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A Deeper Darkness (Samantha Owens, Book 1) (edition 2012)

by J.T. Ellison

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748162,398 (4.04)1
Member:Bumpersmom
Title:A Deeper Darkness (Samantha Owens, Book 1)
Authors:J.T. Ellison
Info:Mira (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Donated/Gave Away
Rating:****
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A Deeper Darkness by J. T. Ellison

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“Fresh Meat” by Laura K. Curtis for Criminal Element

Ellison fans (like me) are used to her police procedural thrillers featuring Taylor Jackson. But while I enjoy Taylor, I was glad to see that Ellison was branching out into a new series as well. Samantha Owens is a medical examiner in Nashville, but she takes a leave to do a personal favor . . . going to Washington, DC, to do a secondary autopsy in the murder case of her former lover, Eddie, at the request of his mother, Eleanor.

But although Sam performs the secondary autopsy, this isn’t strictly a forensics book. Sam is out of her element, more an amateur sleuth than an ME. And she is constantly at the mercy of tangled emotions, for not only is she investigating the death of her former lover and dealing with his mother, his wife and his children, she is still mourning the loss of her own husband and children who were taken from her in the Nashville floods.

It is the emotional impact of the book, rather than its mystery, that really keeps the reader engaged. (Oh, the mystery’s there, too, but for me it was definitely secondary.)

Read the rest at: http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2012/04/fresh-meat-a-deeper-darkness-by-j-t...
  CrimeHQ | May 14, 2013 |
Beautiful, beautiful book. I loved J.T. Ellison's story about Sam. It was so different from her Taylor Jackson series but more heartfelt and emotional. I found myself crying quite a few times. The surprises kept me guessing until the end. My only complaint is that I thought maybe Sam would call Taylor or Taylor would pop in her friend's story more as the two have been through so much together. I didn't want this book to end and I can't wait for another! ( )
  smithhoosier3 | Apr 27, 2013 |
Thoroughly enjoyed this. ( )
  cookiemo | Oct 7, 2012 |
I am sure I have read at least one or more of JT Ellison's Taylor Jackson series novels though I don't seem to have a record of it. A Deeper Darkness is an engaging spin off from that series featuring Taylor's best friend, Medical Examiner Samantha Owens.

Asked what I thought of A Deeper Darkness, the first phrase that came to mind was 'easily consumable'. It's a quick read that demands very little and provides a few hours of entertaining escape. The novel is deftly plotted with clues to piece together and twists that maintain suspense. The pace keeps the pages turning and the main conspiracy storyline resolves in a tension filled confrontation. Ellison references topical events and issues - the Tennessee floods, women in front line combat, the struggles of returned armed forces servicemen and women and obsessive compulsive disorder which provides added interest and depth to the story.

The characters of A Deeper Darkness are well developed with interesting personal histories and motivations. I liked Samantha and thought Ellison did a credible job of creating a well rounded, sympathetic protagonist. The details of Samantha's tragic personal background is revealed piecemeal throughout the story with her OCD a symptom of her grief and emotional stress. Donavon's death is yet another blow despite it being so long since their intimate relationship ended and explains why Samantha is so willing to get involved further in the case. The conflict between Samantha and Donovan's wife, Susan, seemed a little forced to me though that element is quickly resolved.
Detective Darren Fletcher is the the cynical but dedicated officer, I enjoyed his wry sense of humour and his partner, Detective Lonny Hart provides a good foil for him.
Even though we meet a few members of the Ranger team briefly, and others not all, Ellison ensures they are encapsulated as individuals. I would have liked to learn more about them but it wasn't strictly necessary in terms of the story.

I enjoyed A Deeper Darkness and I am intrigued by the premise for the second installment of this series, titled Edge of Black, due for publication in December. ( )
  shelleyraec | Aug 16, 2012 |
It’s a long time since I’ve read a thriller that was so engrossing AND contains a very good liner that I completely agree with “Life’s far too short for bad coffee”. Welcome to the world of Dr Samantha Owen, Medical Examiner who just happens to have an ex-Army boyfriend who was killed in a car-jacking – or was he?

Samantha (or Sam) lives a lonely life in Nashville after the untimely death of her husband and children. Prone to drinking a bit and over washing her hands, she is called on by the mother of an ex-boyfriend, Eddie Donovan, to perform a second autopsy on him after a carjacking gone wrong. Flying to Washington D.C., she picks up on some things that just aren’t right and is soon involved in a police investigation of not one, but several murders of his former Army mates.

This book is a multitude of strengths – not only is it a fast paced thriller with a page-turning plot, it has excellent characterisation too. With some books in this genre I find it difficult to differentiate the minor characters, but Ellison gives them quirks and a life of their own so the reader is not left trying to remember who is who. There is a nice balance between the personal (Sam’s previous tragedy and the awkwardness of meeting Eddie’s wife), the autopsies and the police procedurals. Fletcher and Hart are well rounded characters, each with enough personal detail for the reader to be able to identify them.

I’ve mentioned that the book is fast paced, but it’s not so much so that you lose track of what’s going on. The plot is very cleverly constructed, with enough twists that I couldn’t work out who the murderer was until it was revealed. The comments about army life and the rules – including the unspoken – were well placed, but not preachy. There’s also a little bit of romance in this book, but it certainly wasn’t predictable as to who would end up with who!

The emotions in A Deeper Darkness are also very well done. Sam is traumatised after the deaths of her family, but she doesn’t fall into the cliché of the troubled main character. Her pain is real and demonstrated in the flashes of grief that appear randomly – just like the real thing. The pain of Fletcher’s divorce is also explored with a raw emotion – and when Hart tells him why his ex-wife suddenly opened up to him, it all makes simple, yet perfect sense.

This is definitely an intriguing, well written book that will have you reading well into the night. I was really pleased to read that there will be a second book featuring Sam Owens released in the future, which I’ll look out for eagerly. I’ll also be checking out her series involving a police friend of Sam’s, Taylor Jackson.

Thank you to Harlequin for sending me this book and helping me discover a great author!

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
1 vote birdsam0610 | Aug 11, 2012 |
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As a medical examiner, Samantha Owen's job is to make a certain sense of death with crisp methodology. But the day the Tennessee floods took her husband and children, the light vanished from her life. She's pulled into a suffocating grief until she receives a peculiar call from Washington D.C. On the end of the line is an old boyfriend's mother, asking Sam to do a second autopsy on her son. Eddie Donovan is officially the victim of a vicious carjacking, but the forensics tell a darker story.… (more)

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