Darkroom


Fiction - Suspense
292 Pages
Reviewed on 07/16/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Mary Maddox is a suspense, horror, and dark fantasy novelist with what The Charleston Times-Courier calls a “Ray Bradbury-like gift for deft, deep-shadowed description.” Born in Soldiers Summit, high in the mountains of Utah, Maddox graduated with honors in creative writing from Knox College, and went on to earn an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She taught writing at Eastern Illinois University and has published stories in various journals, including Yellow Silk, Farmer's Market, The Scream Online, and Huffington Post. The Illinois Arts Council has honored her fiction with a Literary Award and an Artist's Grant.

    Book Review

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.

Tracy Slowiak

Whoa! Just, whoa! That's exactly what I thought when I finished reading Darkroom, the newest work by author Mary Maddox. A thrilling, suspenseful and dark tale, this story will keep readers on the edge of their seats from the start all the way through until the very end. Follow the story of Kelly Durrell and Day Randall, two friends who have come to a living arrangement that seems to be working well for both of them. Until, of course, the day that Kelly comes home to find Day missing. Day's always had her issues, and Kelly thought that she was doing a good job of keeping an eye on her. Kelly begins a harrowing search for her friend, and soon finds that Day's prodigious talent for photography has led her down some dark and twisty paths, ones that Kelly herself will need to travel if she has a chance of saving her friend.

I so enjoyed Darkroom. Author Mary Maddox has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will be able to connect with, will relate to, and will truly come to care about. If that isn't a hallmark of a great author, I'm not sure what is. And the story itself is extremely readable. I found myself obsessively turning the pages from the start all the way to the finish, determined to find out what happened! In fact, the only advice I have for readers, other than to read this book, is to make sure that they have enough time to read it from cover to cover all at once. They simply will not want to put it down! I highly recommend Darkroom to any reader, and look forward to more from the very talented author, Mary Maddox, as soon as possible!

Chris Fischer

In a suspenseful and thrilling new read by author Mary Maddox, Darkroom is a story that will take its readers through quite a twisted journey. Day Randall, a gifted but troubled photographer, has been staying with her friend, Kelly Durrell, in Kelly's condo in Colorado for the last eight months. The two friends have developed a workable living arrangement, and all seems to be going well for them. That is, until the day that Kelly comes home and Day is gone. All of her belongings are there, even her car is still parked outside, but her room is unexpectedly clean, and Kelly just knows something isn't right. Kelly also realizes that she's unlikely to get any help from authorities. Day is an adult and is bipolar, and Kelly's sure they won't take her concerns seriously. If Day is going to be found, Kelly is going to have to do it. From there, the story takes Kelly into a world she never knew existed, and one she starts to fear she won't escape.

I loved Darkroom. Loved. It. How's that for a review? Well, it's truly how I felt about this wonderful book by author Mary Maddox. This story had me on the edge of my seat numerous times, biting my nails, with my heart pounding, just waiting to see what would happen next. Any reader who enjoys mysteries, adventurous stories, thrillers, or books filled with intrigue should absolutely read Darkroom. I can confidently give this book a very high rating, and will be keeping my eyes peeled for the next book by the obviously talented author, Mary Maddox, in the future!

Deborah Lloyd

Kelly Durrell, the tenacious main character in Darkroom, is on a mission to discover why her roommate, Day Randall, would leave their Boulder, Colorado condo without a message. Day is a remarkable photographer, but is also a free spirit with bipolar disorder. Kelly reports Day’s disappearance to the police, who do not take it seriously until new connections are revealed. Kelly’s job as an assistant curator at the local art museum becomes entangled with the criminal element in the story. There are many unexpected twists and turns and intriguing characters in Darkroom by Mary Maddox. The author introduces the cast members one by one, eventually weaving all the complex relationships into one entangled web. The story is enhanced by the duplicity and malevolence of certain characters. The use of illicit drugs, violent sexual attacks, and abductions add an element of terror.

Author Mary Maddox certainly keeps the reader fully engaged in Darkroom as there are many unpredictable and frightening events. Her writing style is crisp and clear; the dialogue is realistic. Her descriptions of such places as the snow-covered mountains, the art museum, Kelly’s home, and the Cascade Club where many scenes occurred are well-written. One can easily picture the scenes and in some cases smell the odors. Likewise, the descriptions of the characters are also well-defined. There are a few blooming love relationships, although it is sometimes questionable who can be trusted - another interesting entanglement. The reader is never sure who will survive or escape the clutches of the villains until the very end. This book is a true page-turner.

Gisela Dixon

Darkroom by Mary Maddox is a thrilling mystery novel that contains all of the elements of good suspenseful fiction. Kelly and Day are roommates living together in Kelly's condo. Day is a photographer who also suffers from bipolar disorder. Kelly, on the other hand, provides some stability in Day's life and the two share a mutually symbiotic relationship as roommates. However, all of this changes when Day simply disappears. There is no trace of her and when the police aren't much help either, Kelly decides to take matters into her own hands and track Day down. What follows is a thrilling and adventurous chase that takes us into the shadowy depths of the underworld, the rich and the powerful - and the lengths to which they would go to cover up secrets which involve the scary realization that perhaps Kelly’s life could be in danger.

Darkroom by Mary Maddox is a suspenseful novel with plenty of twists and turns. I liked the writing style which tends to be fast-paced and keeps things moving. The characters are well drawn and believable. I also really liked the backdrop of the Colorado mountains and surrounding areas that make one feel that they are there. The story moves in a sequential manner and it was enjoyable to experience the adventure from the point of view of an ordinary lay person rather than a detective or professional private investigator. This is certainly a novel that mystery lovers would enjoy reading!