Thursday, December 10, 2015
Review: "Dark Rooms" by Lili Anolik
The debut thriller by Lili Anilok, Dark Rooms, is fill of many surprises, not the least of which is what it hides behind its glossy cover. It looks kind of corny, all black, overly dramatic font with a very colorful zebra-print lighter poking out of the bottom. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t, in anyway prepare you for the kind of story you are about to read, which has less to do with something like Gone Girl than books like Kelly Braffett’s Save Yourself and Scott Heim’s Mysterious Skin. Using what seems like simple crime; the murder of a young school girl whose murderer has apparently committed suicide, and uses it to tell a story of lost innocence, dark secrets hidden underneath the surface of family and social life, and the difficulty of forgiveness and the courage it takes to take that first step. It’s not perfect, but it provided and interesting journey. The prologue is tremendous, having so many twists and turns within just a few pages, it is boggles the mind and fills me with envy. The story focuses on Grace Baker, whose younger sister was the said murder victim in an upscale New England prep school. The case is solved, but Grace and her parents are left in ruins. She stumbles upon a clue as to what really happened, and it takes her on a journey that might totally destroy her. If this book has one flaw it is that Grace seems to be the only great character here, more fascinating than any of the others, and even the plot itself. Others shine, but only after a big reveal, one of which who’s cruelty and selfishness had me riveted (it’s not the one you might think if/when you read this). Bur by the end, I felt out of breath and oddly moved, as the best kind of crime thrillers do. I can’t wait to see what Anolik does next.