It’s been two years since I featured Danika “D.K” Stone’s novel Edge of Wild on The Hermit Librarian’s first platform. Today I am so pleased to bring you content on the second book in the series, The Dark Divide.
Nothing is simple in this book, carrying over themes set up in the first book. Rich is in a lot of trouble and there’s only one person that can clear his name, but will that work?
The atmosphere in the book is rich and to represent it, both Danika and I created playlists full of music that we thought would hit the mood of the book perfectly.
Published: 15 April 2018
Category: Speculative Fiction/Mystery/Romance
Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.
The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.
As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?
Rating: 4 Stars
The Dark Divide picks up shortly after the end of Edge of Wild. The ramifications of the destruction of the hotel, the Whitewater, are rippling through town. Evidence is mounting against Rich, Lou is struggling to defend him against the charge as well as the townsfolk, and the town itself is facing trouble from more than one front. Will it be possible for anyone to find a satisfactory, if not happy, ending?
Danika drops a bombshell early on: there’s evidence of an accomplice to Colton, the villain of Edge of Wild. What won’t this person to protect their secret, not only in connection with the arson that killed a local girl, but of a decades old cold case murder that crosses the border of the U.S.?
The first third of the book reintroduces the reader to the main cast, Rich and Lou, as well as the other residents of Waterton and a few law enforcement related people, such as Rich’s friend Stu, now his lawyer.
There’s also Alistair, a documentarian looking into draft evaders that may have crossed the border into Waterton during the Vietnam War. The sheer annoyance I felt toward his character reminded me of Rich in the first book before things turned around. Alistair is pushy and nosy, bordering on mean to the residents and these are not people that take well to outsiders, much less inquisitive Hollywood filmmaker types. His presence, in addition to the legal proceedings against Rich, made for a tense, creepy atmosphere. Some of the creepiness stemmed from his overall despicable, forceful personality, but also from the fact that he has a connection with Lou that was completely unexpected.
Rich started out a bit of an ass in the last book and gained in personal standing by the end. In The Dark Divide, I feel like his personality was reset a bit. He was asking things of Lou that he knew she wasn’t comfortable with, such as divulging a lot of her past or abandoning her job (which a lot of the locals depend on – gas/mechanic/supply runs) to accompany him to the nearby town for his arson trial. While I understand how that must have felt for him, he was not supportive of Lou and how important her life and routine were. There was some growth between them, but overall, I ended up caring less for Rich than when we left off the previous story and I don’t think he really deserved Lou.
Lou had more than anyone to deal with since the conclusion of the first book. There’s her mysterious, supernatural ability with future telling components as well as past life memories that she can barely explain to herself much less anyone else. There’s the relationship she formed with Rich, one that developed quickly over the summer. Add to this what her role in Rich’s trial might be and you’ll realize how much pressure everything put into her life. How she is able to deal with even a tiny bit is a miracle.
The townsfolk were just as closeted as in Edge of Wild, keeping their secrets close to the vest and making it impossible to figure out who was on what side, who was hiding something potentially explosive, and so forth. It was a little annoying, but considering what they were protecting, I can’t say that I blame them for being wary not only of Alistair and his “documentary”, but of the consequences of the fire in the previous book that Rich is facing charges for.
Danika crafted another great mystery that may not have had as much of an excitement factor as it’s predecessor, but was an enjoyable read nonetheless.
The Dark Divide is one of those books that I wrote with a steady stream of music blasting in the background. Whenever I needed to center myself while writing a scene, I went to this soundtrack. Here are the ten main themes of the finished book (in chronological order). As you read The Dark Divide, take a listen. Can you tell what events and characters these songs emote?
“Ends of the Earth”, Lord Huron. “Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever / I’m gonna see where it leads / Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted / I’m gonna stand on the peak.”
“In a Manner of Speaking”, Nouvelle Vague. “So in a manner of speaking / I just want to say / That like you I should find a way / To tell you everything / By saying nothing.”
“Just”, Radiohead. “He’s been hanging around for days / Comes like a comet / Suckered you but not your friends / One day he’ll get to you / And teach you how to be a holy cow.”
“Time to Run”, Lord Huron. “It’s time to run, they’ll string me up for all that I’ve done / I’m going soon, gonna leave tonight, gotta / I did it all for you.”
“Departure and Farewell”, Hem. “The sunlight films my waving hands. / The final scene has just begun / And pulling back the world expands / And I am gone.”
“The Rip”, Portishead. “Wild, white horses / They will take me away / And the tenderness I feel / Will send the dark underneath / Will I follow?”
“Wintersong”, Sarah McLachlan. “The lake is frozen over / The trees are white with snow / And all around / Reminders of you / Are everywhere I go.”
“Song for a Winter’s Night”, Gordon Lightfoot. “The lamp is burnin’ low upon my table top / The snow is softly fallin’ / The air is still within the silence of my room / I hear your voice softly callin’.”
“Half Acre”, Hem. “So we carry every sadness with us / Every hour our heart were broken / Every night the fear and darkness / Lay down with us.”
“Suzanne”, Leonard Cohen. “And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind / And you know that you can trust her / For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.”
About the Author
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and The Dark Divide). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.
The Hermit Librarian’s Playlist
Some of the songs I chose are instrumental, which I thought fit with the general feel of Waterton and the isolation one might experience there as well as feelings of unease if they aren’t used to it.
Others, such as “Welcome to the Jungle”, were inspired by specific characters. That song I imagined Alistair blasting from his car radio as he drives into Wateron: loud, almost obnoxious rock music that would unsettle the person at the gates. “This Kiss” represented the good times that Rich and Lou had, especially when they first see each other in this book.
My personal favorite was “White Rabbit”: it had the eerie sound I was looking for and has long been a song I’ve associated with stories that are topsy turvy. The feelings that Lou had, whether about herself, Rich, or the other people she comes into contact with during her story, might fit very well with this Jefferson Airplane tune.
Giveaway: The Dark Divide Gift Package
Open to US entrants only.
Review & “Finding the Characters”
Review & Soundtracks
Review & Aesthetic
Review & “The Tools of Writing Suspense”
Character Look Book
“The Challenges of Writing a Mystery”
Review & Giveaway
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.