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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

[ Edited ]

A Deeper Darkness  As you who know me know that JT is one of my favs and I'm so glad I get to share her with all of you this month to see why I value highly her writing, her characters and especially her friendship.

Week One here we come

 

A Deeper Darkness
Week One

 

The author starts the novel giving us snippets into the lives of her characters, not giving too much away but she also gives us the foundation of the novel, the death of Eddie Donovan and his mother’s call for help to Sam.

 

  1. First thoughts

 

 

  1. Your first impression of Sam

 

  1. Do you have any favorite characters yet

 

  1. How do you like the author’s telling of the story

 

  1. Now let’s talk about the case itself, do you have any insights yet into why the murders were committed.

 

  1. How do you feel about the detectives on the case

 

  1. Part one ends with Sam’s breakdown which seems to have a somewhat cathartic effect on her.
    Do you agree, why or why not.

 

  1. How many of you didn’t stop at part one :smileyhappy:

 

Here are some pics of the flood that JT writes about

 

  •   
Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


dhaupt wrote:

I'm ready! For once, I'm right on top of this one, and it's been an exciting read. Thanks, Deb, for choosing this one.

1. First thoughts - a kind of mixed bag of curiosity, anxiety, repulsion (yes, the hand washing thing really is intense to me). But the book just drew me in from the start. It's clear that there's a problem, and that Eddie isn't revealing everything to his wife when he leaves. And of course, as the readers, we know there has to be a connection between his death and Croswell's. Not possible to put this down!

2. My first impression of Sam is that she is likeable, professional, but with a deep well of sadness that, for now, she can't seem to find her way out of. Trying to bury herself in her work, she is only more immersed in her misery. 

3. Faves? Not sure, I do like Sam, and Eleanor - maybe even a little more on the Eleanor side. Susan is a little more difficult, but by the end of Part One I've come to like her a little bit more, and maybe Sam a little bit less. The pen thing was the trigger for me, she didn't need to mention it - does she always have to insert her 'I was here first' thing??

4. I like the telling - it keeps the story at a fast pace, you get to, almost simultaneously, see everyone's point of view. 

5. The case itself - it feels obvious that it must be related to something the men shared in their common history. Maybe they committed some act of violence, as a group, and a survivor is going for revenge? Or maybe there is some stolen data/money involved? 'Do the right thing' leads me to believe the latter.

6. My first impression of the detectives is that they're a bit on the bumbling side, but I think there's more to them than that. (Of course, one of my initial thoughts was that Sam and Fletcher would end up together in the end... ;-)  They both seem to need someone.) When Fletcher started laying out the evidence to date and thinking it through, I realized that I hadn't given him enough credit.

7. Oh, I think Sam was long overdue for a good cry...

8. I WANTED to keep reading, but no, I was good!

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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Catherine111
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎04-30-2012

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

First Thoughts:  I was immediately drawn into the story.  I love how things switch around from different characters’ perspectives. All the little pieces of the puzzle are being laid out and by the end it is all going to fit together.  I love mysteries, and this one is really intriguing. 

  

First Impressions of Sam:  I’m still a little undecided about Sam.  She is professional and really good at her job.  It is understandable that she may be a little off her game right now because of the personal involvement with the victim and the fresh heartache over losing her own family.  I agree with elaine_hf  that she can be insensitive to Susan (the pen thing irritated me quite a bit).  But we often know her thoughts and she is trying her best to deal with everything that is being thrown at her.  I think we will begin to see a little more professionalism, since she had her meltdown.  I think she will begin to heal now and be of more assistance to everyone. 

 

Favorite Characters:  I like Darren Fletcher a lot (even with his occasional sexist thoughts!).  It has been pointed out that he is ready for retirement, so I think he is a little burned out.  He has a sad story and I too thought maybe he and Sam might find solace with each other; however, they seem so opposite that I’m not really sure that is what will happen.  Maybe they will just help each other out professionally and earn each other’s respect.   

 

Author’s Story Telling:  I love how the story is told.  As I said earlier, I love how we are skipping around with different characters, which will all connect by the end. 

 

Insights into why murders were committed:  I really don’t know.  I love mysteries (books, tv shows, movies) but I am not good at solving them. For some reason I thought the death of Perry Fisher (King) in Afghanistan might be a “friendly fire” incident and the squad was keeping it secret.  I have absolutely no evidence to support this.  I just think the death of King is the key. 

 

Thoughts on the detectives:  I like them.  They play off each other well and provide a bit of comic relief the way they jab each other now and then.  They are quite realistic too.

 

Sam’s breakdown.  Cathartic or not?:  Yes I think it is the thing she needed to get her on track for the rest of the book.  I think she will be more focused after her breakdown. 

 

Stop at part 1?: I was able to stop after part one only because I am reading two other books (on purpose).  I am notorious for not keeping with a reading schedule, and I thought, especially for a murder mystery like this, it was very important to keep on track.  I truly had to pace myself, though.  I think it will be more difficult, as I read through Part 2.  I don’t want to read ahead, so it is going to be a challenge. 

Catherine
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,828
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


elaine_hf wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

I'm ready! For once, I'm right on top of this one, and it's been an exciting read. Thanks, Deb, for choosing this one.

1. First thoughts - a kind of mixed bag of curiosity, anxiety, repulsion (yes, the hand washing thing really is intense to me). But the book just drew me in from the start. It's clear that there's a problem, and that Eddie isn't revealing everything to his wife when he leaves. And of course, as the readers, we know there has to be a connection between his death and Croswell's. Not possible to put this down!

2. My first impression of Sam is that she is likeable, professional, but with a deep well of sadness that, for now, she can't seem to find her way out of. Trying to bury herself in her work, she is only more immersed in her misery. 

3. Faves? Not sure, I do like Sam, and Eleanor - maybe even a little more on the Eleanor side. Susan is a little more difficult, but by the end of Part One I've come to like her a little bit more, and maybe Sam a little bit less. The pen thing was the trigger for me, she didn't need to mention it - does she always have to insert her 'I was here first' thing??

4. I like the telling - it keeps the story at a fast pace, you get to, almost simultaneously, see everyone's point of view. 

5. The case itself - it feels obvious that it must be related to something the men shared in their common history. Maybe they committed some act of violence, as a group, and a survivor is going for revenge? Or maybe there is some stolen data/money involved? 'Do the right thing' leads me to believe the latter.

6. My first impression of the detectives is that they're a bit on the bumbling side, but I think there's more to them than that. (Of course, one of my initial thoughts was that Sam and Fletcher would end up together in the end... ;-)  They both seem to need someone.) When Fletcher started laying out the evidence to date and thinking it through, I realized that I hadn't given him enough credit.

7. Oh, I think Sam was long overdue for a good cry...

8. I WANTED to keep reading, but no, I was good!


bumbling detectives, Elaine you really have to put JT's Taylor Jackson on your reading list, there is nothing bumbling and everything kick a- - about her.

 

You were good so you get a treat :smileyhappy:

 

my first impression of the detectives when I first met them was I love how politically correct they speak and how irreverant they think, well okay man-slutty :smileyhappy:

 

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,828
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


Catherine111 wrote:

First Thoughts:  I was immediately drawn into the story.  I love how things switch around from different characters’ perspectives. All the little pieces of the puzzle are being laid out and by the end it is all going to fit together.  I love mysteries, and this one is really intriguing. 

  

First Impressions of Sam:  I’m still a little undecided about Sam.  She is professional and really good at her job.  It is understandable that she may be a little off her game right now because of the personal involvement with the victim and the fresh heartache over losing her own family.  I agree with elaine_hf  that she can be insensitive to Susan (the pen thing irritated me quite a bit).  But we often know her thoughts and she is trying her best to deal with everything that is being thrown at her.  I think we will begin to see a little more professionalism, since she had her meltdown.  I think she will begin to heal now and be of more assistance to everyone. 

 

Favorite Characters:  I like Darren Fletcher a lot (even with his occasional sexist thoughts!).  It has been pointed out that he is ready for retirement, so I think he is a little burned out.  He has a sad story and I too thought maybe he and Sam might find solace with each other; however, they seem so opposite that I’m not really sure that is what will happen.  Maybe they will just help each other out professionally and earn each other’s respect.   

 

Author’s Story Telling:  I love how the story is told.  As I said earlier, I love how we are skipping around with different characters, which will all connect by the end. 

 

Insights into why murders were committed:  I really don’t know.  I love mysteries (books, tv shows, movies) but I am not good at solving them. For some reason I thought the death of Perry Fisher (King) in Afghanistan might be a “friendly fire” incident and the squad was keeping it secret.  I have absolutely no evidence to support this.  I just think the death of King is the key. 

 

Thoughts on the detectives:  I like them.  They play off each other well and provide a bit of comic relief the way they jab each other now and then.  They are quite realistic too.

 

Sam’s breakdown.  Cathartic or not?:  Yes I think it is the thing she needed to get her on track for the rest of the book.  I think she will be more focused after her breakdown. 

 

Stop at part 1?: I was able to stop after part one only because I am reading two other books (on purpose).  I am notorious for not keeping with a reading schedule, and I thought, especially for a murder mystery like this, it was very important to keep on track.  I truly had to pace myself, though.  I think it will be more difficult, as I read through Part 2.  I don’t want to read ahead, so it is going to be a challenge. 


Catherine thanks for your comments.

Spoiling is the main reason I don't read ahead, I really hate to spoil things for readers and have done so without meaning to.

 

I agree with both you and Elaine about Sam to a degree, but this is a new Sam for me, I knew the before Sam and I don't think that she's being selfish I just think she can't think straight.

Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 901
Registered: ‎08-30-2010

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

First thoughts:

I'm going to have to go back and read the first series.  I'm a TN girl and still visit friends in Nashville. As a matter of fact, close friends here in KY had been looking for property in Nashville when the 2010 flood occurred.  They ended up buying in the Gulch, a new "downtown" development.  I went down with them right after they bought.  I told them I was sure I would recognize the area and the street names from my time in Nashville as a pre-teen.  But my friends threw me a curve when they kept telling me to look for "Demon Brewin' Street."     Your mention of Demonbreun Street in ADD caused lots of laughter and prompted a call to my friend.

 

 Now the novel itself--I'm hooked!   I usually think of crime thrillers and literary fiction as being mutually exclusive, but I am finding many interesting literary elements in ADD.  I really like the structure, the short datelined sections focusing on a particular character that maintain an underlying staccato rhythm which add to the building tension of the investigation.  Seems that I remember that same kind of structure from some TV Crime Drama—NCIS(?)  Anyway, I really like the structure and the setting(s), and the characters and the plot.  

 

First impression of Sam:

Enigmatic character.  It took me a bit to get close to her, but that does seem to be her character, doesn’t it?  The exact reason for the hand-washing ritual is still vague to me (did I just miss that?).  I know she was doing an autopsy as her husband and twins were dying in the flood (right?).  She feels responsible for not saving them.  So is she trying to wash away “their blood on her hands”?  Is she trying to wash away the mud and stench of the flood?  And she seems never to have gotten over Donovan, almost as if her husband were her “second choice;” that adds to the enigma.  Her blurting out that the leaky fountain pen was a gift from her to Donovan was one of those real moments, a moment that just rang true to me.  She regrets that she said it aloud, that she hurt Susan; yet (reading between the lines) I can tell Sam is pleased that Donovan kept the pen, a memory of her.  And her preference of Lurch's (Nocek's) company over Fletcher's company  . . . well, I'm thinking that may change before the end of the novel(?).

 

Favorite characters in Part I:

Sam, of course.

 

Fletcher—His assessment of every good looking woman he sees is fun reading.  I don’t know whether to swoon over him or slap him silly.  Fletcher and Hart—sounds like a musical comedy team.  Listening to their banter and watching their antics, I realize how stressful their jobs must be.  The cynical humor in their partnership is a nice contrast right now to Sam’s withdrawal from stress.

 

(Don't know why I'm mentioning this, but Nocek is the only character I've formed a clear physical impression of thus far.  Great description of him!)   

 

Insights into why the murders were committed:

????   I’ve concentrated on the characters thus far

   

How many of you didn’t stop at part one 

I did, but only because I MADE myself. :smileywink: (No longer the teacher, I LOVE not having to be the first to finish.  I’m going to “savor.”)  

Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 901
Registered: ‎08-30-2010
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


elaine_hf wrote:

I'm ready! For once, I'm right on top of this one, and it's been an exciting read. Thanks, Deb, for choosing this one.

3. Faves? Not sure, I do like Sam, and Eleanor - maybe even a little more on the Eleanor side. Susan is a little more difficult, but by the end of Part One I've come to like her a little bit more, and maybe Sam a little bit less. The pen thing was the trigger for me, she didn't need to mention it - does she always have to insert her 'I was here first' thing??

 


The fountain pen moment!   You and I both zeroed in on it, but with different reactions.  :smileylol:  I am having a bit of a hard time understanding why Sam "settled" for going back to Nashville and her "safe" life with a "safe" husband. That does tend to make me feel she is a bit hypocritical, but I thought the pen comment was an honest slip.  When she mentally acknowledges that she shouldn't have said it, but doesn't stumble all over herself trying to apologize (knowing it would only make things worse and perhaps not really wanting to apologize either), I liked her better!

Inspired Wordsmith
whiteginger
Posts: 901
Registered: ‎08-30-2010
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

[ Edited ]

Catherine111 wrote:


  

First Impressions of Sam:  I’m still a little undecided about Sam.  She is professional and really good at her job. . . .  I agree with elaine_hf  that she can be insensitive to Susan (the pen thing irritated me quite a bit).  


 

Oh,  dear!  I am alone! :smileylol: And I know that Susan has good reason(s) not to accept Sam with open arms, but I felt that Susan is the one who sets the "unfriendly" tone between them when they first meet in DC.  I actually blamed that on Elenor.  If Elenor and Susan are on good terms, then Elenor should have convinced Susan of the need for a second autopsy before Sam arrived; and if Elenor had been unable to do that, she should have at least kept them apart to prevent further hurt to her daughter-in-law at this painful time.  Elenor almost seems to prefer Sam over Susan.

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,828
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


whiteginger wrote:

First thoughts:

I'm going to have to go back and read the first series.  I'm a TN girl and still visit friends in Nashville. As a matter of fact, close friends here in KY had been looking for property in Nashville when the 2010 flood occurred.  They ended up buying in the Gulch, a new "downtown" development.  I went down with them right after they bought.  I told them I was sure I would recognize the area and the street names from my time in Nashville as a pre-teen.  But my friends threw me a curve when they kept telling me to look for "Demon Brewin' Street."     Your mention of Demonbreun Street in ADD caused lots of laughter and prompted a call to my friend.

 

 Now the novel itself--I'm hooked!   I usually think of crime thrillers and literary fiction as being mutually exclusive, but I am finding many interesting literary elements in ADD.  I really like the structure, the short datelined sections focusing on a particular character that maintain an underlying staccato rhythm which add to the building tension of the investigation.  Seems that I remember that same kind of structure from some TV Crime Drama—NCIS(?)  Anyway, I really like the structure and the setting(s), and the characters and the plot.  

 

First impression of Sam:

Enigmatic character.  It took me a bit to get close to her, but that does seem to be her character, doesn’t it?  The exact reason for the hand-washing ritual is still vague to me (did I just miss that?).  I know she was doing an autopsy as her husband and twins were dying in the flood (right?).  She feels responsible for not saving them.  So is she trying to wash away “their blood on her hands”?  Is she trying to wash away the mud and stench of the flood?  And she seems never to have gotten over Donovan, almost as if her husband were her “second choice;” that adds to the enigma.  Her blurting out that the leaky fountain pen was a gift from her to Donovan was one of those real moments, a moment that just rang true to me.  She regrets that she said it aloud, that she hurt Susan; yet (reading between the lines) I can tell Sam is pleased that Donovan kept the pen, a memory of her.  And her preference of Lurch's (Nocek's) company over Fletcher's company  . . . well, I'm thinking that may change before the end of the novel(?).

 

Favorite characters in Part I:

Sam, of course.

 

Fletcher—His assessment of every good looking woman he sees is fun reading.  I don’t know whether to swoon over him or slap him silly.  Fletcher and Hart—sounds like a musical comedy team.  Listening to their banter and watching their antics, I realize how stressful their jobs must be.  The cynical humor in their partnership is a nice contrast right now to Sam’s withdrawal from stress.

 

(Don't know why I'm mentioning this, but Nocek is the only character I've formed a clear physical impression of thus far.  Great description of him!)   

 

Insights into why the murders were committed:

????   I’ve concentrated on the characters thus far

   

How many of you didn’t stop at part one 

I did, but only because I MADE myself. :smileywink: (No longer the teacher, I LOVE not having to be the first to finish.  I’m going to “savor.”)  


ginger, I love that you can relate to the novel on more than one level and I always look for your take on the structure of the novel, knowing where you came from, plus I just like hearing you say things like 
"staccato rhythm"

And Nocek you're spot on about, do you think it was deliberate, so that she keeps us in the dark about the other characters so to speak, or is he just that much of an oddity.

of course anyone can answer this.

 

It's gonna be a great month :smileyhappy:

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

I was pulled into this book right from the beginning. I found myself enjoying the characters and wanted to keep reading more to get to know them better. I loved that the author jumped around and we could see the story from different people's perspectives. In some books, this backfires, because there is at least one character who isn't as well-developed as the others, making their section drag on. In this book though, that isn't the case. Each character is as well-developed and interesting as the next. They have their own secrets from the past and their own quirks. I felt because of this style of writing that I identified with each character easier, getting to glimpse into their personal thoughts and feelings.

 

I fell in love with Sam right away. I feel a motherly instinct toward her, wanting to comfort her, to ease some of her pain over losing her husband and the twins. Her pain is gut-wrenching and my heart goes out to her. She repeatedly washes her hands, trying to make the pain go away, feeling their deaths are somehow her fault. Her past has me fascinated and I want to know more, but at this point, we don't know how her family died. I'm curious if by the end of the book we'll be filled in or not.

 

My favorite character is Sam. While reading, I couldn't wait to get another glimpse into her life, to see what else will enfold. I'm also intrigued by Susan. I can understand why she would feel uneasy having her husband's ex-lover around, but after reading part one, she seems more accepting of Sam. I think mostly because she realizes that although she lost her husband, she still has her daughters. But Sam lost not only her husband but her children too. I think they would make good friends, or at least a good shoulder to cry on, but I'm not sure there is any hope of that happening because of Sam's past with Eddie Donovan.

 

As I said before, I love that the author told the story from different perspectives. We get a glimpse into what everyone's innermost thoughts and feelings are. I think this is a great technique in getting the reader to identify and forge an emotional connection with each character. I'm having a hard time putting this book down, because I want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

 

At this point, I feel I don't have enough information as to why the murders were committed. I'm a little suspicious of what Maggie Lyons really knows though. Her daughter Jennifer was awake in the middle of the night and had seen a light on in the house that Croswell had been killed in and two shadows. Then she saw what looked like a shooting star inside of the house. After Fletcher and Hart questioned Maggie and left, her reaction was to grab a bag for herself and the kids, thinking she was never going to escape her past. I'm wondering what is in her past that is making her run? Does she hold a clue that might help solve the murders?

 

I thought Fletcher and Hart balanced each other out well. When one seems too exhausted to go on, the other seems to be able to get him motivated to move forward. Although Fletcher seems too exhausted in the beginning to be able to go on, after a power nap he's back on the case. Hart seemed more willing to share their information with Sam, while Fletcher was holding back. Fletcher obviously has a thing for Sam, so I was wondering if they would eventually get together. I think they would be a good match.

 

I don't think Sam has allowed herself to truly grieve for the loss of her family. She hasn't let herself really cry over everything that she has lost, because that would make it true. At one point, she thinks if she could just allow herself to shed the pent-up tears, but, "She just wasn't ready to let them out of her heart. Something told her that if she cried, her loves would escape down her cheeks, drip into a tissue, and the memories of them would vanish forever." That was very powerful for me into understanding what Sam was really going through. I think Sam's crying was a turning point for her, the first step for her in moving forward with her life. When the tears finally came, with it came a little of Sam's old self. She decides to sell her house, which is no longer a home, but more of a prison. Too many memories there.

 

I had to force myself to stop at part one. I like speculating with the group about what I think will happen and if I read ahead, I can't really do that without giving anything away. I haven't read this type of book in years and I'm loving the change of pace from what I have been reading. I'm loving this book so much in fact, I'm going to pick up JT's Taylor Jackson series so I can read more about Sam's past!

April
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,828
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


aprilh wrote:

I was pulled into this book right from the beginning. I found myself enjoying the characters and wanted to keep reading more to get to know them better. I loved that the author jumped around and we could see the story from different people's perspectives. In some books, this backfires, because there is at least one character who isn't as well-developed as the others, making their section drag on. In this book though, that isn't the case. Each character is as well-developed and interesting as the next. They have their own secrets from the past and their own quirks. I felt because of this style of writing that I identified with each character easier, getting to glimpse into their personal thoughts and feelings.

 

I fell in love with Sam right away. I feel a motherly instinct toward her, wanting to comfort her, to ease some of her pain over losing her husband and the twins. Her pain is gut-wrenching and my heart goes out to her. She repeatedly washes her hands, trying to make the pain go away, feeling their deaths are somehow her fault. Her past has me fascinated and I want to know more, but at this point, we don't know how her family died. I'm curious if by the end of the book we'll be filled in or not.

 

My favorite character is Sam. While reading, I couldn't wait to get another glimpse into her life, to see what else will enfold. I'm also intrigued by Susan. I can understand why she would feel uneasy having her husband's ex-lover around, but after reading part one, she seems more accepting of Sam. I think mostly because she realizes that although she lost her husband, she still has her daughters. But Sam lost not only her husband but her children too. I think they would make good friends, or at least a good shoulder to cry on, but I'm not sure there is any hope of that happening because of Sam's past with Eddie Donovan.

 

As I said before, I love that the author told the story from different perspectives. We get a glimpse into what everyone's innermost thoughts and feelings are. I think this is a great technique in getting the reader to identify and forge an emotional connection with each character. I'm having a hard time putting this book down, because I want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

 

At this point, I feel I don't have enough information as to why the murders were committed. I'm a little suspicious of what Maggie Lyons really knows though. Her daughter Jennifer was awake in the middle of the night and had seen a light on in the house that Croswell had been killed in and two shadows. Then she saw what looked like a shooting star inside of the house. After Fletcher and Hart questioned Maggie and left, her reaction was to grab a bag for herself and the kids, thinking she was never going to escape her past. I'm wondering what is in her past that is making her run? Does she hold a clue that might help solve the murders?

 

I thought Fletcher and Hart balanced each other out well. When one seems too exhausted to go on, the other seems to be able to get him motivated to move forward. Although Fletcher seems too exhausted in the beginning to be able to go on, after a power nap he's back on the case. Hart seemed more willing to share their information with Sam, while Fletcher was holding back. Fletcher obviously has a thing for Sam, so I was wondering if they would eventually get together. I think they would be a good match.

 

I don't think Sam has allowed herself to truly grieve for the loss of her family. She hasn't let herself really cry over everything that she has lost, because that would make it true. At one point, she thinks if she could just allow herself to shed the pent-up tears, but, "She just wasn't ready to let them out of her heart. Something told her that if she cried, her loves would escape down her cheeks, drip into a tissue, and the memories of them would vanish forever." That was very powerful for me into understanding what Sam was really going through. I think Sam's crying was a turning point for her, the first step for her in moving forward with her life. When the tears finally came, with it came a little of Sam's old self. She decides to sell her house, which is no longer a home, but more of a prison. Too many memories there.

 

I had to force myself to stop at part one. I like speculating with the group about what I think will happen and if I read ahead, I can't really do that without giving anything away. I haven't read this type of book in years and I'm loving the change of pace from what I have been reading. I'm loving this book so much in fact, I'm going to pick up JT's Taylor Jackson series so I can read more about Sam's past!


april, you will definitely have to tell me how you like the Taylor Jackson series

 

it's interesting that you mentioned that Sam hasn't truly let herself grieve for her family, do you think it's like a self inflicted wound she gives herself, or has she just not truly let it sink in yet.

 

 

Distinguished Correspondent
1AnneB
Posts: 848
Registered: ‎08-03-2009

Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

 

First thoughts

 

I, too, really liked the rhythm of the book and the way that we get all the character's points of view. It really allowed me to become "invested" in the story, but I also seemed to have more questions that answers as I read along - maybe that's the author's reason for dividing the book into parts.

 

Your first impression of Sam

 

At first, I was sympathetic, then as I learned more about her past, horrified, then almost annoyed with her (that's my "fix it" personality showing), then hopeful that she will  find some resolution and peace in her life.

 

Do you have any favorite characters yet

 

I think that I like Fletcher the best - he seems the most likeable of them all

 

How do you like the author’s telling of the story

 

I really like the different points of view that we get - it has a rhythm that pulls me along and makes me want to find out what's next

 

Now let’s talk about the case itself, do you have any insights yet into why the murders were

committed.

 

I think it really has to do with the death of their "team-mate"

 

How do you feel about the detectives on the case

 

I like the relationship that they have - they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their personal styles complement each other - that's why they make a good team. 

 

Part one ends with Sam’s breakdown which seems to have a somewhat cathartic effect on her.

 

 Do you agree, why or why not.

 

I think that the breakdown will have a positive effect, if she allows it to. She has kept such a tight rein on herself, until this point, I'm not sure how much she will allow herself to accept and move on.

 



As much as I wanted to continue reading.... I didn't



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aprilh
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


whiteginger wrote:

 

 

 

First impression of Sam:

Enigmatic character.  It took me a bit to get close to her, but that does seem to be her character, doesn’t it?  The exact reason for the hand-washing ritual is still vague to me (did I just miss that?).  I know she was doing an autopsy as her husband and twins were dying in the flood (right?).  She feels responsible for not saving them.  So is she trying to wash away “their blood on her hands”?  Is she trying to wash away the mud and stench of the flood?  And she seems never to have gotten over Donovan, almost as if her husband were her “second choice;” that adds to the enigma.  Her blurting out that the leaky fountain pen was a gift from her to Donovan was one of those real moments, a moment that just rang true to me.  She regrets that she said it aloud, that she hurt Susan; yet (reading between the lines) I can tell Sam is pleased that Donovan kept the pen, a memory of her.  And her preference of Lurch's (Nocek's) company over Fletcher's company  . . . well, I'm thinking that may change before the end of the novel(?).

 

 



At this point, I'm assuming that Sam's hand-washing is some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think the only way she can cope with the death of her family, is by constantly washing her hands, to the point where they bleed. I've noticed she feels the need to repeatedly wash her hands when she's feeling overwhelmed by a situation and I think by engaging in this act, it helps to ease some of the pain she's feeling.

April
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dhaupt
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


1AnneB wrote:

 

First thoughts

 

I, too, really liked the rhythm of the book and the way that we get all the character's points of view. It really allowed me to become "invested" in the story, but I also seemed to have more questions that answers as I read along - maybe that's the author's reason for dividing the book into parts.

 

Your first impression of Sam

 

At first, I was sympathetic, then as I learned more about her past, horrified, then almost annoyed with her (that's my "fix it" personality showing), then hopeful that she will  find some resolution and peace in her life.

 

Do you have any favorite characters yet

 

I think that I like Fletcher the best - he seems the most likeable of them all

 

How do you like the author’s telling of the story

 

I really like the different points of view that we get - it has a rhythm that pulls me along and makes me want to find out what's next

 

Now let’s talk about the case itself, do you have any insights yet into why the murders were

committed.

 

I think it really has to do with the death of their "team-mate"

 

How do you feel about the detectives on the case

 

I like the relationship that they have - they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their personal styles complement each other - that's why they make a good team. 

 

Part one ends with Sam’s breakdown which seems to have a somewhat cathartic effect on her.

 

 Do you agree, why or why not.

 

I think that the breakdown will have a positive effect, if she allows it to. She has kept such a tight rein on herself, until this point, I'm not sure how much she will allow herself to accept and move on.

 



As much as I wanted to continue reading.... I didn't




Thanks Anne, great impressions on the novel and cast- and I have to agree with you about the breakdown.

 

and I have to say WOW to all of you for not reading ahead

is it because of the nuances we as a group talk about, are you afraid to "spoil" something

 

 

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aprilh
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


whiteginger wrote:

elaine_hf wrote:

I'm ready! For once, I'm right on top of this one, and it's been an exciting read. Thanks, Deb, for choosing this one.

3. Faves? Not sure, I do like Sam, and Eleanor - maybe even a little more on the Eleanor side. Susan is a little more difficult, but by the end of Part One I've come to like her a little bit more, and maybe Sam a little bit less. The pen thing was the trigger for me, she didn't need to mention it - does she always have to insert her 'I was here first' thing??

 


The fountain pen moment!   You and I both zeroed in on it, but with different reactions.  :smileylol:  I am having a bit of a hard time understanding why Sam "settled" for going back to Nashville and her "safe" life with a "safe" husband. That does tend to make me feel she is a bit hypocritical, but I thought the pen comment was an honest slip.  When she mentally acknowledges that she shouldn't have said it, but doesn't stumble all over herself trying to apologize (knowing it would only make things worse and perhaps not really wanting to apologize either), I liked her better!


I thought Sam mentioning she gave Eddie the fountain pen was a classic case of speaking without thinking about what you're really saying. I think she honestly felt bad after having said it, but it was too late to take it back and no apology was going to make it any better. In fact, acknowledging what she had said might have even made it worse. I felt badly for Susan in this situation too. She and Sam were just starting to get along, or at least were acting cordial to each other, and I'm sure to her it felt like Sam was trying to get the upper hand. When I was reading this scene, I could just feel the tension mounting in the air!

April
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aprilh
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


dhaupt wrote:

aprilh wrote:

I was pulled into this book right from the beginning. I found myself enjoying the characters and wanted to keep reading more to get to know them better. I loved that the author jumped around and we could see the story from different people's perspectives. In some books, this backfires, because there is at least one character who isn't as well-developed as the others, making their section drag on. In this book though, that isn't the case. Each character is as well-developed and interesting as the next. They have their own secrets from the past and their own quirks. I felt because of this style of writing that I identified with each character easier, getting to glimpse into their personal thoughts and feelings.

 

I fell in love with Sam right away. I feel a motherly instinct toward her, wanting to comfort her, to ease some of her pain over losing her husband and the twins. Her pain is gut-wrenching and my heart goes out to her. She repeatedly washes her hands, trying to make the pain go away, feeling their deaths are somehow her fault. Her past has me fascinated and I want to know more, but at this point, we don't know how her family died. I'm curious if by the end of the book we'll be filled in or not.

 

My favorite character is Sam. While reading, I couldn't wait to get another glimpse into her life, to see what else will enfold. I'm also intrigued by Susan. I can understand why she would feel uneasy having her husband's ex-lover around, but after reading part one, she seems more accepting of Sam. I think mostly because she realizes that although she lost her husband, she still has her daughters. But Sam lost not only her husband but her children too. I think they would make good friends, or at least a good shoulder to cry on, but I'm not sure there is any hope of that happening because of Sam's past with Eddie Donovan.

 

As I said before, I love that the author told the story from different perspectives. We get a glimpse into what everyone's innermost thoughts and feelings are. I think this is a great technique in getting the reader to identify and forge an emotional connection with each character. I'm having a hard time putting this book down, because I want to keep reading to find out what happens next.

 

At this point, I feel I don't have enough information as to why the murders were committed. I'm a little suspicious of what Maggie Lyons really knows though. Her daughter Jennifer was awake in the middle of the night and had seen a light on in the house that Croswell had been killed in and two shadows. Then she saw what looked like a shooting star inside of the house. After Fletcher and Hart questioned Maggie and left, her reaction was to grab a bag for herself and the kids, thinking she was never going to escape her past. I'm wondering what is in her past that is making her run? Does she hold a clue that might help solve the murders?

 

I thought Fletcher and Hart balanced each other out well. When one seems too exhausted to go on, the other seems to be able to get him motivated to move forward. Although Fletcher seems too exhausted in the beginning to be able to go on, after a power nap he's back on the case. Hart seemed more willing to share their information with Sam, while Fletcher was holding back. Fletcher obviously has a thing for Sam, so I was wondering if they would eventually get together. I think they would be a good match.

 

I don't think Sam has allowed herself to truly grieve for the loss of her family. She hasn't let herself really cry over everything that she has lost, because that would make it true. At one point, she thinks if she could just allow herself to shed the pent-up tears, but, "She just wasn't ready to let them out of her heart. Something told her that if she cried, her loves would escape down her cheeks, drip into a tissue, and the memories of them would vanish forever." That was very powerful for me into understanding what Sam was really going through. I think Sam's crying was a turning point for her, the first step for her in moving forward with her life. When the tears finally came, with it came a little of Sam's old self. She decides to sell her house, which is no longer a home, but more of a prison. Too many memories there.

 

I had to force myself to stop at part one. I like speculating with the group about what I think will happen and if I read ahead, I can't really do that without giving anything away. I haven't read this type of book in years and I'm loving the change of pace from what I have been reading. I'm loving this book so much in fact, I'm going to pick up JT's Taylor Jackson series so I can read more about Sam's past!


april, you will definitely have to tell me how you like the Taylor Jackson series

 

it's interesting that you mentioned that Sam hasn't truly let herself grieve for her family, do you think it's like a self inflicted wound she gives herself, or has she just not truly let it sink in yet.

 

 


I think Sam's inability to let herself grieve is something she has inflicted upon herself. I think she is afraid that if she lets her grief out in the open that she will somehow lose all ties to her family, that all the memories she has of them will disappear. I get the impression that she feels if she mourns the loss of her family and starts to move forward with her life, that she'll somehow start to forget them. My heart goes out to her. She seems trapped at this point and I hope she will find a way to start to move on.

 

This book has so many elements to it, it's a fantastic one to discuss! Great pick, Deb!:smileyhappy:

April
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shadowcat80
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

My first impressions of the book, I never read any JT Ellison before but I enjoying the book so much that I will look into other books as well. I love the characters and the descriptions.
Help me down the crooked road. Lead me to the light. I'm not sure I know the way but with you beside me, I'm certain we'll make it through.
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whiteginger
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

[ Edited ]

dhaupt wrote:

WhiteGinger wrote:

 

. . . (Don't know why I'm mentioning this, but Nocek is the only character I've formed a clear physical impression of thus far.  Great description of him!)   . . . 


ginger, . . . 

And Nocek you're spot on about, do you think it was deliberate, so that she keeps us in the dark about the other characters so to speak, or is he just that much of an oddity.

of course anyone can answer this.

 

It's gonna be a great month :smileyhappy:


Interesting thought, Deb.  When I get too much physical description of a character too soon, it does affect my view of the character's personality.  I get locked into some stereotype I associate with the physical description and  I tend to expect the character to either fit that stereotype or be the exact opposite.  Then I overlook little details in the character that hint at all the various shades of grey we all have in our personalities; I try to force all the details into one of my preconceived pictures of the character.

 

Whether fewer physical descriptive details about the main characters was deliberate or subconscious . . . hmmm . . . don't know, but I'm glad it happened that way because Nocek is already stereotyped in my mind and everyone else is  more complex.  (Now when Nocek becomes a major player or turns out to be the killer or something, I guess I'll have to reevaluate my thinking! :smileyhappy:)

 

 Deb (and anyone else who has read the previous series) here's one for you:  you say that Sam, as the major character in this new series, is different now-- dealing with personal loss and leaving Nashville, her safety net.  Did the difference really surprise you?  Or do you still see lots of evidence of the "old Sam" even at this transition point, this low point in her life?   Just curious. I like her now and expect to like her better by the end of the book.

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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness

Good morning, all! Forgive my somewhat intermittent appearances this week-I'm in the Big Apple for Book Expo America. Signings and parties and meetings: BEA is the place to be. We have a fantastic room with a great view, and I'm drinking a cup of Earl Grey whilst reading your comments. Your first impressions fascinate me. Sam is such a different character in this book than she ever was in the Taylor novels, so I hope you'll take a look into her past, her before. The floods were a huge line of demarcation for her, and she's finding her way through the aftermath, though not very well. I'm a big fan of Fletcher's too. He sort of stole the book once he paraded on the scene. and Amado Nocek, what's not to love? Thanks for all your comments-if you have questions leave them here and I'll stop back by tonight to answer them. Thanks for reading, and to Debbie for hosting me. Now, off to work! Best, JT
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elaine_hf
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Re: Week One Discussion of A Deeper Darkness


aprilh wrote:

whiteginger wrote:

 



At this point, I'm assuming that Sam's hand-washing is some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think the only way she can cope with the death of her family, is by constantly washing her hands, to the point where they bleed. I've noticed she feels the need to repeatedly wash her hands when she's feeling overwhelmed by a situation and I think by engaging in this act, it helps to ease some of the pain she's feeling.


I've also been pondering the reasoning behind the hand washing, and I wonder if it isn't something symbolic. Flooding her hands with water...the flood took her family....a way to be constantly reminded of her loss and her love for those who were 'washed away'. Without the washing ritual, she doesn't seem particularly OCD, and that ritual began after the flood. And it seems, although I need to go back and double check, that she feels most compelled to flood her hands when she's put in situations that remind her of her family. I don't know if that kind of thing is always a trigger for an OCD event, but I think it's significant.

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