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Until Dark Mass Market Paperback – December 2, 2003

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sketch artist Kendra Smith, the heroine of Mariah Stewart's (The President's Daughter, etc.) Until Dark, has experienced more than her share of sorrow: her father died of cancer, her brother and cousin are presumed murdered and her mother recently committed suicide. Still, she agrees to lend her skills when her ex-boyfriend, Special Agent Adam Stark, asks for her aid in searching for the Soccer Mom Killer, who targets blonde single mothers. The sexual chemistry between Adam and Kendra simmers on the back burner as they work the case, which may disappoint those looking for more sparks. But when Ian's watch shows up near one of the murder scenes and victims turn up bearing crosses and butterfly clips identical to the ones Kendra wears, tension of another sort heats up. Savvy readers may immediately suspect who the killer is, but this thriller packs a few extra punches for those who are overconfident in their powers of deduction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Mariah Stewart is fast becoming a brand-name author.”
Romantic Times

“A heart-pounding book that had me enthralled from the first page to the last.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Harbor

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345447409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345447401
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mariah Stewart is the bestselling author of ten novels and three novellas. A RITA finalist for romantic suspense, she is the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO (Reviewers International) Award honoring excellence in women's fiction, a Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine, and a two-time recipient of the Golden Leaf Award for contemporary romance. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives amidst the rolling hills of Chester County, PA, with her husband, one geriatric gold retriever and one rambunctious mixed breed rescue dog. She's currently neglecting her garden and working on her next book. In past lives, she's been a teacher and an insurance executive, but firmly believes she's found the perfect job: sitting in her sunny office in old sweats and J. Crew flip flops, making up stories and the characters who live in them, and getting paid for it. Could life be sweeter?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Hippolytos on January 23, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
SUMMARY: FBI composite artist Kendra Smith channels her painful past and uses her extraordinary talent to create sketches of criminals so stunningly realistic that her sketches have led to the capture of some of the country's most violent offenders. Her former flame, Agent Adam Stark, has recruited Kendra to sift through varying accounts and come up with a composite of the Soccer Mom Strangler, a vicious serial killer who targets blond, blue-eyed "super moms." Kendra's sketches reflect the physical changes the killer undergoes to hide her identity, but as the body count rises, it becomes clear that he has now fixated on Kendra. His motive, however, is unclear: is he fascinated with her because she's only one step behind him, or is his interest more sinister, related to Kendra's painful past?

WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: Stewart has a knack for developing strong, balanced, and interesting heroines, and Kendra Smith is no exception. She's imminently likable, and it's impossible not to root for her.

WHY YOU WON'T: Despite able actions sequences and some interesting twists, it is apparent very early on who the perpetrator is and why he's targeting Kendra.

BOTTOM LINE: Lite on the suspense, but heavy on character, this frothy brew is great for whiling away a few hours on a rainy day.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sheri Melnick on December 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Suspense is never in short supply when a serial killer targets soccer moms near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When FBI agent Adam Stark asks sketch artist Kendra Smith to use her artistic skills to provide a composite of the suspect, she agrees despite her previous romantic involvement with Adam.
As the murders continue, the suspect is able to alter his appearance, making him more of a threat. And in an unusual twist, Agent Stark discovers that the victims are all wearing gold cross necklaces and hair clips similar to Kendra's. The suspense continues to build and becomes multidimensional when the serial killer leaves a clue relating to the murder of Kendra's brother Ian over a decade ago. While the romance between Adam and Kendra seems underdeveloped, the chilling murders, complete with the astounding conclusion, transform this novel into a pulse-pounding read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Penn on October 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A stalker follows FBI compositor Kendra Smith. As she interviews witnesses and create a composite of a serial killer, she does not suspect that she being watched. Nor does she suspect that he specifically targets young mothers just to get her attention. Moreover, her own darkly tragic past creates deep sympathy for the families of the serial killer, having lost her brother and cousin many years ago, and more recently her mother to a supposed suicide.

Agent Adam Stark brings Kendra the package of information that lures her into the investigation into the deaths of these young mothers. Kendra and Adam share a history, sadly disrupted when her mother died. With her back in his life, Adam's determination to protect Kendra and their mutual work brings them closely together.

Life has a tendency to sidetrack me, despite my best intentions. So when a book waits until this long to receive a review, and I still feel the urge to rave, it is certainly one to remember! UNTIL DARK dazzles readers with richly realized characterization that spring from the page, from the spunky heroine to the identity of the serial killer in this fascinating police procedural. With rich emotional nuances, subtle yet creative plot devices, and a romance brewing in the midst, UNTIL DARK provides a fast paced read impossible to put down, coming very highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paula on March 16, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Until Dark" steals your attention and runs with it until the very last period! Kendra Smith, a freelance artist with the FBI has a way with witnesses and can transform every memory of the killer's face onto paper with uncanny ability. Her own brother and cousin was kidnapped years before but no bodies were ever found. After the trial based on circumstantial evidence, Kendra's mother, a well-known Senator, commits suicide.
The FBI contacts Kendra to help construct a sketch of the "Soccer Mom Killer" so dubbed as he targets single moms who have a career and also are involved with their childrens' lives. Kendra throws herself into this assignment as an attempt to get on with her own life. This difficult assignment is made almost impossible as Kendra must work with an old flame, Special Agent Adam Stark. Are the sparks still waiting to be ignited or were they truly extinquished?
As the bodies mount, Agent Stark discovers that the women have a connection to Kendra, as they all have a cross and butterfly hair clips worn in the same style as Kendra. Kendra's baffled as she's not a single mom, can hardly tell a basketball from a soccer ball but she learns that "You can run from your past but you can't hide from it....."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Huntress Reviews on December 2, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kendar Smith has made it her life's work to give crime victims something she never had, a sense of closure by helping witnesses recount small details that they might have forgotten or ignored. These details can help lead to finding the criminals who destroyed their lives. Because her brother was kidnapped and never found, she has never had that closure except vicariously through those she helps.
It is her unique level of talent that causes the FBI to bring Kendra in on a terrifying serial killer investigation. Someone is killing average housewives and leaving few clues. As Kendra works with Agent Adam Stark, the man she once upon a time loved, two things happen. First, the passion Adam and Kendra once held for one another rekindles, and two, it becomes apparent that the killer is someone with a tie to Kendra.
**** Ms. Stewart gives her readers a complex and terrifying mystery, one that shows how a small detail can change or destroy life. Nothing is unimportant. A thriller hangs on the villain, and in Until Dark, the killer's diabolic qualities makes it a true chiller. ****
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.
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