Sunday, August 3, 2014

Darkness Follows by Emerald O'Brien & author guest post

Before we get started today I'm going to hand you all over to Emerald O'Brien for a few minutes. for her take on NA mysteries.

When I finished writing my first mystery novel, I realized it was different from most mysteries I'd read. My main characters were in their twenties, and the majority were beginning their careers. I had heard about the new adult (NA) genre, and decided my debut novel, Darkness Follows, fit into that category. It follows two sisters, and their search for the truth, when they discover someone close has involved them in a murder investigation. I've found a few other NA mysteries, and to be honest, I'm really excited about the possibilities this pairing can offer.

What I Love About New Adult Mysteries

1. Variation. Easily, one of my favorite things about the mystery genre is that it offers variation with subgenres. Hard-boiled police procedural; cozy; female sleuth. The list goes on. I'd like to think that new adult (NA) is a new subgenre in the mystery category. I believe this fills a void I noticed when reading other mysteries, and represents an age group that is not often featured in the mystery genre.

2. The Rookie gets a chance to prove themselves. I love rooting for the sleuth, detective, investigator, cop, etc. We, as readers, put ourselves in the detectives shoes, and pull for them to catch the bad guy. In my NA mystery, Darkness Follows, the sleuth, inspector and cop are all in their twenties. This makes the inspector and cop relatively new to their careers, and although they don't have much experience, they are driven to earn their place in their new position. They also offer a more fresh, and less jaded perspective than those who have more experience and time with their careers.

3. The new adult reader gets to relate to the characters, the positions they are in, and the choices they make. As a fan of mysteries in general, it's not often that I find a protagonist I can relate to. Whether it be the age or career of the sleuth, or the family or ex-wife of the detective, it's not often I read about a character that hasn't had much life experience. For readers who are within this age group, and those who are older, it's easy to relate to a character who is just starting out in life. NA characters are making educational, or career decisions, and navigating through their first serious relationships. Characters in this age group are gaining life experience out on their own, and when you add a mystery to be solved, the perspective is likely to be different.

4. More to explore. From sleuths to detectives, the life of a new adult brings new challenges and opportunities to mystery genre. They might make more mistakes based on their inexperience, or learn from someone wiser. Many characters in this genre have not started families of their own, and are therefore more invested in themselves. Some characters may be distracted by shifting priorities in their lives.

5. Breaking NA stereotypes and misconceptions. The genre is relatively new (created within the last five years), and readers expectations are still somewhat flexible. Some believe that with NA comes more mature themes, including smut (sexually explicit writing style). Others believe a NA book has broken and angsty characters. Many disagree about the age group and issues the genre covers. Each NA book is bound to be different, but mysteries can help to expand the genre, and challenge some of the assumptions that come with it.

6. Broadening the mystery audience. I love mysteries and all the subgenres. I want to share that passion with everyone, and I believe NA mysteries will introduce new readers to a genre that incorporates so many things the NA audience is interested in. The many themes explored in the NA genre (such as identity, romance, relationships, independence, and the beginning of adulthood in general), offer a whole new take on mysteries. Whether the reader is a new adult, or were once one, I think it's exciting to explore the genre through a new adult's perspective.

Title:  Darkness Follows
Author:  Emerald O'Brien
Published:  May 8/14
Length:  263pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  NA mystery
Shelf:  review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What if the hiding spot you escape to becomes more dangerous than the place you ran from?

Aurina Patrick is an ambitious young woman, whose only mistake was letting someone get too close. The day she is brought into the police department for questioning, her life changes forever. When Aurina discovers that someone she trusts has involved her in a series of murder investigations, her sister Ryanne joins her in a search for the truth. As the situation unravels, the Patrick sisters realize their lives could be in jeopardy.

When the sisters are taken to a remote location, the struggle for safety truly begins.

My Review:

This novel is simultaneously fun and suspenseful. The plot twists keep you on your toes but O’Brien’s writing style draws you in. I found myself racing through the novel wanting to know what would happen next and how it all would end. I also really appreciate the Canadian content in the story. It’s nice to see an author writing suspense about the world north of the border. Everything combined into one quick, easy read that kept me captivated.

The characters in this novel are quite unique. They are definitely real, and down to earth yet O’Brien develops them in such a manner that you get an up close and personal look at them. I found the dialogue in this novel to be smooth and easy to follow. It flowed naturally, lending an essence of humanity to the characters.

As a whole, this was a brilliant debut novel from a Canadian author I hope to be seeing more of in the future.

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