Saturday, May 7, 2011

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk (review #121)

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: Fiction

Description from publisher's website:

Fiona Walsh thought her family’s secrets would follow her to her grave, but when her diary is found by a young postman, Niall, the truth about her untimely demise—and that of her sister and aunt—begins to see the light of day. It’s the most tragic love story he’s ever heard.

Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding Jim—an itinerant storyteller who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic sagas—though a trail of murder followed him wherever he went. The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to each other, 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.

What a treat this book was. Thank you to my friend Cheryl for recommending it to me and then sending me her copy to read! This book has been out for a few years now and is available in paperback in most stores. The cover sets the mood quite well. It is a dark and moody and psychologically thrilling novel.

This book starts off with a bang, a suspense built so well that I could not put it down. The postman find the Walsh sisters and their aunt dead in their home obviously showing signs of murder. You want to know why. Why were the sisters locked up, one in a room, one in the basement and another in the crawlspace? What was the Aunt's motivation?
Was she indeed the killer?

From there the book doesn't stop. Another postman from a nearby town finds Fiona's journal in his dropbox. Her story is written at the end of her life, held captive by her aunt. Desparate and frantic, she pleads with the reader to listen to her story. And boy what I story it is.

Fiona is a school teacher, older sister to twins, Roisin and Aloife. On a bike ride to work one morning she comes across a stranger on the side of the road fixing his bike. Immediately drawn to him in a way she has never been to another, "Darling" Jim enters their lives.

He is charismatic, handsome and easily seduces most of the women in town, including their Aunt Moira. But after his relations with her, Fiona discovers his truth. He is also a murderer, preying on women, seducing them while his partner steals from them.

I've tried to write this review a few times over the last week. I finished it over a week ago and I just can't put in words how much I liked it. It had just about everything I love about a literary thriller in it. It had a beginning that sucked you in and a suspense that pulsed throughout the whole book. Who was this Jim? Why were his powers over women so...powerful? Why did no one believe Fiona and her sisters in how awful he was? And what really happened to them?

Review: 6/6
I would give this my highest rating. Sorry it is a short review. I've been having a hard time concentrating these days and focusing on writing a review. It's starting to get nicer outside and I am gearing up for BEA. Not spending too much time reading and reviewing it seems :(
But, this one is highly recommened for fans of well written literary thrillers. Well plotted, character driven and full of suspense. I was guessing right up until the end.
Definitely an author to keep an eye on.

Author Website:

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Jenny said...

Wow, 6 out of 6! I do love literary thrillers... in fact, they are becoming my favorite genre! Will keep this in mind!

StephTheBookworm said...

Ooh, a friend on Goodreads recommended this one to me and I've definitely been wanting to read it!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Love the review!! It sounds interesting. I can read any thriller that allows me to sleep at night.

Misha said...

You've really made me curious about the book! I am always on the lookout for a gripping literary thriller like this one.
Thanks for the review!

Unknown said...

Ohhh..this one sounds really good. I'm definitely adding it to my wish list.

Lisa said...

See now this is why I love to follow bloggers who read books that aren't the latest releases. It's fun to learn about the new ones but then I'd miss things like this one that I've never heard of and definitely want to pick up!

Morten said...

I wrote a bit about Christian Moerk on my blog:

Hope you find it interesting!