Review: Secrets in the Dark by Darcy Coates

Winterbourne Hall is not safe. Even as Clare and Dorran scramble to secure the ancient building against ravenous hollow ones, they face something far worse: Clare’s sister has made contact, but she’s trapped, and her oxygen is running out.

Hundreds of miles separate Clare from Beth. The land between them is infested with monsters, and the roads are a maze of dead ends. Clare has to choose between making a journey she knows she might not survive, or staying safe in Winterbourne and listening as her sister slowly suffocates.

At least, whatever her choice, she’ll have Dorran by her side. And yet there are eyes in the dark. There are whispers in the mist. There is danger lurking in the snow, and one false step could end it all…

Secrets in the Dark by Darcy Coates. Book # 2 in the Dark Winter series. Audio book is narrated by Angela Dawe. Run time is 12 hours and 34 mins. Published by Black Owl Books.

Man, I was so excited when I saw that book 2 was out already! 😀 This is a fave author of mine. I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like. Book 1, Voices in the Snow, had an epic hook that grabbed you right from the beginning and it never let you go. I was very excited to see that book #2 starts off basically right after Voices ended. The author did a great job briefly explaining the important bits from book 1 just in case you hadn’t read it yet. It was easy for you to get the gist of what had happened without spending too much time dwelling on past stuff, plus the info was sprinkled throughout the book instead of just bogging the reader down with past info all in the first few chapters.

So…. I’m going to be slightly contrary now. I JUST said that I really liked how book 2 started off where book 1 left off at. I really do like that. BUT. It did make the start of the book feel much slower. Now, hang on a second… It only felt slow because of the plot summery you get before you even begin the book. It talks all about how the characters leave their safety and travel to a location that is going to be filled with monsters. “Watching” the characters just tool around their house for a few hours or days just made me anxious and restless waiting til they had their adventure away from the house. It slowly built up the excitement and tension because you knew some serious danger was literally right around the corner. So…. the slow burn is cool on one hand but also a little bit frustrated with the book summery…. if that makes any sense? I DON’T count that against the book or the author though. I just wanted to note that it felt a little bit slow in the beginning.

Now, once the main characters actually got on the road, the story really took off! Lots of great suspense here because, if you are like me, you’ve been wondering just exactly what has happened to the outside world since the start of book one. Is the whole world gone? Zombies? Aliens? Nuclear fallout? What?! Well, buckle up, because we finally start getting some answers! (PHEW! I was afraid it’d be one of those never-gonna-tell sort of stories!) And it’s not exactly what everyone’s been thinking either…. We’ve all been in the ballpark with our theories, but the actual event comes straight out of left field. I don’t think I would have ever guessed this outcome.

I’ve seen a few people complain about the big reveal. No spoilers, but basically some reviewers feel that this author is normally more creative with her plots and this one just turned out to be “just another creature post apocalypse story” when the horror genre has been seeing a lot of that for years now. I agree, that is a very popular horror topic at the moment thanks to zombies. So I can understand some people feeling a little bit bummed and burned out, especially if they aren’t a huge fan of that topic anyways. So I get that. BUT, Darcy does put her own sweet little twist on it. I loved it. I love the why, the how and the what! The creature designs alone are some of the coolest I’ve seen since back in the day of the first few Silent Hill games. These are some seriously twisted monstrosities! And I love every freaking minute of it!

The last few hours are banana splits filled with tension. UGH! The cliffhanger! I can’t wait for the next book to find out where the story goes from here. Where IS there to even go after this?

Secrets in the Dark is narrated by Angela Dawe. She has a great voice. Very soothing and relaxing to listen to. Angela has a nice range between genders, age, monsters, humans, everything. She felt extremely believable as Clare. I loved the raw nervous emotions and hesitations she put into Clare’s voice. It really was a good match.

I do have one mini complaint (?) comment….about the narration though. I read book one, so this (book two) is my first time with the audiobook. I….. I thought we were in the UK? >.> But the narrator makes it sound like we are in North America somewhere. I don’t believe the author ever specifically said one way or the other, it’s always very vague landscapes, towns, and cities that you can kind of plug into anywhere in the world, probably. I don’t know…. I just assumed we were in the UK, I guess. Like, just the way some of the settings are described, and Dorran’s family home, and so on… *shrug* It’s not really a complaint about the author or the narrator… It just kind of threw me for a loop at first because all through book one I was “listening” to the characters with a British accent, so hearing them with a US accent for book two was a little odd. XD Not a big deal, I just thought it was kind of funny.

Even though Secrets in the Dark started out a little bit slower, the crazy fast adventure later on more then made up for action. I really enjoy Clare and Dorran. I was pretty entertained with the adventure and the twists. Once again, this author leaves me dying for the next book in the series to come out. 😀