Kerry Hammond reviews The Comfort of Black by Carter Wilson...
The Comfort of Black is the latest thriller by Carter Wilson. It was just released in Hardcover on August 4, 2015, by Oceanview Publishing. I met the author at a Denver Mystery Writers of America event earlier this year and in chatting about his novels he informed me that his third thriller was due out very soon. I’m sure he noticed the widening of my eyes when I heard the word “thriller,” and he continued to tell me the premise of the book. I was intrigued, and he graciously offered to send me an advanced copy of the book to read. I decided to review it on Mystery Playground because I think it’s a book our readers will love.
On the surface, the main character in the book, Hannah Parks, has overcome her troubled childhood and become a successful adult. She’s moved on after growing up with an abusive father, and tried to make the most of her life with her husband Dallin. But recently, Dallin has become distant and Hannah has tried too often to drown her sorrows in alcohol. Just when things start looking up for their marriage, and Hannah feels them getting closer again, she hears Dallin say something in his sleep that chills her to the bone. When she confronts him, he turns abusive and all of her past starts flooding back.
What follows is a search for the truth that has Hannah running for her life. The problem is, she doesn’t know who she’s running from or why. She is helped by a tall, dark stranger, but is unsure if his help is for her benefit or his. She must figure out how he fits into the recent events of her life, and what his motives might be.
Sometimes a book’s characters hook a reader, and sometimes it’s the plot that keeps the pages turning. A really good book has both, but not always in equal measure. I think a thriller is one of the cases where both elements need to be in relatively equal parts. Without a fast paced plot you really can’t call it a thriller. At the same time, the pace will inevitably slow, and without great characters a reader won’t keep reading.
In this book, the plot drew me in immediately. Each time I thought I was caught up, a new twist was thrown at me, letting me know that I had no idea what the real story was. The characters carried the book between the escapes and suspense. Choosing the typical term “flawed” to describe them would actually be an understatement. These people have been through a lot and some of them have done unspeakable things. Yet you can see beneath that, to who they really are, and either like or hate them for it. The dialogue is snappy and realistic, and I enjoyed a witty sense of humor that came through. I found myself laughing out loud at times, and more drawn to the characters as I glimpsed how they handled the stress of the situation. This was a great read.