The Familiar Dark five star thriller by Amy Engel. Book Review. Duffy's favourites

From the bestselling author of THE ROANOKE GIRLS comes a new novel with the same incredible atmosphere, strong sense of place and dark heart. THE FAMILIAR DARK will blow you away.

In a small town beset by poverty in the Missouri Ozarks, two 12-year-old girls are found dead in the park. Their throats have been cut. Eve Taggert’s daughter was one of them. Desperate with grief, she takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened to her little girl. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life – having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose parenting lessons she tried hard not to mimic. But with her daughter gone, Eve has no reason to stay soft. And she is going to need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the truth about her daughter’s death.

Duffy’s Thoughts On The Familiar Dark

‘My body had suffered when Junie came into the world. It seemed only fitting that it suffered when she left.’

WOW. The Familiar Dark is a brilliant piece of work. I knew from the book blurb I was going to enjoy the read, but I had no idea I would be gripped from page one, right until the last, reading it in just one sitting.

The Familiar Dark is a gritty look at poverty in small-town America. There are those who are poor, and then there are the Taggert’s. Eve’s life starts out in a dank, urine scented trailer and barely steps up from there, until she has a daughter, Junie. Junie is Eve’s chance to do things right and the responsibility of motherhood keeps her away from the hellish underbelly of the Ozarks. But, then Junie is snatched away.

‘The sudden surge of pains so huge, so monumental, that I feared expelling it would rip my insides out, lungs and heart and stomach gushing out of me, a bloody pile of organs left on the floor.’

Eve’s search for the truth and the person who cruelly took away her daughter is a dark and twisted one. She has to rely on seedy characters and those who have wronged her to guide her in the right direction. The tension is palpable and there are a few twists along the way that I had no idea where coming. Amy Engel has exceptional talent when it comes to conveying even the smallest moments on a page.

The reality of life in these poverty-stricken towns smacks you hard in the face, and The Familiar Dark certainly gave off some Gone Baby Gone and Sharp Objects vibes. Another win for female writers and their incredibly strong characters.

A brilliant thriller and one of Duffy’s favourites this year. If you love a sharp, dark twisted thriller, then The Familiar Dark should be your self-isolation read.

The Familiar Dark book review. Duffy's favourites
The Familiar Dark published by Hachette is available from Booktopia and all good book stores