A Cry in the Dark

Image of A Cry in the Dark (FBI: Strange Crimes Unit, 2)
Release Date: 
February 28, 2023
Love Inspired Trade
Reviewed by: 

“a gripping novel of a law enforcement officer’s search for spiritual peace while trying to apprehend a killer who’s seeking the same thing.”

When Violet Rainwater’s mother was much younger, she was abducted by a man calling himself Adam, held for two years, and then released, along with the baby girl he’d fathered. Reeva Rainwater kept the baby but never failed to remind her what a monster her father was, and Violet grew up believing she was as much a creature of the Devil as he.

Now Violet is member of the FBI ‘s Strange Crime Unit, covering the Southern US, just finishing up a case where she discovers the killer she’s hunting is a half-brother also fathered by Adam. This does nothing more than reenforce her belief that she’s as much as monster as her father.

“She could psychoanalyze all day long and give herself a clinical pep talk with a rational plan but the heart could care less about psychology and a glossary of terms.”

Now, she’s on another bizarre crime, aptly named the Blind Eye Killer, someone who kidnaps women, tortures and surgically removes their eyes, then sews the lids shut before he kills them.

The bodies were found in east Kentucky, in a cave in “a place called Night Hollow. Branching out from a little town called Crow’s Creek.”

When Violet and her group enter Night Hollow, they come up against prejudice and distrust. The local police don’t want them there. The townspeople are clannish, saying things like, “The Holler takes care of its own.” Some are downright hostile, others helpful but barely so.

“Why wouldn’t they want justice for their community? Thought hollers were family even if they weren’t related.”

“I didn’t say they didn’t want justice served. I said they might not want you to find him. We have ways of doing things up here.”

A new member joins Violet’s group, John Orlando, member of the Missing Persons Unit of the Memphis PD. John’s wife had been killed while undercover with a drug dealer named Whiskey. Whiskey’s territory is around Night Hollow, so when bodies begin appearing there, John wants in, hoping to find enough evidence to prove Whiskey killed his wife.

A sudden attraction to Agent Rainwater may either help his investigations or put a definite crimp in them, and the current undercover agent who’s become close to Whiskey isn’t helping.

“If you think you’re going to come up here and poke your nose into everything I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”

Whatever happens, John and Violet are in for some long nights and gruesome events as they search for the man killing off women apparently connected in some way to Whiskey, or is it Whiskey himself doing the killings?

Why does Violet get the feeling she’s being watched when she’s alone in her room at the FBI-rented B&B?

“What scares you in the holler? Because I’ll tell you something. This place doesn’t feel good to me. I’m ready to go home.”

Then another piece is added to an already puzzling case. Violet bears such a resemblance to one of the women in the Hollow that they have to be related. This is confirmed when Violet learns that Adam is living somewhere in the Hollow. Now she may get her one consuming wish: confronting her father, once and for all.

But, as Fate will have it, there’s a final and more horrifying twist that cancels out everything else. . . .

Though this is mostly a standalone novel, there are so many references to events occurring before the crimes in this story, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the reader to find and go over the previous novel to get a better understanding of Violet and her fellow investigators. This is definitely a tense, suspenseful story, with heavy spiritual overtones, with John being the voice of the Believer, and Violet the Seeker after Grace as she struggles with her lifelong belief in her own evil while struggling to prove to herself she’s not.

The clannishness and familial feeling of people in a secluded community is well revealed by the actions of those who do what they believe is best for everyone, not because they actually want to, but because they’ve been led to believe the safety of everyone is paramount over that of the individual. A Cry in the Dark is a gripping novel of a law enforcement officer’s search for spiritual peace while trying to apprehend a killer who’s seeking the same thing. Readers will sympathize with Agent Rainwater and perhaps see a bit of themselves in her remorseless quest for self-forgiveness.