Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis (audio)

Title: A Map of the Dark
Author: Karen Ellis
Series: The Searchers, #1
Narrator: Lisa Flanagan
Published: January 2018, Hachette Audio
Length: 7 hours 6 minutes
Source: Publisher

A girl, missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning...

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter.

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost...

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa's skin. Everything she has buried - her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother's death - threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself...and return to the darkness she's been hiding from for years.

My thoughts: As you might know, I am a big fan of series, especially a good mystery/crime fiction one and this one definitely falls into that category. It is the perfect combination of a police procedural and a mystery thriller and kept me engaged throughout.

I loved that this book had an eery, creepy feel to it. This is definitely an atmospheric read as much as it is a good mystery. And it is as much character-driven as it is plot-driven. Elsa proves to be a good lead character - she is complex and has her share of secrets. As in most first books to a new series, a fair bit of time is devoted to developing the characters and I think that while we do learn quite a bit about Elsa, there is much more to discover about her as the series continues. I loved the back and forth between the past and the present - it not only added an extra layer to the mystery - what really happened in her childhood - but it provided us with a glimpse into the person she is now and why that might be.

I also liked that there are intermittent chapters that allow us to see what is going on with a captive. These chapters were as chilling as they were puzzling - who was this and what would be her fate. They really added another dimension to the story.

While this book does get off to a slow start, it eventually picks up speed and never lets go. One you get straight in your mind what is going on - that the past chapters are slowly revealing Elsa's troubled childhood and that we are being told this for a reason, that the present is not only about the case but also about Elsa dealing with the downward spiral of her father's health, you slowly start to see clues emerge - not only about the case, but also about Elsa herself. And the case she is working on is quite intriguing and the twists and turns that it takes really kept me captivated.

This was a good first installment to what I hope is going to be a great series. I definitely plan on continuing and hope it isn't too long a wait for the next book.

Audio thoughts: Lisa Flanagan is a new-to-me narrator and I thought she did a good job with this audio. She gave each of the characters their own unique voice and infused just the right amount of tension and emotion into her voice as needed. I hope she continues to narrate this series - I find having the same narrator really brings consistency to the overall feeling of the series.



  1. I've read a couple of other reviews of this book and both were positive. Looking forward to trying it!

  2. Atmospheric describes this perfectly

  3. This sounds like a great book!


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