Darkness On The Horizon – Christopher Renna
All Morgan Fischer wants is to graduate high school and escape small-town Colby, Pennsylvania. Since the death of his mother, childhood friends have become his tormentors, and his father has become an absent and neglectful alcoholic. When lack of food forces Morgan to earn money, he develops a friendship with the new residents in town, Ava and Jonathan. They give Morgan the loving attention and guidance he doesn’t receive at home. As their bond deepens, he learns the older siblings have a dark secret. And because of his love for them, it’s a secret he promises to keep.
During the summer, a series of murders have rattled the small town. The arrival of a mysterious stranger from Ava and Jonathan’s past threatens danger. When the threat becomes too great, Morgan must alter his plans for the future and confront his fears. Thrust into a world of deception and murder, can Morgan summon the courage to survive?
This is one of those books where it’s best to go in blind or know as little as possible. Darkness On The Horizon packs a lot of surprises!
It starts with Morgan’s daily thankless task of having to wake his alcoholic father up in time for work. He tries to look for a summer job because there’s hardly any food in the house. He was hired by Ava and Jonathan to work on their lawn. His meeting and bond with the Astor siblings became the comfort of his miserable life as he found people who love and nurture him. It was all cozy enough and then came the big twist which completely caught me off guard and kicked the book up a notch.
It seems Morgan can’t take a break. He became part of a secret world that made him the target of a power hungry killer. The murders were all gruesome and violent which appeals to the horror fan in me but a slight niggle at Ava and Jonathan not taking action much sooner though they were in the best position to do something. The big confrontation with the killer kept me at the edge of my seat and had the book ended with Morgan’s life-changing moment, I would have been satisfied.
The book took an even darker turn when Ava, Jonathan and Morgan went to England. So much darker that I think it warrants trigger warnings for abuse and attempted rape. And while I appreciate all these twists and turns, overall, their unveiling tend to be too abrupt, feels disjointed or forced. I also think the England part is more suitable for a sequel and needs to be expanded to fully flesh out the English characters and their motives as well as develop the world-building because I couldn’t quite understand Morgan’s value to DuPont. The young man seemed more trouble than he’s worth. The saving grace of this story arc was Morgan’s revenge against DuPont where he wrecked all out bloodshed and mayhem. Turns out our boy Morgan could be a total bad-ass when he wants to. All these fun stuff almost made up for the banality of the characters’ interactions.
I enjoyed the Colby arc and I also love the fact that Christopher Renna amped up the horror on the England arc. However, the latter needs more polish while the former can stand by itself. Overall, this is a interesting debut.
Before The Sun Rises, the follow-up installment, will be released Summer 2019
Thank you to the author, Christopher Renna for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it