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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Darkroom is a novel of suspense written by Mary Maddox. Kelly instantly felt a twinge of concern when she arrived home and heard Day giggling and smelled the smoky haze generated by the hash pipe her friend and roommate was smoking. Day was a gifted photographer, but her bipolar condition was not stable enough for her to risk getting high. Kelly's concern merged with irritation as she heard the rhythmic creaking of bed springs coming from her guest bedroom that had become Day's since she moved in. Odette was in there, and with a man, and she, Kelly realized, had brought the hashish for Day. Odette had been married off to Stuart, a much older man with pedophilic tendencies, when she was 15 years old to satisfy a debt her father owed to the wealthy man. She would be given a divorce and a settlement once she reached her mid-twenties and was no longer attractive to her husband. But Odette wanted fun now, and she was falling in love with Marcus, a college student. Odette knew that Stuart had assigned Yount, a sadist, as her bodyguard, but she was impatient and, with the confidence of youth, felt she could best both her husband and Yount. When Kelly returned from a trip a week later, Day was gone. Her car was still in the street, and Kelly's own Jeep was garaged and scrupulously clean, but she had disappeared. When Gee, Day's current fling and a big name at the museum where Kelly worked, asked for Kelly's help in finding Day, she had no idea how bad things had actually become.
Mary Maddox's suspense novel, Darkroom, is dark, compelling, and crackling with energy. Kelly is a strong, independent character, who is resourceful and marvelous fun to follow as she tries to resolve her friend's disappearance. Gregory Tyson, otherwise known as Gee, is an unforgettable character, conflicted and torn, and strung out on his own cocaine product. Gee is, in many ways, an antihero, and his story has the makings of a great psychological study. Maddox injects a hint of romance into her plot with the rugged police officer, Cash Peterson, who makes Kelly crazy but is appealing all the same. Darkroom is set in the lush countryside surrounding Boulder, and the author steeps her novel in gorgeous nature descriptions and the biting chill of a crisp mountain winter. Her characters are complex and believable, and she keeps her readers on edge and in a state of suspense throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed Darkroom and will be watching for other works by this author. Darkroom is most highly recommended.