We Are All The Same In The Dark

Mysterious Book Report No. 414

by John Dwaine McKenna

In one of the most highly anticipated novels of the 2020 summer reading season, international best-selling thriller writer Julia Heaberlin grabs the reader’s attention in her first sentence; “It takes about eight to ten hours to hand-dig a grave, more if you was doing it in the dark.”, and never lets go.

We Are All The Same In The Dark, (Ballentine Books, $27.00, 336 pages, ISBN 978-0-525-62167-6), begins with the discovery of a nameless, wounded and mute young girl.  Missing her left eye and severely dehydrated, she’s found lying in a pasture alongside a busy highway on a blazing hot Texas afternoon . . . surrounded by dandelions she’s picked and placed as a talisman to protect her.

But Wyatt Branson, the man who finds the girl and takes her to his home, has a shadowed and suspicious past.  He’s the only suspect in the presumed murder and disappearance of his sister Trumanell, who left only a bloody handprint when she disappeared, ten years earlier.

The abandoned girl is soon picked up by a woman named Odette Tucker, the town’s newest and youngest cop, who stashes the girl in a safe house and gives her the name “Angel,” because she fears that Angel’s discovery will re-inflame the small town where anger, suspicion and mob mentality still seethe just beneath the veneer of a quiet, peaceful place.  It’s the most notorious cold case in Texas history, and although the police have cleared Wyatt, the town, and a recent TV documentary, have not.  It’s left the citizens of the place on the verge of an explosive and violent reckoning.

But the tale becomes more complex and intriguing with each chapter, as the plot layers are exposed and the secrets of small town life . . . where everyone knows, is genetically linked to, or has had an intimate relationship with everyone else . . . come to light, one by one.

There’s an old saying that goes: “God made the wilderness, and man made the cities . . . but the devil made the small town.” Julia Heaberlin has tapped into the beating heart of that sentiment and drawn it’s essence, before putting it into elegant, attention-grabbing, carefully composed prose.  We Are All The Same In The Dark is a psychological tour de force.  It is one of the most arresting novels in many years and getting rave reviews from everyone who’s seen it.  Read it for yourself and see why!

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