DarkNet by John R. Little

Rating: 3 of 5

97819401617611From the back cover:

Cindy McKay is Seattle’s beloved radio personality. She has fifty thousand friends she talks to every day, but the one secret she can never share is the horror of her personal life.

There seems to be no escape, until she finds the hidden wonders on the dark side of the Internet. Maybe there is freedom from the daily suffering she faithfully endures.

But, when everything is anonymous, who can Cindy really trust? She quickly finds that nothing is what it seems, and the solution she had hoped for makes her current problems seem like passing dreams.

Cindy has opened the door to DarkNet, and in doing so has unleashed a true nightmare.

A brutal, no-holds-barred horror/thriller meant to feed off the reader’s fear of the Internet and technology.

Perhaps for readers with little prior knowledge of the deep Internet those aspects of the story will be frightening. However, DarkNet ended up being more about toxic relationships and the price of answering violence with violence. The abuse and the twists and the breakneck pace were relentless. I flinched multiple times and, had this been a movie, I definitely would’ve covered my eyes a lot. Mainly during the scene with Rocky, the pet cat, and the scenes with Avril.

Everyone was morally bankrupt except the 10-year-old daughter, Avril. And after Avril’s mother, Cindy, referred to herself as a “helpless victim” any chance of me liking Cindy or respecting her was ruined. Another reviewer called Tony, Cindy’s husband and Avril’s father, the most despicable character they’d read in a long time. While Tony was indeed a viscous sociopath, I found Cindy’s utter lack of responsibility and overall weak-willed nature “despicable” as well. Yeah, sadly, women like Cindy do exist, and I am sympathetic, to a point. I just could not stomach Cindy’s constant retreat into selective ignorance and victimhood, especially when she claimed she would do anything for her daughter.

Rating this book was difficult. Part of me wanted to give it 2 stars for its depiction of domestic violence and its loathsome characters; another part of me wanted to give it 4 stars because I couldn’t put it down once I started. So I settled in the middle.

Recommended only to readers who enjoy dark, gruesome thrillers with physical, sexual and emotional abuse, rape, and torture.

Check out the author’s website or the publisher’s website for more.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Received paperback from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

On a much lighter, humor-intended footnote, the most horrific, truly shocking moment in DarkNet was when Avril disclosed that “[s]he knew about the library, had even seen the inside of it once or twice, but she didn’t think she was allowed inside on her own (p.127).” WHAT?!! *shivers* A living nightmare.

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