Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review: Darkness at the Edge of Town by Jennifer Harlow

Darkness at the Edge of Town (Iris Ballard #2) by Jennifer Harlow
Publication date: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Alibi
My rating: 4 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
A complicated, charismatic forensic psychologist tries to rescue her brother from the clutches of a maniacal cult leader in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the author of Beautiful Maids All in a Row.
After catching an infamous serial killer, Dr. Iris Ballard has become a TV sensation. Exhausted from her appearances on the talk-show circuit, she’s looking forward to some quality time with Luke Hudson, her former FBI partner and on-again, off-again lover. The last thing Iris wants is to get pulled back to her dying Rust Belt hometown, but after the frantic call from her mother, she doesn’t have a choice.

Iris is a disgrace in Grey Mills, Pennsylvania, but her twin brother has gone and outdone her. Billy has abandoned his fiancée, drained their checking account, and quit his job to join a cult called the New Morning Movement. Expecting to find something sinister at play, Iris is eager to destroy the quixotic hold they have on her brother. And that means outwitting the cult’s cunning, sadistic founder, Mathias Morning.

Iris has logic and reason on her side. But Mathias doesn’t play by society’s rules. Just as Iris begins to lose hope, her investigation leads her to cross path with the DEA. And now she needs to save Billy’s life before they’re both caught in the crossfire.

My Thoughts:
Darkness at the Edge of Town takes us back into the life of Iris Ballard not long after the events in the last book where she and her best friend and former FBI partner, Luke took down The Woodsman.  Iris is just finishing on the talk-show circuit, and planning on spending a time with Luke when her mother calls begging for Iris to come immediately and help get her twin brother, Billie, out of the clutches of some cult.

Iris, although not pleased, rushes back to her hometown, a town that holds many a bad memory, and discovers her brother has been going through some tough times, and is vulnerable. Just the kind of prey a manipulative cult leader like Mathias, the New Morningstar’s charismatic leader, and his followers are in search of.   Iris must put her natural talent and training as an FBI profiler to use, to stay one step ahead and outsmart Mathias. The more Iris finds out, the more she’s worried for her brother.

I couldn’t wait to get back to Iris and Luke after the events in Beautiful Maids All in a Row.  It was clear that the feelings between Iris and Luke were finally going to come out soon.  I had hopes that their unrequited love would go somewhere, as they’ve clearly been tortured by being apart.  I think my biggest complaint with this installment is that there wasn’t more Luke in the beginning, but boy-oh-boy was I thrilled with how things played out once he’s fully in the picture again!  Luke is everything I want in a man, or fictional hero!  Totally devoted, protective, while fully confident and proud of Iris’s abilities.  They knew each other so well, had a wealth of history between them. The irresistible pull of attraction a palpable thing between them!  I just love a friends-to-lovers sort of romance!  The love between them was obvious to anyone looking, and yet each were hesitant to take the next step.  I read with bated breath every interaction and crossed my fingers they wouldn’t screw things up!

The romance isn’t the only pull in this story.  I was awed by Iris’s skills in reading people, and treading in just the right way to get what she needed.  It was unfortunate that others in law enforcement didn’t always heed her advice here. 

This is the second book in the series, and I don’t recommend reading this as a standalone.  The mystery/conflict part could be read and understood, but you’d miss the best part: the history and relationship between Luke and Iris.  Their interactions and final outcome wouldn’t mean as much without the first book for reference.  I loved both books!

Initial impressions:
Loved, loved Luke!! Iris is pretty bad-ass and great, too, but I LOVED Luke!

Connect with Jennifer Harlow


  1. Glad the second book was a strong read for you, that doesn't always happen in series. It sounds like a great series to start. Wonderful review for this Rachel. :D

  2. I think you loved Luke :D this series sounds exciting and the romance swoon worthy

  3. I hadn't heard of either of these, but they sound great. Good to know you should read the first one before this though!


  4. Lovely review Rachel :D I'm glad you liked this book a lot. Yay for good romance and good story too :D Sounds like an exciting read. <3


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