorable characters, and believes everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.
Her first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.
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