Monday, January 3, 2011
REVIEW: Darling Jim by Christian Moerk
A modern gothic novel of suspense that reveals, through their diaries, the story of sisters who fall in love with a beguiling stranger, and of the town that turns a blind eye to his murderous ways
When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post office’s dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story he’s ever heard—and her tale has only just begun.
Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding itinerant storyteller Jim, who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic narratives. Captivated by Jim, townspeople across Ireland thought it must be a sad coincidence that horrific murders trailed him wherever he went—and they failed to connect that the young female victims, who were smitten by the newest bad boy in town, bore an all too frightening similarity to the victims in Jim’s own fictional plots.
The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to one another, were not immune to “darling” Jim’s powers of seduction, but found themselves in harm’s way when they began to uncover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth—and for the vanished third sister—while there’s still time. And in the woods, the wolves from Jim’s stories begin to gather.
About the Author
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Christian Moerk moved to Vermont in his early twenties. After getting his MS in journalism at Columbia University, he was a movie executive for Warner Bros. Pictures, and later wrote about film for The New York Times. Darling Jim is his first novel published in America. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Jim is a charming storyteller, and he has a way with the ladies. Fiona becomes enamored with him, just as all the other women in town, and before she knows it she and her sisters have been dragged into a web of danger and deceit. Through their diaries, as read by Niall, we begin to learn their story.
This was a good story. It wasn't quite what I had expected, and not quite as good as I had hoped, but good nonetheless. I had a difficult time with much of the book for some reason, but I'm not sure whether it was the writing style or just my own ADD causing me trouble through distraction.
The story takes place in a small Irish town, and something about it had a touch of a goth feel. It sort of made me think of Hansel and Gretel. Of the two diaries that make up most of the story, I found the diary of Roisin more engaging, and Aoife my favorite character.
The ending was pretty satisfying- I wasn't left wanting. The characters pretty well fleshed out. All in all, an enjoyable story.
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Note: My thanks to Jason of Holt Publishing for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.