Review: Dark Circles (Caite Dolan-Leach)

Synopsis? Great! Title? I like it! Story? Not terrible, but convoluted and I don’t think yet another entry into NXIVM or other batshit cults was entirely necessary. I could forgive this if the book was better written, but it just didn’t do it for me. It is slow – VERY slow – to start, and while it does get some giddyup going about half-ish way through before barreling on to the end, some of the supposed secrets are just so weird and silly that by that point I just cared about getting through it, having decided that 2022 was going to be my year of zero DNFs.

Young actress gets shipped to rehab after doing bad-but-not-terrible things. While there, she stumbles on to a “this place ain’t right” vibe, and when she gets out, decides to become a podcaster (at least it wasn’t “become a youtuber”) in the true crime arena. First out of the box: the cultish rehab, where women have died under mysterious circumstances. By the way, Editor, whoever you are: leaving the ads in a printed representation of a spoken podcast? What in the world were you thinking?

The main character was really, really difficult for me to care about. At all. When the meat of the story got going, I managed to put her aside, but authors, please: you don’t have to have a character who is entirely unlikable. It’s very hard to care one way or the other whether they meet their goals or not, or if they die after ten pages or three hundred. There’s middle ground there. Find it.

Two out of five stars. Sorry, author. Not this one, not for me.

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the reading copy.

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