Too Dark to Sleep

Fiction - Thriller - General
390 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Life is never a straight line.

Growing up in rural Minnesota, Dianne attended the University of Minnesota and received a BFA in Theatre. Although initially focusing on performance, Dianne eventually gave playwriting a try and had competition-winning scripts performed at the U of M. After moving to Los Angeles so her husband could attend school, Dianne switched focus to screenplays. Time was spent honing dialogue skills and structure by not only writing spec material, but also editing, critiquing, and ghosting independent screenplay projects.

A move to the Chicago area translated into a new focus on novels. Again, Dianne was edited, critiquing and ghosting... but this time for a variety of fiction and non-fiction pieces. She was also having a great time with her growing family. After increased success writing for others, Dianne decided to start writing for herself. The result is the debut novel, Too Dark to Sleep.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

One-time crackerjack Chicago police detective, Maggie Quinn, is on permanent leave from the force and is plagued by nightmares. She dreams that she discovers the body of a young woman who has been strangled and her torso sliced. In this same dream, a man in a blue jacket throws Maggie to the ground in a nearby alley as she reaches out to catch him. Maggie is watched over day and night by Antoine Rayney, a no-nonsense male nurse, hired by Maggie's father, Patrick, a powerful man with strong Chicago mob connections who is serving a life sentence in Joliet prison but is still protected and helped by the "Outfit". Maggie's little daughter Erin died two years ago after a botched cardiac surgery and Maggie's attempt at slashing her arms after this sent her to a psychiatric hospital. Estranged, unfaithful husband Richard Freedman bribes people as he hopes to grow rich from divorcing Maggie.

Maggie has good friends in the Chicago Police Department and Captain Tierney hires her as a consultant to work with new police Detective Nick Dublowski, as they investigate who might be the serial killer who is strangling young women, slicing their torsos, and stealing their jewelry. Will Maggie and Nick succeed in finding the killer?

"Too Dark to Sleep" is a brilliant, well-written novel of how police can sometimes fail in their efforts to catch a bright killer who has money and connections. Maggie Quinn is an incredible main character, multifaceted and strong despite setback after setback. Her partner, Detective Nick Dublowski, and her friends, Antoine Rayney, Medical Examiner Harley, Captain Tierney and all the other characters are all well-developed. This riveting story tells of Maggie's battles with a brilliant "bad guy" and with the darkness that threatens her after her breakdown. The suspense in this story is first-rate from its opening pages to the story's conclusion and makes "Too Dark to Sleep" a spine-tingling book that readers everywhere will adore.

Crime Fiction Lover

You might not have heard of self-published author Dianne Gallagher, but if the quality of her debut crime novel Too Dark to Sleep is anything to go by, her name will spread quickly in crime fiction loving circles. It’s the first in a proposed series of dark thrillers.

Freshly released after a lengthy stay in a psychiatric hospital, and with long, deep scars snaking from each wrist, Maggie Quinn is a woman damaged in every sense of the word. Not so long ago, she was the best detective in the Chicago PD, but that was before the sudden death of her only child sent her spiralling into the depths of despair and to the very edge of madness.

Now, her little daughter, Erin, haunts her tortured dreams, walking hand in hand with a faceless man who featured in Maggie’s last, unsolved investigation. This was a man who strangled and then butchered two woman in a clinical manner, devoid of emotion, and who was never captured.

Now he’s back, and Maggie is the only person who can catch him. But is this fragile, lost woman up to the task? How can a former detective who is terrified of the dark be any help at all when there’s a stone cold killer on the loose? Many of her former colleagues dismiss Maggie as a nut-job, but rookie Detective Nick Dublowski is ordered to use her as a consultant on the case, and he comes to see her as an asset rather than a liability. For, once Maggie gets back into work mode, she is just as razor sharp and tenacious as she ever was before tragedy struck. Rejuvenated and fired with purpose, she is hell-bent on getting her man this time – whether the evidence is there or not.

As the net closes in, an escalation of murders brings the case uncomfortably close to Maggie herself. She is certain she’s got her man, but as her fragile sanity begins to show signs of crumbling, her colleagues are increasingly unsure of her judgment. Did he really do it? Or is Maggie’s tormented mind pushing her to ruin the life of an innocent man?

This is a fine debut from Dianne Gallagher, and in Maggie Quinn she has created a true one-off with as many layers as an onion. She is a complex character, but one with whom you’ll bond with from first acquaintance. I loved the contrasts in Maggie – she was a hard-bitten detective who had seen and done it all in her job, but because of the traumas she has faced now has to live in the light as she is completely terrified of darkness, both real and imaginary. The descriptions of her creeping fears are sharp and realistically drawn – so much so that I found myself checking the shadows myself!

This book is populated with a cast of hugely believeable supporting characters who include rookie Dublowski, Maggie’s nurse and companion Antoine Rayney, her jailbird father Paddy, and Medical Examiner Harley. Meanwhile Too Dark to Sleep has a plot which is well thought out and cleverly executed, with shocks and surprises in abundance.

It was with regret that I reached the last page of this book because I really enjoyed my time spent with Maggie, even though I had to keep all the lights on! More please.

Uncle Book

Today’s review is on a book called Too Dark to Sleep sent to me by the author Dianne Gallagher. I decided to accept this book to review as after reading the synopsis, I knew this would be something I would enjoy… a stressed and multifaceted mystery!

Too Dark to Sleep by Dianna Gallagher

Too Dark to Sleep by Dianne Gallagher was deep, dark and downright jittery. It was a mystery that wrapped around every nerve-ending and played tricks with the mind. The technique of writing took some getting used to and broke the flow of the story in some places, but this evened out as the story continued. The start of the story told of the suffering past of the main character Maggie Quinn (who is an extremely astounding character by the way) and detailed the very being that she is, intelligent, troubled and commanding. As well as being introduced into Maggie’s life, the story got straight into the mystery, revealing frightening and ingeniously planned murders.
As the story went on, the plot thickened and the characters got more entwined and uncomforting. I would guess what was going to occur next but never got it right, one way or another Dianne Gallagher achieved the unexpected mystery!
The finale was stunning… hand on my heart; I did not have any idea how the ending was going to unfold! The main character Maggie Quinn, seemed to get more unpredictable and erratic towards the end, and even had me doubting my belief in her! I still nevertheless wanted so much to trust her, which is what I think Dianne Gallagher wanted readers to feel. I think I want to read it all over again!

I was looking for a film one night, a thriller in fact as that is what I was really in the mood for. What I found myself doing however was looking for a film that had the same storyline as Too Dark to Sleep!?! I couldn’t find a film that compared with the book so settled for something close (which was still good), but I found myself thinking about it again the next day… if you have read this book, you will know why I think it would be good on the Big Screen!

I recommend Too Dark to Sleep to anyone who would enjoy a mystery with a lot of twists, warped characters, and a storyline that is so dominant, it will stay with you whilst you sleep at night.
Why don’t you go and buy it at our online shop and let me know what you think by leaving your comments underneath or by emailing your review to

I would like to put forward my thanks to Dianne Gallagher for sending me the book to read and review… I really look forward to the next!

Kind Regards,
Uncle Book