Friday, April 19, 2013

Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins

Meg is a twenty-eight year old nurse who finds out her husband has been killed by a drunk teen driver – the same day she finds out she is pregnant. She soon comes to the point of being convinced someone needs to pay for her husband's death. The authorities rebuff her but she manages to find out who the driver was, the son of a wealthy and prominent judge. When it looks like his father's influence will once again let the popular high school athletic star escape responsibility for his actions, Meg is motivated for revenge. She thinks her husband's murder has changed her forever. She is no longer the woman she was.

Some 12,000 people are killed by drunk drivers each year (characters in the book remind us – more than once). And many never end up serving prison time. Hence, the plot for this novel.

Evil is a prominent theme in the book. Evil is destroying Meg's heart. And there is a parallel to the evil of cancer destroying a patient in the hospital, Nancy, whom Meg comes to like. Nancy refuses pain pills because she wants to experience all of life. Meg doesn't want to feel anything.

Nancy contributes an interesting argument about, if God is good, why is there evil in the world? God has not caused the cancer from which she is dying, Nancy says. God gave man control over the earth because he demanded it. Man invited evil to the earth and we have been suffering ever since.

This is a dark novel. Meg is bent on revenge for 87% of the book (ah, the joys of reading a digital edition). Granted, there is a redeeming end to the book. It was a transforming experience, as God's work is, but the rest of the book was hard for me to read. It was just dark. I wanted to quit, but had promised to read the book for this review.

And frankly, I did not think this novel was well written. There were sentences or descriptions that were unnecessary. For example, Meg is buying a yellow rose and the clerk says, “This one will only cost you $2.75 plus tax. Let me see, the total is $2.93.” That does not add to the plot or even the scene, at all. Here's another, “Meg walked the four feet to where Jan stood.” Four feet? That added nothing to the scene. I could give many more examples of odd additions to the text that seemed to be added only for word count, not to really move the novel along.
This is certainly not Ace's best work. I have read others works by him and am a bit puzzled about this one. This book could have benefited from additional editing.
And I am always intrigued when a male author writes a female lead character (or vice versa). That one presumes to know the opposite sex so well as to write their thoughts, well, that's quite a presumption. I don't think Ace got it right in this novel. I don't think we women would become the revengeful Meg. A man, maybe, but not a woman.

If you like to read a novel that is mostly about all the bad things a person bent on revenge wants to do, a novel where the person is transformed near the end, then this novel is for you.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can find other reviews here.

Ace Collins is a bestselling author who has written more than 60 books with sales over 1.5 million. His books have become movies and network television specials. He makes his home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Find out more about him at

Abingdon Press, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from a publicity group for the purpose of this review.

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