Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coincidence in Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger

The Hollows in Darkness, My Old Friend is a unique place, a growing community outside of New York with plenty of woods, hiding places, and left over mining shafts for teenagers to explore. Willow Graves hates the Hollows because it pales in comparison to New York City. Ex-Detective, Jones, who hates coincidences, feels out-of-sorts:

The Hollows was a small place. And it had its ways, this town. Jones Cooper wasn't a superstitious guy, but sometimes it seemed like The Hollows had a way of encouraging paths to cross. 

Jones is not the only one who experiences coincidences. When Willow runs away from New York, she walks through China town, Soho, and ends up at a park she used to visit at a child. By then, she's desperate to go home but is too proud to call her mother. If she ever got lost, while playing in the park as a child, her mother instructed her to go to the gate. 

By sheer coincidence, she finds her mother, who had looked every where else, at the same gate.

What makes Jones uncomfortable, though, (and what seems like a disconcerting coincidence to Willow), is actually what makes both novels about The Hollows so enjoyable.

People interact and their lives intersect in interesting ways. The psychic, who does not yet have second sight, is a babysitter for the woman who disappears under mysterious circumstances. 

The ex-cop and the local principal are both in love with the same woman. The local principal later becomes enamored of Bethany Graves, the mother of Willow Graves. 

Paula Carr hires the ex-cop to find the mother of the boy who becomes infatuated with Willow Graves.

The teenager who finds a man digging in the woods has a connection with another teen whose mother has gone missing. The man digging has also had a mother gone missing.

While so many coincidence can collapse under the weight of a less capable writer,  Unger provides the right amount tension to keep the plot tight.

Similar titles
Jackson, Lisa. Wicked Game.
Coben, Harlan. Stay Close.
Gardner, Lisa. Say Goodbye.
Gardner, Lisa, Catch Me.