Friday, June 25, 2010

Darling Jim, by Christian Moerk

I've read a lot of serial killer themed mysteries-I mean, A LOT!  For a while there it felt like all I ever read was mysteries and thrillers, so my serial killer quotient was pretty high.  But I have never come across a mystery quite like Christian Moerk's Darling Jim.

Darling Jim a multi-layered story of deception, obsession, and madness. Two sisters and their aunt are found dead in a house in rural Ireland.  The townspeople are shocked to discover that the aunt had been holding her nieces prisoner, slowly poisoning them.  In a final showdown, it appeared that the sisters had managed to kill their aunt before succumbing themselves. There was evidence that a third girl was also held hostage, but she was nowhere to be found when the bodies were discovered.  A few weeks later, a postal worker, Niall, finds a diary in the post, written by one of the two slain sisters.  It details the extraordinary events that led up to her death.  Between the pages of her journal lies the tale of Darling Jim, a traveling storyteller who enchants the villagers in each town with macabre tales of love, obsession, and death-stories that eerily resemble real life crimes that happen in each place he stops.  How the sisters get tangled in Jim's web becomes tragically apparent as Niall reads.  As he is drawn into their story, Niall searches for the truth about Jim-and the elusive third sister-in a quest that brings him closer to danger than he ever expected.

This book was mesmerizing.  Jim is beguiling, and ruthless.  The sisters are strong and fiercely loyal to each other, but they are not immune to Jim's power to enchant.  The whole novel is tied together by the macabre story that Jim tells as he travels across Ireland-a tale of betrayal, lust, and madness.  As the story progresses it becomes more and more sinister, until the true face of Jim is shown, savage and deadly.  The narrators-Fiona and Roisin-are deeply flawed, but honest in their account of their part in the events that led to their deaths.  A modern Gothic novel, this book is a great read for anyone who prefers their mysteries on the sinister side.

4 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing, great review. Thanks for sharing! I haven't read many serial-killer novels myself, but I'm slowly getting into this genre and Darling Jim really intrigues me.

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  2. This sounds very intriguing! I am adding it to my TBR list right now....

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  3. Great review. I have also written about this author on my blog. Here is also some about the other books that Christian Moerk wrote: http://ratemybooks.com/2011/in-focus-christian-moerk/

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  4. This is one of those novels I just can't stop thinking about. I loved the fairy tale element it seemed to have. Wish I could find another book like it!

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