A review of “When Darkness Falls (Violet Darger FBI Mystery Thriller Book 10)” by Tim McBain and LT Vargus

Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the authors but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own.

Darger and Loshak are back for the wildest case yet.

When Alaska comes to mind, people have many thoughts and most of them are stereotypes. Anything from Eskimos to perpetually cold weather, to bigfoot, this region of the United States has been shrouded with wild misconceptions.  So, with little lay of the land and barely recovered from the previous case, Darger and Loshak are called out to the frozen north to assist with tracking and apprehension of “The Butcher”. Currently not much is known about the culprit, only that his hunting ground currently appear to be in the remote logging forests. With the logging season coming to an end and the weather turning more and more unpredictable, Darger and Loshak find themselves split up to lead different teams in their efforts to catch the killer. But Darger and her team become the next targets when what initially started out as a quick check of a logging camp becomes a struggle for survival against the elements and a killer. More than ever, Darger needs to rely on her wits and any survival skills she may have picked up along the way if she wants to leave the woods alive.

When Darkness Falls is the 10th in the long-running Violet Darger series of novels by writer duo Tim McBain and LT Vargus. Picking up shortly after the close of “The Couple Killer” the duo head to small town Alaska for their next assignment. No strangers to travel or back-to-back cases, this trip is especially hard as Loshak is putting on a brave face while still trying to recover from a recently sustained injury. This leaves him in a reduced capacity at best and borderline useless at worst, but this seems to spur Loshak into action to help his partner when a miracle is desperately needed. Being a long-time reader of this series, Loshak’s current state reminded me of the duo’s first pairing in the novel “Dead End Girl”. Whether this was an intentional “easter egg” or an unintentional development I still found it to be a nice touch. And as it was brought to my mind, I also could not help but contrast how the dynamic between the two agents have evolved over the last 10 books in this series.

From the Prologue, the stage is set, and the lines are drawn. With a slightly slower start than other books in this series, once the action picked up it really felt like one of those old school horror movies where the victims are in an unmanageable position, just trying to find a place to hide before the next victim is picked off. With the book clocking in at a little under 500 pages, at times I seriously wondered if I was reading the final installment in this series. Just when I thought I had something riddled out, another wrinkle, or event or, thunderstorm came along to wash away that theory like the mountain roads in the logging forests. If you are looking for a book that is every bit the thrill ride from beginning to end, McBain and Vargus never fail to deliver.

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