Every Dark Corner
By Karen Rose
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Reviewed by: Nancy Northcott
Reviewed by: Nancy Northcott
In Every Dark Corner, Rose builds a gripping plot around the exploitation of children. At its heart is a young woman named Mallory who was illegally adopted by a child pornographer. He turned her into an internet porn star when she was just a child. Even though she’s now an adult, she obeys his every command because his sister and her husband have Mallory’s sister, Macy, in their keeping. If Mallory causes any kind of problem, Macy will become the next video porn sensation.
A chance encounter at a grocery store puts Mallory on the radar of the Cincinnati police, but they don’t know how to find her. Kept close and monitored by her captor, Mallory wrestles with a desire to report him to the police and fear of what will happen to Macy if she does.
Meanwhile, an FBI task force is trying to find the partner of a human trafficker they recently arrested (in Alone in the Dark, the prior book in this series). The clues they have are sparse, so the reader begins to suspect before they do that Mallory’s captor may be the man they seek.
Rose brings back Scarlett Bishop and Marcus and Stone O’Bannion as well as other characters from Alone in the Dark and the book before it, Closer Than You Think, but reading the prior books isn’t necessary to understand who they are. Rose gives just enough of an introduction to each character to ground the reader without dropping in a chunk of information that would distract from the current story.
The heroine of Every Dark Corner, Special Agent Kate Coppola, a former US Army MP, is tenacious and sympathetic, pursuing the case while struggling with her own demons. The death of her husband and the suicide of his brother haunt her, but she won’t let them stop her. Knitting and origami help calm her mind and allow her to focus. As the story progresses and her trust in the hero, Special Agent Griffin “Decker” Davenport, grows, Kate finds the strength to exorcise her past.
To Decker, the hunt for exploited children is personal. His sister was a victim he couldn’t save. So even though he’s recovering from a bullet wound and a week in a medically induced coma, results of the role he played in Alone in the Dark, he insists on being part of this investigation. He also wants to stay close to Kate, to whom he is increasingly attracted.
As the FBI task force closes in, the man they’re chasing starts snipping what he considers to be loose ends. Deaths mount up, and the task force searches for links. But will they find enough before time runs out for Mallory and the next group of children being trained for exploitation?
One of the pleasures of this series is seeing characters who play supporting roles in one book, as Decker and Kate did in Alone in the Dark, move to the fore. Another is getting to see how characters who were prominent in earlier books, like Scarlett Bishop, Marcus and Stone O’Bannion, and Diesel Kennedy from Alone in the Dark and Deacon Novak and Faith Corcoran from Closer Than You Think, are doing now.
The story moves at a good pace, switching perspectives from the task force to their quarry to Mallory, without becoming confusing. While this book deals with gritty subject matter, Rose handles it with care and taste and doesn’t shy away from showing the toll it takes on some of the task force members.