The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford

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The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford was a Net Galley read.  The book will be published on September 1, 2016 by Sourcebooks Landmark.  It is a firmly in the cozy mystery genre.

Set in 1938 Chicago, our fearless protagonist, Vivian Witchell, is an upcoming radio star on a popular mystery program and recurring roles on other programs produced by the radio station.  Vivian finds herself in the middle of a real life murder mystery when she discovers the dead body of the station’s female star.

As anyone who truly knows me will tell you, I have a true soft spot in my heart for old time radio.  I grew up listening and falling asleep to the programs every night as they were run at 9PM on KNX in Southern California.  In fact, I still do but only on my smart phone these days.  So, naturally I’m drawn to novels which showcase this long forgotten art form.

I have several problems with the novel.  First, the protagonist of the murder mystery our protagonist stars on is not originally named.  Harvey Diamond, Private Detective was quite clearly a rip-off of Richard Diamond, Private Detective.  Yes, there were distinct character differences between Harvey and Richard but seriously, how hard would it have been to use a different surname and not irritate the fan of old time radio that would be drawn to the novel in the first place?  Second problem, there appear to be historical inaccuracies littered throughout the book.  Nothing major, but enough for me to raise eyebrows more than once this morning while ready the book.  Third, the love interest in the novel is the key to the plot line and yet, his age compared to Vivian’s is completely out of kilter for the era.  Eighteen years or so between a couple would have been unheard of in 1938 America.

However, the novel wasn’t horrible.  I would read another in the series, should there be another.  There is definite potential for series growth and improvement in characters.  Plus, I honestly believe that any novel which showcases Old Time Radio should be encouraged. 

I’ve created quite a conundrum for myself on how many stars to award, too low a rating and there might not be another novel, too high a rating and I would be leading down the wrong path.  I’ve mused on the rating all day before writing this review.  I can’t award half stars on Net Galley which nixes my preferred rating of two and a half stars.  Which leaves a low of 2 or a high of 3 stars for the rating and I’m going with 3 stars.  I enjoyed the characters and story and would read another book.  I’m cautiously optimistic that the next book will be an improvement.

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