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Find You in the Dark: A Novel Hardcover – June 19, 2018
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“A fast-paced, morbidly addictive novel of chilling infatuation. Ripley’s impressive debut is a rich and innovative thriller.”—Iain Reid, bestselling author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things
“A wickedly smart thriller that manages to be both chilling and wry. The page-turning plot . . . is thickened by a great cast of characters and Nathan Ripley’s fantastic eye for detail and dialogue. Just when you think you’ve got a grasp on it, the story twists to new and darker places.”—Amy Stuart, bestselling author of Still Mine
“It's not always easy diving into the mind of an obsessive protagonist, but Martin Reese's fixation on finding dead bodies makes for one heck of an addictive thriller. Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley is an original, inventive take on what happens when you go looking where you shouldn't. Start reading early in the day, or you'll be up all night like I was! A standout debut novel.”—Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts and Wonderland
“Find You in the Dark is an unsettling exploration of obsession you won’t soon forget. Nathan Ripley delivers a first novel that fans of Patricia Highsmith psychological thrills and Thomas Harris cat-and-mouse suspense will devour. I certainly did.”—Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist and The Only Child
“Crafty and dark, Nathan Ripley’s novel toys with the lines between predator and prey, his sentences as careful and considered as the crimes he depicts…a truly exciting new voice in the thriller world.”—Roz Nay, bestselling author of Our Little Secret
About the Author
Nathan Ripley is the pen name of literary fiction writer and journalist Naben Ruthnum. His stories and essays have appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt, Sight & Sound, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, among other places. He lives in Toronto. Visit him at NabenRuthnum.com or follow him on Twitter @NabenRuthnum.
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Martin and his wife Ellen appear to have a good marriage with arguments mainly revolving around her overprotectiveness of their daughter, Kylie. Ellen's sister Tinsley went missing twenty years ago and Ellen believes she was murdered. She's worried the same will happen to Kylie, so she sets heavy boundaries and rules for her. Martin looks specifically for female victims of serial killers in an attempt to find Tinsley and put his wife's mind to rest.
The insight into Martin's personality is fascinating. There's a complexity to him as he conceals what he's doing from his wife and daughter to create some sort of balance within his life and family. He believes he is providing a public service for the victims’ loved ones. However, there might be another motivation that drives him other than providing closure and finding Tinsley's remains. Martin also has a history of secret impulses he's trying to suppress, so there could be an even deeper reason why he is digging up bodies.
The dark and rainy streets of Seattle create the perfect backdrop for the narrative. Author Nathan Ripley conveys such a sense of unease, I was frequently looking over my shoulder as I was reading. Find You in the Dark is a disturbingly sinister novel with plenty of suspense, intriguing characters and a story that kept me riveted.
Find You in The Dark follows multiple perspectives: Martin, Sandra, a police detective, and another perspective that is introduced about halfway through the novel. This perspective is so long and drawn out that it effectively kills any momentum the story was able to muster with exposition given for seemingly no reason other than to convince the reader that the character is an evil person.
I enjoyed Martin’s perspective for the most part. I thought his internal monologues were well written and engaging, however, because of the comparison to Dexter, Martin comes off as underwhelming. Martin is portrayed as incredibly intelligent, yet makes quite a few stupid decisions. Perhaps Ripley’s intention was for these decisions to be born out of Martin’s confidence; unfortunately this was not communicated through the text.
Sandra’s character is portrayed as a stereotypical detective focused intently on the investigation. There was absolutely nothing special about her other than her relationship with her partner, Chris. The reversal of typical gender roles between Sandra and Chris was interesting, but, ultimately, leads nowhere.
Overall, Find You in The Dark has an interesting premise that fails to deliver. If you’re an avid reader of thriller/mystery novels, you will most likely find this novel underwhelming.
The prose is chilling and tight. The characterization is well done with a whole slew of characters that are flawed, vulnerable, and persistent. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, is an exceptionally suspenseful, twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.
Overall, Find You In The Dark is a fast-paced, unique, ominous tale that reminds you that if you continually dance with the devil eventually you might get burned.