Cover Image: Deep into the Dark

Deep into the Dark

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Los Angeles Police Department Detective Maggie Nolan is investigating a murder that appears to be connected to other murders.  Sam is an Army veteran with PTSD who now works as a barrack at the Pearl Club.  Melody is a waitress at the Pearl Club.  Melody has a boyfriend—Ryan who gets mad and beats her up when she won’t quit her job at Pearl Club.  She goes to Sam’s place for the night as she is afraid to go home.  He tells her to get rid of Ryan.  Sam is still trying to figure out how to deal with his PTSD and not lose his wife, Yukiko.  She has moved to a place that her friend has said she can stay there.  When Melody goes home, she finds a vase of long stemmed red roses on her bedroom dresses.  She thinks that Ryan did this as an apology but he says no, he didn’t.  Ryan is found dead the next day and Sam is a suspect.  When his wife is found murdered, the evidence points to Sam.  He knows he didn’t do it.  Sam and Melody end up both being suspects.  They don’t want to answer any more questions so decide to hide.  Where will they go?  What happened to make them both suspects?

In this mystery, there are several secrets and fear experienced.  Sam and Melody both are fearful of their past.  The Los Angeles atmosphere is realistic as are the characters in this novel.  I cared about Sam and 
Melody wanting to know what was going to happen next to them.  I also wanted to know who was doing the killings.  It’s an excellent first book of a new series.
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Sam Easton is home from Afghanistan, trying to rebuild a life in his hometown of LA. Separated from his wife, bartending and therapy sessions are what occupy his days and nights. When friend and colleague Melody Traeger is beaten by her boyfriend, she turns to Sam for help. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, a hard case like Sam is the perfect suspect.

But LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan, whose brother recently died serving overseas, is sympathetic to Sam's troubles, and can't quite see him as a killer. She's more interested in the secrets Melody might be keeping and the developments in another murder case on the other side of town.

Deep into the Dark features characters that the reader will want to learn more about, so this reader is hoping that Tracy will feature them in more novels.  I've always loved her Monkeewrench series, with their fresh characters and breezy humor, but this standalone is the real deal.  P. J. Tracy has come into her own as a mystery/thriller writer, and I couldn't be happier.  Highly recommended.
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I'm always on the lookout for a new detective series, and Detective Margaret Nolan definitely has my interest piqued. The story isn't fast paced, but it doesn't drag either, so it's kind of a nice steady pace. It's also a character driven story and not just for our detective. I've heard about this author's Monkeewrench series but haven't had the pleasure of reading it. I will say if it's anything like this one, I"ll certainly be checking it out. Deep into the Dark is full of rich characters and it's a very well-rounded story. Anytime I check out a new detective series or crime drama, I'm always interested in checking out how the author does all the aspects of this type of story - procedures, characters, good guys, bad guys, iffy guys, the scene-setting, etc. - I'm sure you get where I'm going. The story is everything I could hope for and I'll be interested to see what's next for Detective Nolan.
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I would like to thank Netgalley, Minotaur Books and P.J. Tracy for an advanced reader copy of this novel in exchange for an honest opinion. 

This book is billed as a new series to feature Detective Maggie Nolan.. Unfortunately, the book seemed to feature very little of Maggie and instead focused more on Sam Easton, a veteran dealing with PTSD and his coworker and friend Melody and their activities following the death of Melody’s sometime boyfriend.  

I found the book difficult to get into but it did pick up mid book and I enjoyed seeing the story come together. I would have liked more focus on the Detective versus the suspects in the storyline.  I also found the writing clunky with an overuse of unnecessary flowery language that didn’t seem to fit the characters or the setting..

There were some loose ends that never were resolved as well which I found a little confusing. Why was Sam seeing words when interacting with others and what the deal was with Rondo?  

Overall, I did not find this to be a very engaging read. Hopefully the next installment of the series improves.
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This was my first book by this author and it won't be my last. I was completely sucked into the story and invested in the characters and the outcome. The way the author weaved things together kept me engrossed and before I knew it the hours had passed and I had read it in one sitting. While I really liked Maggie, Sam was the character I was most drawn to. 
I absolutely didn't see where things were headed. The pacing was great. There's something for every mystery lover in these pages.
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I really enjoyed this intricate thriller. Sam Easton, is an army vet deeply scarred by his service in the army. Not only does he suffer from PTSD, but he was severely scarred by an IED blast in Afghanistan. His problems with PTSD are the cause of his recent separation from his wife. He has trouble holding down jobs but has managed to work at the same bar for the past six months. He develops a friendship with bartender Melody Traegar. When bodies start turning up that are connected to Sam and Melody, they are under investigation by the LAPD. There is also a serial killer loose in the underbelly of LA. As the detectives look into these murders, life for Melody and Sam becomes tricky and dangerous. I really liked all the characters. They were well developed and bore the flaws that most real people have. The plot is sufficiently twisted but not unrealistic and very intriguing. One complaint is that the story started off so slowly. It took me forever to get into this book and I’m usually a voracious reader when I love a story. I also thought that the author unnecessarily went out of the way to use ten dollar words when regular vocabulary would have sufficed. It took away from the story a little. Overall, I really liked this and will look for other titles by this author.
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Deep into the Dark follows Sam Easton who comes back from Afghanistan and is left with severe PTSD from his experiences. When his friend and colleague Melody is beaten by her boyfriend, she turns to Sam for help. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, Sam becomes the perfect suspect. When LAPD detective Margaret Nolan becomes involved in the case, she is sympathetic to Sam's troubles and finds it difficult to picture him as the suspect. She becomes more interested in Melody and the secrets she may be holding on to.

I'll be honest, this book started off really slow for me and I found it really difficult to pick this up. It was a good mystery with some twists, but I was left wanting so much more. There were a ton of secondary characters, which I'm sure were placed in the story to try and figure out who done it, but because of this, I often felt myself confused and trying to keep track of what was going on. I did enjoy how the story was not predictable. I did not expect the killer to be who it was and I enjoyed how that all played out. I think one struggle with this was how detective heavy it was. and I'm not usually a fan of those. I also had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. I felt for Sam and the PTSD he is living with. Those parts of the book were very hard to read and I felt like P.J Tracy did a great job of portraying the effects of war and PTSD on soldiers. Overall, I didn't hate this, but I also didn't love it. Not sure if I would read the follow up book or not. 

Thank you NetGalley and P.J Tracy for the advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Deep into the Dark is the first book in a new series by the author P.J. Tracy. I have never read any of this author's books so wasn't really sure what to expect. For me this was a hard book to get into, but I do know that I have some major issues going on in my life at the present time that is making it hard to stay interested in any books no matter who has written them. The storyline overall was pretty complex and had some interesting characters, but for me it moved slower than I personally would have liked. In my personal opinion I would give it a solid 3 stars and as with any book I always suggest others read the book for them self because I know not everyone sees the same book in the same way.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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This is the story of a wounded soldier after his return home from Afganistan. Sam suffers from PTSD and survivors guilt. He separates from his wife and is seeing a therapist. Sam is working as a bar tenderer when a coworker's boyfriend turns up dead. The story involves a serial killer as well as the murder of a couple of characters. This is a fast-paced read. It was a little confusing at the beginning, but as the story progressed I am glad I stuck with it.

I received an advanced reader's copy of this book for my unbiased review.
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This was fine, a solid 3 stars. I might just be in a weird mood lately but I was never hooked by this one. There were several sub plots that I found more interesting than the main plot: Melody’s mysterious past as a punk rock guitarist and why she left it behind, uh maybe the SERIAL KILLER that is investigated kinda on the side. Like, come on. Haha I am pretty annoyed I guess. Feels like the authors missed the big story at the expense of the reader. Maybe more will be fleshed out in subsequent books. I did really like the characters and felt I got to know them. For that reason, I will read the next one when it comes out.
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I loved the intense and fast paced story. This is the first book I've read from P.J. Tracy and it won't be my last. The storyline was so good and strong that I had a hard time putting down this book! I liked the authors twist. It kept me so entertained and highly recommend to others who enjoy cop mysteries and/or mysteries in general.
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Los Angeles. Whatever you may think about it, it would be hard to name another place that’s home to so very, very many hopes, dreams, and ambitions… or to as much heartache, disappointment, and disillusionment. Everyone here envisions their fantasies taking flight on a magnificent set of wings… but in The City of Angels, such wings are rarely given freely or won easily… and the scrappy, feathery bits that most of us try our best to cobble together? Never manage to feel like quite enough.

And yet, we stay… and more come, from all over, every year: the dreamers and the schemers, the escapees and the seekers, the visionaries and the desperate. (For a place that sees next-to-no lightning [I mean, storms? we’d have as much luck wishing for a stampede of unicorns down Wilshire Boulevard, as we would seeing a thunderstorm], we seem insanely hopeful, as a people, that those electrical bolts are gonna strike, and our dreams all come true.) You see, we don’t cling to those dreams, setback after setback, without some pretty deep wells of patience and determination.

It is within that L.A.—the real one, which exists for some ninety-eight percent of its inhabitants—that P.J. Tracy sets her latest mystery, Deep Into the Dark. 

In a city of ten million people, a killer on the loose only gets modest attention from your average Angeleno: just another day in La La Land. The situation only becomes more than just another screenplay if you’re one of the few to actually come into contact with a maniac…

LAPD Homicide Detective Maggie Nolan—serious, intuitive, and driven—and her senior partner, Detective Al Crawford—happily-married family man—resignedly cut short an evening off to attend the scene of a murder… the third such atrocity committed over the past couple months, by none other than the madman whom the press have dubbed “The Miracle Mile Monster”. 

Melody Traeger—young, pretty, and tattooed, and with eyes that sometimes hint at a stormy past she’s doing her damnedest to forget—slings drinks at the hip Pearl Club (and takes university psych courses on the side). It’s a standard night for her, busily pouring and serving, while keeping up a steady stream of bantering and flirting with her regulars. Her music-producer boyfriend Ryan, fresh from a trip to Vegas, sits at the end of the bar cooling his heels—glowering—waiting for her shift to end.

Sam Easton—a veteran of the Afghanistan war, with both inner and outer scars to show for it—is working on getting his life back together. His days include sessions with a therapist (for PTSD), trying to get a handle on his anger and depression issues (and eventually, maybe even winning back his wife, Yuki—from whom he’s currently separated), and working as a bar back at the Pearl Club (which keeps him too busy to think about the shitshow his life is, for the duration of each shift). And tonight, well, he’s enduring another one of his frequent nightmares.

A random handful of Angelenos—each as “normal” and as “messed-up” as you’d expect—whose lives are about to crash into each other like an angry surf at high tide. Not all of them will walk away from the collision.

P.J. Tracy (originally a mother-daughter writing team, now a solo endeavor after the elder’s passing) has been one of my favorite authors since 2003’s breakout Midwestern thriller Monkeewrench hit the shelves, going on to become an irresistible series (with a fabulously-imperfect cast of characters). I’m seriously stoked that her new series, starting with Deep Into the Dark, likewise hits the ground running.

[Curious about the Monkeewrench series? See what I said the fifth book in the series, here.] 

Tracy has a great voice; she’s unflinchingly honest yet also compassionate in her observations, letting her characters tell us—and, more importantly, show us—about themselves. Whether “good” or “bad”, they all come across as real people you could meet, just walking down the street. 

She also has a brilliant sense of place. Whether she’s describing the various neighborhoods of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area (as in the Monkeewrench series) or the widely-disparate ones lying within the sprawling vastness of L.A. County, her words let you know exactly where you are, which gives her stories a special resonance.

Fans of crime novels and detective mysteries should definitely pick up a copy of Deep Into the Dark; its storyteller is the real deal.
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Thanks Netgalley for a copy of Deep in the Dark. 
P.J. TRACY is  a new author for me, I really like her style of writing. Margaret is a strong female character looking forward to reading more from her. The story was a little predictable but still kept my attention.
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This book was slightly off-putting from the beginning because it felt as though the author wrote the book, then went back through with a thesaurus and swapped out all the words for more "impressive" sounding words. It took me a while to feel invested in the story because I rolled my eyes every time a word that seemed too high brow for the gritty characters was used. Once the story really got going, however, I was hardly able to put the book down. I think it took me three days to get to 40% and then one day to finish the book from there. It's interesting that this is a Detective Margaret Nolan series because I did not feel like she was really the main character in the book. There was very little backstory about her and she really just closed the case because the main characters did all the legwork. I'll probably still continue in the series to see what happens next with Detective Nolan. Overall it was an enjoyable read once I got past the pretentious word choices.
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I’ve read P.J. Tracy since her Monkeewrench series.
Now I have a new series to enjoy.
The characters are complex. The mystery is twisty. And I can’t wait to read more.
I’m hooked!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for my honest review.
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Deep into the Dark is the newest series by author PJ Tracy, which follows Detective Margaret Nolan. if you know me, you will know that I love my detective series especially with female leads, so I was very excited when I received a copy of this book.

While the series is focused on Detective Nolan, the stories main POV focuses heavily on Sam Easton. Ex-military and suffering from severe PTSD, he’s the perfect suspect in a string of murders including the murder of his soon to be ex-wife. I actually didn’t realize that Nolan was who the series follows until I was looking at Goodreads, so don’t expect this to be your normal detective novel.

This is a very character driven crime story, which really makes it stand out. I loved the raw grittiness of the the characters mixed in the the glitz of LA & Hollywood. The depicts of mental illness and the struggle of PTSD are huge themes in this books, so TW for those wanting to read this book. I will say that I thought Tracy did an excellent job at trying to explain how PTSD can look different for different folks, and also working to explain how it can impact them.

So far it feels like Sam Easton is the main character so I’ll be interested to see how much more we get to see Detective Nolan in the coming books. While we get a really good ending to our main mystery, Tracy has set the stage for an even bigger conspiracy, which has me anxious for the next book. Overall, a very solid crime procedural.

Deep into the Dark is out now.  Huge thank you to Minotaur Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.  If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.
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Deep Into the Dark was a solid thriller; this was my first read from P.J. Tracy. This is book 1 in a series about Detective Margaret Nolan however, I found it focused more on Sam Easton, so I hope he appears later on in the series.

Sam Easton is a veteran who has PTSD and recently split from his wife. Sam's coworker and friend, Melody, turns to him after she is beaten by her boyfriend. Meanwhile, a serial killer is loose in L.A., and Sam and Melody become targets in that investigation. Things quickly spin out of control for the two of them, and they find themselves trying to stay safe as well as prove their innocence.

This was a quick read with likable characters. The beginning took a while to get into and there were many characters to keep track of, but once I hit 30% or so, it really picked up. It's filled with lots of twists and turns and had me guessing at the end. I'll have to read the next one in this series once it's released!
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I've read a few other P.J. Tracy books, but this one has a new setting in Los Angeles, with new detectives. Characters are well-developed and flawed/ human, not the one-dimensional ones in too many current mysteries. P.J. Tracey does a great job of portraying PTSD.  Pacing is excellent -  tying up the threads without feeling rushed or going on too long. I hope the author follows up with these interesting detectives. Nothing too graphic or sexual - always a plus in my mystery reading. 
     I was delighted to receive an ARC of Deep Into the Dark from Netgalley and the publisher. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
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Sam is back from Afghanistan and has severe PTSD. He works at a bar with Melody who used to be in a famous rock band. They become friends but suddenly people that are connected to them end up dead. PJ Tracy normally writes the Monkeewrench series, and quite honestly, I like those books a lot better. A three star read for me.
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4 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is a good mystery/thriller that is a quick and easy read. Sam sustained a serious head injury in Afghanistan and is suffering from severe PTSD. He gets a job as a bar back in a club and is trying to deal with his injury and repair his failing marriage. One night Sam shelters his co-worker Melody who was beaten by her boyfriend. When the boyfriend turns up dead the next day, both Sam and Melody are suspects.

LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan's brother was recently killed overseas and is sympathetic to Sam and doesn't see him as a killer. Her partner disagrees. In addition to this murder, another detective is trying to catch a serial killer that is murdering young women. Events continue to get worse for Sam and Melody, and everyone wants the killers caught.

I don't know much about head injuries and PTSD, but it appears the author did their homework and does a good job of depicting Sam's symptoms and treatment. The author goes into quite a bit of detail, and it's just as big a part of the book as the mystery.

There are a few twists in the book, although I was able to figure out a few of them early on. It was still good to read how the author gets there, so it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. There are a few random events that seemed to just be thrown in, and you have to suspend disbelief for a few things, but overall, it was a fun book to read.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.
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