Book Review

In the Darkness – Luke Smitherd

Book Title: In the Darkness: That’s Where I’ll Know You


Author: Luke Smitherd

Amazon Link: Click here


Star Rating: gold stargold stargold starempty starempty star – Good book.  I liked it.

Disclaimer: I received this free book from NetGalley in exchange for an un-biased review.

Where to start? This is a hard one to review without giving away spoilers! Here is the description:

There are hangovers, there are bad hangovers, and then there’s waking up inside someone else’s head.
The morning after a boozy night before comes with the rudest of awakenings for young bartender Charlie Wilkes. Instead of finding himself in his bedroom, he awakes in a prison consisting of moving, undulating black walls and a huge glowing screen that seems to float in thin air. But the prison isn’t a prison, and the screen isn’t a screen; incredibly, he is somehow inside the mind of a young woman – Minnie – and the screen is actually a projection of what she sees.

It’s a good premise. You’re immediately thrust into this world without any preparation. Which is a good thing since it mirrors the confusion that the main character is feeling from the beginning. What just happened? Who is this Charlie guy? Why is he in this girls head? The questions come fast and thick, but there is no quick and easy payoff. You spend a long time wondering what is going on without receiving any answers. Muddling along as the characters do, trying to figure out how on earth can either one of these characters can possibly come out of this predicament alive, much less with some semblance of a happy ending.

There is a lot involved in the plot, most of the book is spent wondering what we are really dealing with here. Is it existential theories, parallel universe, time travel? I have to admit I’m not really sure what happened by the time I finished. The plot really picked up once you meet a character named Chuck. Sheesh, I can’t even tell you about Chuck because that’s a humongous spoiler, however, meeting him does a lot for helping you finally figure out what the heck is going on! If you like a challenge you will enjoy this book.

One thing bothered me. Charlie is, by his own description “a more enlightened man than most” but he struck me as being a pretty selfish person. He did develop into being more caring about Minnie’s welfare, but it sure took him long enough. In one chapter he suddenly appeared in her mind and oh horror she was at that moment using the toilet. A perfectly normal daily occurrence right? Does he need to react like a Neanderthal? To quote the book:

Minnie went through practices that Charlie – even as a more enlightened man than most – could not begin to conceive of occurring, much less want to imagine. To do so would be like trying to imagine the Easter Bunny getting fisted in front of Charlie’s mother.

Really? It’s that bad? Never mind HER abject humiliation at being caught at this vulnerable moment.  For him it’s akin to watching a pornographic act in the worst circumstance possible? Be still my feminist heart, because I’m about to come unglued. Why do women have to deal with every uncomfortable male issue with grace, but it’s perfectly acceptable for men to act like a brainless tween the moment they have to deal with women’s health? Guess what? This is the way the world works. Women sit down on the toilet. They wipe themselves after they are done. They pull up their panties and move on. Women are expected to shill Viagra pills on television, but do you think we would ever see a man on a Tampax commercial? Sure maybe someday…

1. Supermarket – Day
A man (Shopper) stands in a busy supermarket checkout line. He looks relaxed. On the rollers we see a box of cereal, gallon of milk, and a large box of feminine hygiene products prominently labeled “Kotex Maxi Pads”. A second male shopper (Shopper 2) and his teen son (Teen) walks up to the line and stands behind our Shopper. Shopper begins to sweat and looks extremely uncomfortable. The Grocery Checker starts to scan his items and pauses with the “Kotex” in hand.

Grocery Checker
Excuse me sir, these are not scanning. Do you happen to remember the price listed?

Uhhhh (mumbles incoherently and waves his hands in a “never mind” gesture)

(asking dad and pointing at Kotex) What’s that?

Shopper 2

Grocery Checker
Sorry sir, give me just a minute. (over intercom) Rudy, check price for Kotex.

(wipes forehead, tries to ignore Shopper 2 and Teen now openly laughing at him)

Grocery Checker
(phone rings, Checker picks it up and says loudly) What Rudy? No not the regular … the MAXI pads. Sorry sir, you did want MAXI right?

No NO NO!!!
(bursts into tears and runs from the store in abject humiliation while other shoppers, checker and Rudy point and laugh)


Come on now. You all know that’s how it would go down right?
Ok that’s not really fair of me. That terribly written scene is not in this book. This book is quite good, that quote about the Easter Bunny just ruffled my feathers. In fact, the female character is fully realized.  Minnie herself is an interesting character, she has a complicated past, stands up for herself and has real courage. I liked her.

All in all, it was a pretty good book! If you like strange, complicated sci-fi mystery it is a nice quick read.  Plus there’s Chuck, love to hate him.  Every book needs one of those, right?

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