Cover Image: No Woods So Dark as These

No Woods So Dark as These

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

DeMarcos and Matson have retired from the police force after their last case, a case that has scarred them and left them broken in many ways.  When a horrific crime scene in discovered, they are called back in as private investigators.  DeMarcos worries that it’s too soon, but Jayme seems to blossom a bit as she pours herself into the case.  As they work on the case they end up collecting a small group of people along with an abused puppy.  People that are struggling, lost or just trying to fit in.  People that are in need of their mentorship.  Their recent case, that ended badly,  is still very much in the forefront, and is hanging over their heads.  Throughout it all their deep love for each other shines through and their bantering and relationship is quite endearing.  This series has been exceptionally well done and I’ve very much enjoyed it right up until it’s gut punching ending.
Was this review helpful?
I'm torn.  I wanted to love this book.  I loved the first book in the series.  Somehow I missed the other books and came in on this one.  Maybe that was my problem.  I felt like I came into the middle of a trilogy.  The ending kind of confirmed that for me.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

The story can be read alone but it does constantly refer back to the previous books.  A plot point of this book is some guy who has nothing to do with the current mystery.  It's really distracting if you are not familiar with the previous book.  The crime is truly gruesome.  However, it doesn't turn out to be all that interesting a back story.  I felt that it was just a vehicle to link back to something else we don't see in this book, while introducing new characters (the best being a dog who may or may not have his forever name by the end of the book).

Aside from the fact that the underlying crime and it's investigation turns out to not be all that interesting (at least not yet, you get the feeling that there is more and you will have to read the next book), the characters are often just wandering around their own head rehashing the same things over and over.  Their love is the best ever.  We get it.  And it seems strangely religious and right winged in a lot of places.  It just got preachy and I started to lose interest. Often.  I really wish it was as good as the first.
Was this review helpful?
No Woods So Dark as These is the fourth book in the Ryan DeMarco series. I can be read as a standalone novel, but reading the first three would be helpful.  

This is an amazing thriller and the first book I've read by Randall Silvis.  It won't be the last.  Sometimes a reader just clicks with a writer, and this happened with me.  The way Silvis writes keeps me spellbound, even with scenery description, which is not usually my favorite thing.  For me, this is one of the best current writers I've come across.  I can't wait to read more of his work, and I will go back and read the first three books of this series.

I received a free copy of this book from Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley.  My review is voluntary.
Was this review helpful?
Thank You NetGalley/Publisher & Author for this gifted e-book!

There are good reasons to fear the dark...

Former Sergeant Ryan DeMarco's life has been spent in defiance--he's defied death, loneliness, and betrayal all while fighting the worst parts of humanity. He's earned a break, and following the devastation of their last case, DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme want nothing more than to live quietly in each other's company. To forget the horrors they've experienced and work on making each other whole again.

This book was great. It had some gruesome parts in the story. 
I loved Ryans character. Loved him.
I enjoyed the story, the people in this book, the plot, the ending. 
I read this in one sitting. 
I have not read the rest of the books before this one, but I think I might need to after reading this one. 
Rating-- 3/5
Was this review helpful?
"No Woods So Dark As These," by Randall Silvis, Poisoned Pen Press, 448 pages, Aug. 4, 2020.

Former Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Ryan DeMarco and his girlfriend, former trooperJayme Matson, are in court to testify at a triple homicide guilty plea. They then plan to take time off from private investigations.

But two bodies are discovered in a smoldering car in the woods, and another is found brutally mutilated nearby. Their former commander asks them to help investigate as consultants.

There is a dangerous man, Khatri, from the earlier books who is threatening DeMarco. Ryan has a lot of internal struggles from his personal and police life. 

This is the fourth installment in the series set near Erie, Pa. You don't have to read the others in the series, but that does help fill in the background as the books are very character-driven. The author combines police procedural and suspense novels. 

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?
No Woods So Dark as These
Ryan DeMarco Mystery #4

An absolute must read for lover’s of the Ryan DeMaro series.  


Former State Trooper Jayme Matson and Former Sergeant  Ryan DeMarco are spending some quiet time recovering from some recent cases and the loss of their unborn child. But the door bell rings and once again the two are dragged into another case.   

Two bodies are discovered in a smoldering car in the Pennsylvania woods, and another body is found brutally impaled to a tree nearby. As much as Ryan and Jamye would like to leave the case to former colleagues, they just can’t say no.  Who committed these heinous act? Why? 

No Woods So Dark as These is the fourth book in the Ryan DeMarco series.  If you have read the other three books you absolutely have to read this one.  It will leave you speechless.  

My favorite thing about this book, as well as the series, is Ryan’s character.  He ponders of the meaning of life and love and forges ahead despite the horrendous experiences he has had in his lifetime.  But even more than that he has tremendous respect and love for Jayme and he is not afraid to show it or to talk about the impact that their relationship has had on him.  His emotions are real and raw.  

It’s a fast moving and dark story of murder and mayhem. The short chapters make the book a fast read.  The light in this dark story is Hero, the shepherd-mix puppy that Ryan rescues from an abusive dog-stealer.  The descriptions  of  Ryan and Jayme’s interactions and relationship with the puppy are fun.  

I have loved this series and this book is no different, although this one seems to have a few more rough edges, repetition and incongruent thoughts than in the past. Despite that it’s still worth the read, particularly if you have read the others.  

Author Randall Silvis  is an author of over a dozen novels most recently his Ryan DeMarco series which includes: Two Days Gone (2017), Walking the Bones  (2018), and A Long Way Down (2019). 

Thanks to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher 	Poisoned Pen Press
Published 	August 4, 2020

#netgalley #nowoodasdarkasthese #randallsilvis #poisenedpenpress #bluestockingreviews #readitloveit #findinggreatreads
Was this review helpful?
I enjoy this series and this one was no different. The case is interesting, but the characters make this a good read. Ryan is a complex character and I loved the introspection and growth of his character in this one. I enjoy the dynamic between him and Jayme, but I didn't care much about her in this one for some reason. It can definitely be read as a stand alone, however, I think it would come across better if you have at least read the previous book.  I did like the case and was surprised a couple of times. That ending though! I don't know if it made me mad, made me want more, or both!
Was this review helpful?
No Woods So Dark as These by Randall Silvis is a slow-burn mystery that is quit intriguing. This fourth installment in the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series can be read as a standalone.

  Ryan DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme Matson are still recovering from the events that occurred during their last case.  Although they are taking a bit of a break, neither can refuse State Trooper Captain Kyle Bowen’s request they assist on a gruesome triple homicide. Working alongside Troopers Mason Boyd and Daniella Flores,  Ryan and Jayme also agree to work with local reporter Chase Miller. The victims are almost impossible to identify so they are already at a bit of a disadvantage. However, after canvassing the town’s residents, they quickly zero in on a suspect.   Will DeMarco and Matson find the evidence they need to prove their theory?

  Ryan and Jayme are both quite reflective throughout their investigation. Ryan has never quite made peace his past and he remains haunted by memories from various time periods in his life. Jayme has yet to come to terms with a painful loss but she is making a conscious effort to try to move forward.  Both feel a sense of impending trouble since trouble appears to be headed their way.

  The case moves a little slowly since there is no viable evidence at the scene of the crime. Despite Ryan’s reservations, he agrees to allow Chase to assist their investigation. He proves to be a valuable asset as he uncovers a lead that could help identify the three victims. Locating a couple of possible witnesses, they are frustrated and saddened by events that unfold. Through good old fashioned detective work, DeMarco, Matson and the state troopers are soon closing in on the killer.

  No Woods So Dark as These is an engaging mystery with an fascinating storyline. The characters are well-developed and they are quite contemplative throughout the story. The investigation is interesting and delves into the more unsavory aspects of life.  Although the case is quietly wrapped up, Randall Silvis brings the mystery to an absolutely jaw-dropping, cliffhanger conclusion. Old and new fans will enjoy this latest addition to the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series.
Was this review helpful?
Demarco and Jayme can't catch a break, even as they deal with problems of their own.  In this latest installment of a series I've enjoyed (this one is fine as a standalone), the former Pennsylvania State Troopers (and romantic couple) are once again wrapped into a horrifying murder.  A burned out car in the woods leads to the discovery of multiple bodies.  Demarco, who has a truly tortured past struggles here with both Jayme and the case.  He spends more time philosophizing here than in the earlier books but that was balanced, for me at least, by the addition of Hero the dog.  This explores miscarriage, depression, and despair in addition to well, a nasty villain.  These two are crack investigators who are well matched.  The murder investigation is twisty- no spoilers from me.  thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I was fortunate enough to read an advanced copy of No Woods So Dark as These (A Ryan DeMarco Mystery) by Randall Silvis through 

The fourth entry in this consistently excellent series, DeMarco is a former PA State Trooper asked to assist in the investigation of a triple homicide.  Joining him in the investigation are his partner (both in business and life) Jayme, several current or former PA State Troopers, a young aspiring writer and a new member of the DeMarco family, an aptly named Hero the dog.   All of them damaged in their own ways.    DeMarco continues to be consumed by his perceived failings as a father, husband and son, trying his best not to repeat the sins of his past.  He and Jayme use the new investigation to try and help them come to terms with, and get past, the tragic events of the prior book in the series.   

While there are some lighter moments, Silvis tackles depression, remorse, insecurity and ambition in a tale that can only be described as gritty.   This book could be read as a standalone however the emotional heft of the book comes from the reader fully understanding what DeMarco has experienced to get to this point.   Though there are plenty of potential suspects and some red herrings that make the mystery compelling, it is the relationship between DeMarco & Jayme, and his continued emotional growth that sets this one apart.

This one gets 5 enthusiastic stars.  Buy it when it comes out and plan on setting a couple of days aside … it’s that good.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 stars

In this 4th book in the 'Ryan DeMarco Mystery' series, the former Pennsylvania State Trooper assists the police in the investigation of a particularly brutal crime. The book can be read as a standalone, but familiarity with the characters is a bonus.

Background: Ryan DeMarco isn't a stranger to tragedy. Years ago, when Ryan was a State Trooper, he and his wife Laraine lost a child, named Ryan Jr., in a tragic car accident. Inconsolable, Laraine left her husband, and DeMarco became an ugly drunk. Now, a reformed DeMarco and his current girlfriend - former State Trooper Jayme Matson - are private consultants who work with the police.


As the book opens, a horrific crime scene is discovered in a Pennsylvania forest. Two charred bodies are found in a burnt car with the body of an African-American man nearby, nailed to a tree with three Rebar rods.

Private consultants Ryan DeMarco and Jayme Matson are called in to assist the police with their investigation. The sleuths can use the distraction because they're both in a bad place. The couple recently lost their unborn child due to a criminal assault by sociopath Daksh Khatri, who's still on the loose. Moreover, Ryan still mourns his dead son, and continues to deplore his old alcoholic behavior.

DeMarco and Matson are required to have a uniformed officer along when they canvass homes and/or interview witnesses, so they pair up with a couple of young troopers: DeMarco with Trooper Daniella Flores., and Matson with Trooper Mason Boyd. The investigators soon turn up a couple of persons of interest: a cantankerous, smelly old man who has a couple of big sons, .and a huge bald 'antiques dealer' who seems very suspicious.

While DiMarco and Matson are investigating the crime, they take several young people under their wings. These include Trooper Flores, who has anxiety issues stemming from a difficult childhood; a drug addict/prostitute who wants out of the life; and an up-and-coming journalist who asks to follow the case.

The investigation becomes very complex before the case is solved, and some surprises come to light. I don't want to say more because of spoilers.

A highlight of the book is the adoption of a rescue dog by DiMarco and Matson. The pooch, who immediately becomes a treasured member of the household, gets a series of temporary names until the couple hits on the exact right one. 🙂 The dog wakes up DiMarco when he has to go; sits at Jayme's feet; likes take-out food; enjoys walks; and is a very endearing fellow.

I liked the detective aspects of the story, and the solution of the case.

That said, several things about this book bother me.

◆ First, the investigation sections of the book are LIBERALLY interspersed with scenes of DiMarco, Matson, and Flores having bad memories, sad thoughts, and anxiety attacks. DiMarco is obsessed with his abusive father, past alcoholic behavior, dead children, and estranged wife Laraine; Matson is consumed with her lost baby, which she thinks about night and day; and Flores is haunted by memories of her unhappy past. There's too much of this, and it detracts from the mystery.

◆ Second, the protagonists, especially DiMarco, are forever spouting bits of information and philosophy as well as quotes from authors, songwriters, poets, historical figures, movies, etc. These are out of context vis a vis the investigation, and seem to be thrown in to demonstrate the author's knowledge and/or research. I'll give some examples:

"Unfertilized frog eggs are round, simple, undifferentiated things. But the moment the egg is fertilized- the very moment - the egg begins to produce an electromagnetic field."

"The caduceus of in fact an ancient Greek alchemical symbol denoting the spine, with the pine cone-shaped top representing the pineal gland, and the two serpents, the life-force, entwined around the staff, which represents the spine."

"Confucius was asked for a single word that would ensure a good, happy life, and that was his answer: chu. It means forbearance. Tolerance and restraint. Patience and self-control."

"The song [Tupelo Honey] is about freedom. The first verse alludes to the American Revolution, the second verse to the Irish battle for independence. And the chorus is about [Van Morrison's] wife, Janet, who gives him the sweet freedom to be the best artist he can be."

"Max Planck, the father of quantum physics, had something to do with the discovery that photons and electrons sometimes behave like particles and sometimes like a wave....The experiment suggests that the observer influences, or in Planck's mind, creates reality."

◆ Third, DiMarco and Matson moon too much about their love for each other..... and about God and the soul. The philosophizing about religion takes on a preachy tone, which I don't welcome in my pleasure reading.

For me, Randall Silvis has gone off-script with this book, but it's still worth reading if you're a fan of the series.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Randall Silvis), and the publisher (Poisoned Pen Press) for a copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
I love this series so much.  The stories are filled with lush, poetic language which balances the brutality.  The protagonist is a man built of flaws and goodness, sometimes feeling broken but with great empathy for orhers. I'd like another dozen or so DeMarco/Jayme  tales and am interested in reading what might be next.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

This was my first book by this author and I appreciated that I was able to fully engaged with the story without having read the previous 3 books in this series.  I thought it was a good true crime book but not overly exciting or engaging.  I found myself captivated for awhile and then spacing out and losing my concentration.  I personally found it to be a bit repetitive and wordy at times.

I did love the shorter chapters allowing my interest to be held for the most part.  The crime was wrapped up a little too anticlimactically for my tastes.
Was this review helpful?
“He had learned to recognize this kind of childhood in others as well. He might not know the particulars of their unhappiness but he could see the damage it had done and the way it made them now as adults. When you have no warm and comforting memories into which to retreat, you are always pushing forward toward an imagined happiness that can never be achieved. You are always trying to prove yourself worthy of love and respect and worthy of existence. If you are lucky you will grow to have moments when you know that you are as worthy as anybody else, but those moments will be fleeting and you will find no comfort in them in the dark of the night.”*

A horrible murder scene in the woods kicks off the fourth installment of the Ryan DeMarco mystery series. Ryan and his partner, both on and off the case, Jayme join the local police in investigating the crime. As their case heats up, a killer from their past threatens their future.

This installment is a cornucopia of goodness. Silvis infuses the story with philosophy, psychology, art, suspense, musical references, relationship goals, and bookish delights as Ryan reminisces about his friendship with Thomas Huston, a writer featured in the first book of the series. Then there’s Silvis’s gorgeous literary prose, which adds a rich texture to the book. 

The core of this series are the fantastic characters and their relationships with each other. Ryan has known much darkness and loss, yet he strives to be a better man for Jayme. The dangerous cases they investigate put their lives in peril yet both are driven by a greater purpose. For example, in this installment both have the opportunity to mentor several other characters including a young police officer who was inspired to join the force after interactions with Ryan. On the other end of the spectrum are the old timers on the police force, including a man who is a dark reflection of what Ryan could have become if not for Jayme.

This installment felt particularly personal to me. Ryan is considering how much time he has left on the planet and how he wants to spend that time. That whole calculation of years lived minus the average human life span. There’s a certain terror associated when one ponders how small the time left value seems. His recollection of his past involves so many things from my childhood, I felt an even deeper connection with Ryan’s character. 

I absolutely adore Silvis’s lush writing style and phenomenal characterization. I love how Ryan explores his past, present, and the future he dodged through Jayme’s love. Like the other’s in this phenomenal series, NO WOODS SO DARK AS THESE deserves all the stars—every single one.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks, for providing an Advance Reader Copy.

*Please note that my review is based on uncorrected text.
Was this review helpful?
Well written story. Kept me engaged the entire time. A page turner for sure! Looking forward to reading more books by this author!
Was this review helpful?
Imagine if you will retiring from the police force only to have the bloody deeds and crime practically land at your doorstep.
If this doesn't send a cringe down your spine imagine you simply wanted to live your life out in peace and quiet with some harmony being shared with your girlfriend.
Unfortunately, this was not to be the case as former Seargeant Ryan DeMarco has stumbled upon two dead bodies in the car near the woods and everything become chaotic at once.
The way in which this story presents is quite unique and had me questioning the reasoning behind placing gruesome information about abortion before such actions takes place.
The pacing on this was fine for my taste with some heavy topics including miscarriage, infertility, drugs, stealing, and mental health.
However, the lack of women's rights, the reasoning for abortions including rape, the lack of empathy, and the female character Jayme who viewed abortion in a one sided case.
The ending was also different to me from previous works and felt a bit odd because many may not know who Khatri is when he simply plots down into the story.
This background information would've been helpful to understanding the danger he possessed and the evil that was lurking.
All in all it's a great new read by Randall Silvis and I look forward to many more to come.
Thank you to Randall, the pub, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The plot of this one just didn’t move quickly enough for me, and there was so much extra “fluff” that I didn’t feel was necessary to the story.
Was this review helpful?
The Ryan DeMarco series feels like seeing an old friend so I was happy to read this one... right up to the end. Didn't like the ending, but otherwise it was a good story. 

Ryan and Jayme pick up where the last story left off, which had left them hurting. They have been asked to assist the State Police in a murder investigation along with hearing from the man who had caused the suffering previously; a man who wants them to know he's still out there and might be coming to get them.

This had a lot of reflection by Ryan, maybe a bit too much, which kind of overshadowed the murder plot at times.
Thank you NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion. High 3 stars
Was this review helpful?
*4 Stars*

Copy kindly received in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next one. It had interesting characters and an ending that surprised me.
Was this review helpful?
Love Ryan Demarco Mysteries by Randall Silvis.  Ryan and girl friend Jayme have retired from the police force for can't seem to escape being drawn into another gruesome murder that has taken place deep in the woods.  Read the action and enjoy these characters as you turn the pages to an OH MY GOD ENDING!!  "A copy of this book was provided by Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review.  Comments here are my honest opinion."  This can be read as a stand-alone.
Was this review helpful?