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Darker Than Midnight    by Maggie Shayne order for
Darker Than Midnight
by Maggie Shayne
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Michael Corbett has been confined to a mental institution since the death of his wife. For the past few months, he's been kept heavily sedated, making it impossible for him to make sense of the accusations leveled against him. During his few lucid moments, Michael has no recollection of killing his wife Stephanie. But his best friend (also Michael's psychiatrist) assures his patient that there is no mistake - Michael murdered his wife. When an orderly tries to kill Michael, he knows something isn't right and soon he's on the run. With nowhere else to go, he returns to his hometown and hides out at his old house, determined to clear his head and find the truth.

The town of Blackberry Vermont is looking for a new police chief. For the next few weeks, Cassandra Jackson will be riding along with the current chief to test the waters and see if she and the town are the right fit. But when Cassandra finds a desperately sick and disoriented stranger hiding out in her house, she puts her reputation and life on the line to help him. Should she believe Michael's wild claims that he didn't cold-bloodedly kill his wife, or turn him in to the authorities? In the meantime, Cassandra's young friend, troubled teenager Dawn Jones, is haunted by messages from beyond the grave, clues that could end in tragedy if Dawn doesn't heed the warnings.

Popular author Maggie Shayne blends mystery, a touch of the paranormal, and a satisfying romance to give readers another page-turner in Darker Than Midnight. Cassandra and Michael are strong, sympathetic, convincing characters. And while it's rather easy to figure out the killer's identity, Shayne throws a nice twist into the conclusion. She also leaves many unanswered questions regarding Dawn, which will certainly be addressed in the upcoming sequel to this loosely connected series that began in Thicker Than Water.

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