Review: Darkest Night by Tara Thomas

Darkest Night by Tara Thomas is the first book in the Sons of Broad Trilogy set in the sultry streets of Charleston, where one family—ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons—has risen to the top, but a merciless enemy is out to destroy them and everyone they hold close (available February 27, 2018).

Darkest Night is a sultry and suspenseful thriller set in Charleston, South Carolina. The wealthy Benedict brothers bring the sultry—especially Keaton, the youngest. A shadowy figure who goes by the moniker “The Gentleman” is at the crux of the inexplicable attacks and murders that suddenly populate the brothers’ world; he’ll go to any lengths to take them down. Why? Tara Thomas alludes to the sins of the Benedicts’ late father—there are secrets hidden from his sons that are threatening to spill out into the open.

Kipling, the oldest, runs “the family shipping business, Benedict Industries.” Keaton wants to set up a charitable division that ensures that everyone in Charleston—and eventually South Carolina—has safe water to drink. Keaton decides to sound out his older brother over drinks, but the mood is destroyed when a waiter delivers a “slender white box” to Kipling. What’s with the “long-stem rose set nestled in white tissue paper?” Does Kipling have an admirer? Not so fast, read the note inside:

There were only a few words typed on the thick card stock.

THE TIME HAS COME.

Keaton flipped it over but there was nothing on the other side. He looked up at Kipling. “What the hell does it mean?”

Kipling shrugged. “I don’t know, but they’ve all said the same thing.”

“How many have there been?”

There's only been half a dozen, and they’re “pretty harmless,” says Kipling. But Keaton notices him “looking around the parking lot” when they leave. Keaton has the “uneasy feeling there was something bigger going on.”

Keaton is correct. The Gentleman’s ire is intensifying; he feels “like he could skin someone alive with only a look.” He puts his men on notice.

“Men, we have a problem and its name is Benedict. We are going to have to step up our plan. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy. As of today there is a new plan. The roses have laid the groundwork and they’re showing some concern, but the threat the family poses is growing bigger.

The first step is to eliminate a problem I should have taken care of years ago. Unfortunately, this person isn’t a Benedict.”

The Gentleman carefully avoids sharing too much information with his men, but it doesn’t seem coincidental that a woman from Keaton’s past, Tilly Brock, is in his sights. After years of separation, Keaton runs into Tilly waitressing while he’s getting a drink at a gentlemen’s club.

Tilly Brock has learned—the hard way—how to take care of herself. Once a pillar of Charleston society, her family lost everything in the wake of a shocking scandal. And then Tilly lost the only boy she ever loved.

Is it full steam ahead once Keaton and Tilly rediscover each other? Potentially, but ghastly incidents multiply. Keaton, a consummate gentleman, is at Tilly’s side 24/7 once they reconnect—like when she goes back to her day job to deliver a book to Raven, a work friend. Something seems off at the club.

“Tilly?” Keaton asked. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” she said, but then stopped again, as the queasy sensation grew three hundred times worse.

There’s a bundle on the ground. Laundry, thinks Keaton, but Tilly says they don’t have laundry at the club.

“I’m not sure what else it could be.”

Tilly made it to the laundry bundle in question before he did. She had been correct, it wasn’t laundry. It was Raven. And her throat had been cut.

Tilly screamed.

Nowhere is safe for Tilly.

Tilly’s apartment was a total wreck.

Furniture was overturned and slashed through. Mirrors and pictures frames were broken, with shards of glass littering the floor. Worst of all was the WHORE written in red along the far wall of her living room.

Tilly and Keaton are in danger in the city they both love. Their very lives are imperiled by The Gentleman’s killing spree. He and his minions are saturating idyllic low-country Charleston with blood and vengeance.

If you’re a fan of J. R. Ward’s Bourbon Kings series about a “Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal,” Darkest Night—the first of the Sons of Broad Trilogy—will be right up your alley. Tara Thomas successfully navigates the tightrope of enticing the reader into an inexplicable world of deepening menace without revealing all the secrets behind The Gentleman’s vendetta against the Benedicts. Stay tuned!

 

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on the books of Helen MacInnes, Mary Stewart, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Anne Perry … I'm always looking for a great new mystery series.

Read all of Janet Webb's articles for Criminal Element!

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