Cover Image: A Map of the Dark

A Map of the Dark

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Member Reviews

Thank you so much for the opportunity to review this book and to be an early reader via NetGalley! However, I will not be writing a review for this title at this time, as my reading preferences have since changed somewhat. In the event that I decide to review the book in the future, I will make sure to purchase a copy for myself or borrow it from a library. Once again, thank you so much for providing me with early access to this title. I truly appreciate it. Please feel free to contact me with any follow-up questions or concerns.
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This book is so real and believable for people of law enforcement.  They are sworn to uphold the law and protect people, chase down bad guys at a moments notice, but at what cost to their own lives? They have their own personal stuff going on, but the job comes first. 

It was interesting to see the twists and turns of the story as it unfolded and the way the relationships between characters were demonstrated. 

It reminded me of an episode of Law and order or something. It’s a great read.
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This is a dark, but interesting story.  The lead FBI agent Elsa Myers is on the case of the disappearance of Ruby.  The case blows up into the hunt for a serial kidnapper and killer. The team Myers is working with sorts through the clues and information to try to find the man who has kidnapped and killed girls in sets of three.  During this race against time, Elsa is triggered by her own past as she tries to care for and reconcile with her father, who is dying.  As the case ramps up, the third kidnapping makes it personal.

This can be a hard book to read at times, because of the dark subject matter.  Elsa is a well-developed, complex character who is hardly predictable.  The supporting cast on the team as well as her sister and niece play pivotal roles that lead Elsa down a twisted road to solve the case and resolve her feelings about her past.

I can't say this book was enjoyable, because of the focus on child kidnapping and abuse.  But it was interesting and a good read.  I would recommend the author's future books.  Just follow it up with something light.
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One of the best aspects of this book is that detectives were represented as "real" people, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The characters are richly developed and you find yourself feeling strong emotions on their behalf.

The abduction that starts the book has you focused on one person, but there are trickles throughout that provide clues that things are not as they seem.  Don't make assumptions.  You might be wrong.

Else is an amazing individual and I ached for her as she struggled to deal with her past.  I cheered her on and kept wishing that she would open herself up and develop meaningful relationships.  And then you add Lex to the story.  He was an amazing person and his history was touching.  So much of that and his brother, David, made him into the person he was as an adult.

There were some great twists at the end that elevated my opinion of the book even more!

Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Karen Ellis has crafted a book that was hard to put down, so much so that I am anxious to order her other books. "A Map of the Dark" focuses on the disappearance of 3 teens and the FBI agent, Elsa, desperate to save them while also navigating through the impending g death of her father, her complicated relationship with her sister, and issues from her past. The characters were so well-developed and complex---flawed, but relatable. Overall,  I loved this novel!
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Mercy me, this gal has some issues to work through. There's abuse, self-hatred or harm, and kids getting neglected or abused. Whew! Frankly, it's real. I loved the FBI Child Response team. I found it to be a read that didn't lose my attention. I would read more by this author. I wonder if this isn't a series on TV it's that strong. 

My copy came from Net Galley. My thoughts and opinions are my own. This review is left of my own free volition.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book! It was definitely different from the other books I’ve read. I had to stay up some nights reading to find out more. The book took some turns that I did not see coming! In the end I’m happy I read it. I will be going back to read the other books by this author! Thank you again to NetGalley!!
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Thank you to the author Karen Ellis, the publisher Mulholland Books, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my candid review.

A dark, thrilling, fascinating story that you will be unable to put down.

The book is about a serial child kidnapper/murderer and an FBI agent who specializes in the finding lost children.   The story is about the FBI agent who has a haunted background and her temporary partner Lex as they look for a missing girl.   They at first believe that she might be missing of her own volition, but as the story develops, we realize that something more fearful has happened to her.    It has flashes of story told from the point of view of the captured girl and flashbacks into the troubled past of the FBI agent. 

It was a compelling read and I have already started the second book in the series. It is a dark story, but a compelling one.   It is worth reading.
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A new series with a new star, Elsa Myers, FBI agent. She has a lot on her plate and a lot of her past left to navigate but there is a girl missing and a killer on the loose. She reaches out to Detective Eli for help on this case or rather he reaches out to her. It takes us across the boroughs of NYC on a search for a killer that has been operating for years. A lot of the book focuses on Elsa and her own personal issues but it ties together nicely with the story. This is a series I will be keeping up with.
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I wish this book came with a trigger warning because I had a hard time reading the chapter's on Elsa's past. If I had known it included that, I would not have requested it. I thought I was going to be reading a thriller about missing teenagers and the FBI agent that tries to save them, but the Elsa childhood flashbacks triggered bad emotions for me. All that aside, I think it would have been better to focus more on the present and less on the past. The concept of the thriller was interesting, girl goes missing, is she the first or have there been others? There is some chemistry between Elsa and her new partner and then the brother gets thrown in. It was interesting, good but not great.
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I found this book interesting but not my absolute favorite. I felt it went into Elsa’s past more than necessary which took away from the story. It was good but wasn’t great.
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This one is well-titled.  It is indeed dark - and I liked it a lot.  It's the first in a series, and as such there's a lot of exposition of the characters of FBI agent Elsa Meyers and Lex Cole, the detective she's reluctantly partnered with for the investigation of the disappearance of a young girl.  Elsa specializes in investigating missing children, and as the book progresses we begin to understand why as her own past is revealed through a series of flashbacks interspersed with the current narrative.  There are multiple mysteries going on here, and this is a compelling read as Elsa and Lex race to try to find a missing girl during the critical first few days she's missing, and as we anxiously read to find out just what happened in Elsa's past that left her so damaged, both physically and emotionally.  It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.  

My thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for providing a copy for an unbiased review.
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Elsa is an FBI agent specializing in lost children, and a history in her own childhood that has left her emotionally and physically scarred. When a local girl, Ruby, is missing Elsa joins in the hunt. But things become even more urgent when her own niece, Mel, disappears as well. A story that illustrates the threads of childhood and their forever connection to our present.
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I really enjoyed Last Night by Karen Ellis, so I wanted to read her prior book, A Map of the Dark.  And dark it was indeed.  I found myself interested in the story, but not enjoying the read.  I don't know if hopeless is the word I'm searching for, but the mysteries were dark.  The mystery of Elsa's childhood is told in flashbacks as she prepares to face her father's impending death due to illness.  There is the backstory of her mother's abuse and her father's inability to stop it. Elsa's self harming, and inability to form relationships with men made my skin crawl. And then there is Elsa's current case (as an FBI agent) of missing girls. When her own niece becomes wrapped up in the search for two of the missing girls, is when the book starts to take off.  It's a testimony to how realistically Ms. Ellis writes, and her writing  and handling of the subject matter was the very thing I enjoyed about Last Night, However, I just didn't enjoy A Map of the Dark as much as her second novel.
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I was initially ready to enjoy this book. Sadly, female FBI agents still aren't run-of-the-mill to read about, and the author had some skill with setting the scene. 

I never got a read on Elsa's young partner for the case. And in the end, the book was much more about Elsa's backstory than it was the current case. LOTS of flashbacks, which at this point for me have to be done judiciously not to annoy me, and the biggest mystery was why Elsa was so desperate to dig around in the house that she grew up in, recently sold by her dying father.

So, the root of this book is child abuse. That's why I've spoiler-warninged the review. This abuse left me more annoyed than sympathetic for several reasons. First, Elsa totally exonerates her father of any responsibility for the abuse that her mother dished out. Second, the "twist" at the end of the book is that Elsa has killed her mother and has been searching for the murder weapon all book long. Elsa tolerated abuse because she thought it would keep her mother from messing with her little sister. As soon as her sister was slapped once, Elsa snapped and killed her mother with a knife. So, I did not have an awesome childhood and this scenario felt frankly ridiculous to me. First, the abuse, while definitely abuse, did not feel all that bad to me- I know this is a horrible thing to say, but as abuse goes, I've seen worse. For this sort of thing to lead to a murder as soon as a sibling is involved- let's just say that a whole lot more parents would be dead if this was remotely realistic. My suspension of disbelief could no longer be suspended, and I ended up annoyed instead of shocked or sympathetic. It felt over-the-top melodramatic.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book. I always enjoy reading police procedurals and this new series novel, focusing on an FBI agent sounded like a story I would enjoy. It had all the right elements but I found the pace a bit slow and hard to get into at first. I did finish it because I wanted to know what happened but it was not a book that I would find myself thinking about once I finished it.
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A Map of the Dark is the first entry into The Searcher's series which explores the cops and agents that work on missing children cases. This book is pretty good but the second one doesn't live up to the quality of the first one.
Elsa is dragged away from her father's deathbed to help find a missing girl who was snatched n her way home from work. Things get messier when a second girl goes missing. Are the girls alive? Can Elsa catch the abductor before the case becomes personal?
Karen Ellis constructs a thrilling tale giving scenes through Elsa's eyes while showing you bits that are happening with the girls. The later section provides tension and propel the pacing. I was on my toes worried about the girls and what would happen.
I enjoyed this tale and hope later entries will be the same quality as this one.
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This is perfect for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI, etc, it reads just like an episode of those types of shows. Someone goes missing and FBI agent Elsa begins the hunt to find them. In this case her unsub preys on teenage girls, and Elsa teams up with local police officer Lex to track down and find the missing girls. In addition to the case, we also follow Elsa's journey through her own childhood trauma as her father is terminally ill. The stress of her father's approaching death and the case force Elsa to face her own childhood trauma and bring up demons from her past.



As a fan of crime drama television, I enjoyed this. The characters had a good amount of baggage they each had to work through. This aided in the character development, which I thought was pretty good. As far as plot goes, I didn't find this terribly suspenseful. I won't spoil the mystery/thriller part, but I did find this fairly predictable. As stated above it plays out much like the crime shows I mentioned. Don't get me wrong I highly enjoy those shows and watch them regularly, but I find those fairly predictable as well.



If you like lighter less violent, non-creepy thrillers, this is a good read. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I will say there are quite a few things that could be trigger warnings in this book: child abuse, cutting, physcological abuse, kidnapping, drug use and abuse. Reader be warned.
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FBI agent Elsa Myers is a very dark character and I found it hard to like her and relate to her.  She has dark secrets in her past and as her father lays in a hospital, terminally ill, Elsa gets a call from the NYPD to assist on a case involving missing teens.  Much of what happens in this solid police procedural dredges up Elsa's past.  Lex Cole, her partner on the case is the perfect counterpoint to Elsa.

This is the start of a new series for the author!
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I read through many positive reviews of this book and was still amazed at how great it was. For me, this was an edge of your seat thriller that I couldn't put down. I really enjoyed getting to know Elsa and her family and the turmoil she has dealt with throughout her life. The ending was a shocker to me as well and I am so excited to start on the next in this hopefully long-term series!
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