A Deeper Darkness (Dr Samantha Owens #1)
April 17, 2012
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** Review of Book 2 coming next week! **
A bit about spoilers/the earlier series: this series really is a fresh start for Sam. Though she appeared in the earlier books - and we know her back story - this is her time to develop her own life, apart from the Taylor Jackson series -- and Taylor.
It's not necessary to read the series to know what's happening in A Deeper Darkness as there's almost no carry over the seven Taylor Jackson books that isn't recapped. It's what happened to Sam in the time between the two books that makes going back and reading the previous series almost reverse spoiler-y. [My reviews for that are here (books 1-4), here (book 5), and here (book 6 & 7). ]
**Spoilers for Samantha's character below if you plan to read the Taylor Jackson series first **
Dr Samantha Owens has always loved her job as Nashville's forensic examiner. But after the death of her husband and twin children in Nashville's floods, every day is a practice in surviving for Sam. So long as she keeps working - just not on drowning victims - and doesn't spend time at home, maybe she can escape her guilt. Someday.
So far, though, nothing's been helping so Sam's only too ready to leave Nashville behind for several days when the mother of her ex-boyfriend, an ex-Army Ranger calls and asks Sam to do a second autopsy. On the surface it looks like Eddie was the victim of a carjacking gone wrong, but his mother doesn't think so. At first Sam thinks she's just humoring the woman, but soon it looks like there's much more involved. Something that might put Sam in danger - or bring her a whole new life. Or both.
It took me a little while to figure out just how the time line in A Deeper Darkness was working. The floods in Nashville were in May of 2010, Where All the Dead Lie, the seventh (and currently last) Taylor Jackson book came out in September of 2011. A Deeper Darkness takes place two years after the floods which were after something that happened in So Close the Hand of Death (book 6, published May 2011).
Confusing, no? What I decided was that there was a bit of never mind when the books came out. All the Taylor Jackson books now took place before May 2010, then Nashville flooded, Sam's husband and twins died, there was two years, then A Deeper Darkness happened/was published. (And maybe no one else needed any of that but as I was not clear on some of it/it never really got explained, it's in the review.)
Though it was not at all necessary to read any of the books in which Sam previously appeared prior to reading this one, I'm glad I did. Glad and kind of sad. Knowing how happy Sam was in the earlier books, the life she had, the family and the friendship, gave m a deeper feeling for the character.
I liked seeing all that Sam's capable of on her own. So much of the focus in the previous books was (understandably) on Taylor, but we saw glimpses of Sam. Now, after seeing - and hearing - how smart and strong this character is, we get to really experience it. Even if she's been broken by events that happened between the two series, the core of her character is still there and I'm anxious to see what JT Ellison will build her back up to.
When I saw that this was going to be in a new setting, I thought I would spend the whole time missing the old side characters, but I didn't. The new characters are really good. They have their own identities and quirks and I see a lot of potential for them bringing quite a bit to this new series.
As Sam's the main character here and a medical examiner, her focus being forensics, this isn't a police, detective mystery. There are police and detectives and murder and clues. But it's different in that Sam is involved in figuring things out using forensics -- it's kind of like Bones, actually. And I love it.