ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stacy Willingham is an up-and-coming thriller writer who made her debut with the book A Flicker in the Dark. Before becoming a published author, Willingham worked as a copywriter. She did her Bachelor’s in Magazine Journalism and has also worked as a brand strategist. Her passion for writing began as early as when she was four, through her older sister. Thriller and suspense have been her favorite genres, with Stephen King being a heavy influence on her writing style. The Shining was one of the first horror novels that kept young Willingham awake at night.
Her fascination for serial killers and crime stories is something the author will try to explore in her next book, as told in a recent interview.
A Flicker in the Dark is a psychological thriller about the daughter of a convicted serial killer. The story revolves around a new premise – after the serial killer is caught. The central character, Chloe Davis, is a psychologist in a new town where she is trying to lead a normal life after her troubled past.
When she was twelve, Chloe played a key role in getting her father convicted for the murder of six teenage girls, including her friend. Two decades later, the pattern of murders begin to repeat itself around her. Ridden with anxiety, shame and paranoia, Chloe tries to investigate the murders on her own in order to put a stop to them. In the meantime, she tries to figure out who could actually be killing the girls while her father was still behind bars.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT A FLICKER IN THE DARK
The first page itself makes it evident that A Flicker in the Dark is a special book. The protagonist, Chloe, is an unreliable narrator with real ticks and quirks. Her persecution complex, which may seem superficial to an outsider, makes perfect sense to the readers due to the extreme detail the author has chosen to provide. In fact, given the level and sophistication of detail, this hardly seems like a debut novel. Every loophole is sealed, and every question answered. The story is completely plausible, and the ending leaves no room for doubt or multiple possibilities.
The story has an undercurrent of how women perceive the world and how the world perceives them. It subtly sheds light on the everyday sexism women have to put up with.
No detail, howsoever minor, is redundant. The finale makes the readers realize that every event was tied back to the bigger picture. In fact, every event is correlated to all other events. Surprisingly, the incessant to and fro between the twelve-year-old Chloe and the present-day Chloe doesn’t cause confusion, but rather creates a well-rounded picture. The fact that one cannot see the plot twists coming, and yet they do not come over as outlandish once they are revealed speaks volumes about the genius of Willingham. All in all, A Flicker in the Dark is a true masterpiece.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ABOUT A FLICKER IN THE DARK
Honestly, the story has absolutely everything a reader can ask for. The premise that serial killers’ blood lust makes no sense in most cases makes perfect sense in the book. The bittersweet finale is the icing on the cake, for it makes the characters even more realistic and relatable. While some readers may have preferred a happy ending, that can hardly be called a drawback.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that, in the process, he does not become a monster. If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
There are so many subtle ways we women subconsciously protect ourselves throughout the day; protect ourselves from shadows, from unseen predators. From cautionary tales and urban legends. So subtle, in fact, that we hardly even realize we’re doing them.
I was twelve years old when those shadows started to form a shape, a face. Started to become less of an apparition and more concrete. More real. When I began to realize that maybe the monsters lived among us. And there was one monster, in particular, I learned to fear above all the rest.
All in all, A Flicker in the Dark is a must-read for those who seek thrill from the protagonist’s standpoint. We cannot stress the plot twist enough as a reason to give this book a try.
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