Member Reviews

What's it about (in a nutshell):
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney is the dark and creepy story of Daisy Darker's life and the events surrounding her grandmother's 80th birthday. This locked-room mystery kept me guessing until all was revealed.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
When the author is Alice Feeney, I just accept that my only initial expectation can be to expect a lot of shocking twists and turns. The cover gives off a dark and creepy feel backed up by the blurb. The blurb also talks about how the book is a wicked wink to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which I like the sound of.

Actual Reading Experience:
Like ALL of Alice Feeney's stories, you won't want me to say too much in this section because half the fun is the surprises that will be around every corner – and since it's set in an old mansion, there are lots of corners.

At first, the story really felt like a gothic tale. It started out dark, and a bit pondering, like the darkness was so thick the narration had trouble breaking through it. The writing is so good, and the descriptions are so visceral that you feel the oppressive nature of the island as if you were there. I love Feeney's writing style; she tells the reader so much while only using a few words. I enjoy a focused story, and this one is just that. Even though it sometimes feels like it may be meandering back in time, you soon realize it's not wandering. Every word, paragraph, and page have a reason and a point.

Once the murders start happening, though, the pace picks up as my need to know who is killing off the family members one by one mounts. There are so many red herrings I honestly suspected each person until they turned up dead. As with Feeney's other novels, just when you feel like the shocking twists are over, a few more are thrown in for good measure, so I left the book having to pick my jaw up off the floor. I did not see the big twist coming in advance, but I saw a few others. That was okay, though, because there were plenty more twists for my enjoyment.

Daisy Darker is the main character and narrator. She is a lonely young woman who feels rejected by her family and spends her time volunteering at a senior citizens' home. She feels closest to her niece Trixie and her grandmother, so she had to be at Seaglass for the birthday celebration.

Rose and Lily Darker are Daisy's older sisters. They are both beautiful and intelligent but have many dark secrets. Rose is a veterinarian, and Lily does not work. Instead, she and her daughter Trixie are supported by her mother.

Frank and Nancy Darker are Daisy's parents. They have been divorced for many years because of Frank's inability to stay committed to his marriage. Frank is an orchestra conductor, and Nancy is a wannabe actress. Both come off as self-centered and unlikeable.

Trixie (Beatrice) Darker is the niece and bright shining star of the Darker family. She is sweet and giving, though a bit immature, as she is still only a teenager.

Narration & Pacing:
The story is told using first-person narration through the main character, Daisy Darker. She tells a woeful tale of what it's like to grow up in a family that treats her differently because she was born with a broken heart. The pacing can be a bit slow in the past timeline but speeds up in the present timeline. As the body count builds, so do the tension and pace.

I loved the setting! For all intents and purposes, the location, Seaglass, IS the story, and the characters are just the support players. It has a gothic feel which I loved for a "locked-room" mystery, as it is very dark and creepy and just lends itself to a tension-filled story. Nana's house is situated on a tidal island, so there is no getting off or on it as the tide rolls in and until the tide rolls out.

To Read or Not to Read:
Daisy Darker is a must-read if you love dark and creepy locked-room mysteries with a psychological thriller twist!

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A dark murder-mystery set in a unique location. While not the most deeply awe inspiring of Feeney’s novels, the writing was excellent and the characterization intriguing. The pace of the plot tends to move a bit slow, lending to a bit of a sluggish read as Feeney explores a deeply disturbing family dynamic and the secrets they keep.

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC of #DaisyDarker which was read and reviewed voluntarily.

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I liked this book, but it wasn't quite love.

"Daisy Darker's family were as dark as dark could be...."

Daisy Darker is trapped in Seaglass, an old house on a secluded island where the high tide makes it impossible to leave without a boat. Nana invites all of her family to her house for her 80th birthday, but one by one, they start to die. This locked room thriller is a good Spooky Season read thanks to the old Victorian house with it's creepy clocks that go off every hour, mysterious happenings, dark secrets and well, presumably murder.

Give it a try; it's worth a read. But the ending might leave you with some questions, like it did for me.

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It’s Nana Darker’s 80th birthday, and according to a palm reader, her last. She’s summoned her family, none of whom really get along, to her gothic house on a tidal island on the Cornwall coast. The house is only accessible when the tide is out. For the eight hours the tide is in, the island can be reached only by boat.

Nana surprises everyone, even Daisy, her favorite granddaughter, by announcing the terms of her will at dinner. No one is very happy with what they hear. A few hours later, at the stoke of midnight, the family finds Nana dead in the kitchen. An hour later, another family member is dead.

Cut off from the mainland with no way to contact the authorities, the Darkers have only a cutting rhyme as a clue. Their only chance to figure out the mystery and survive is to reckon with long-buried family secrets.

The isolated setting was perfect, and I loved the details of Nana’s house, from the hand-painted tiles and wallpaper to the wall of eighty clocks, one year for each year of her life. While I figured out the twists early on, I nevertheless enjoyed the read and seeing the clues. For the most part, I liked the writing, but some paragraphs seemed like collections of aphorisms, though when the bits of wisdom were used more sparingly, they had greater impact. The books includes nods to Agatha Christie, from having eight figurines on the dining room table to a character mentioning Poroit.

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I’m just unsure how I feel about the way this one ended…no spoilers I promise! It just keeps making me think “hmmm…I just don’t know what I think”; but, I also I can’t imagine another scenario for the ending, so I guess it works. The storyline was easy to follow and the characters were pretty interesting. It kept moving at a decent pace, which is definitely important in a suspense novel; as well as it being fairly unpredictable. I gave an extra star for the pace and creativity of this one. Overall, I would recommend.

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My first thought after reading this was "That was fun!". Admittedly, that is not my usual reaction after reading a thriller. Though it was a 'dark' novel, it was done in an innocent way - reminiscent of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None".

When Beatrice Darker, an eccentric children's author, invites her entire family to her home to celebrate her 80th birthday - it is a family gathering like no other. Her house, Seaglass, is located on a remote Cornish island, accessible only when the tide is at its lowest. Once the family is cut off from the mainland - with no internet or cell phone service - members of the family begin to die... one by one... Each death is preceded by the discovery of a Darker family movie on VHS with a message attached to each one.

Told within chapters that count down until the hour when low tide arrives and they can leave the island, the entire novel takes place over October 30-31 and definitely has a Halloween vibe. Each member of the Darker family are riddled with suspicion of the others. No one knows who to trust... This is the epitome of a dysfunctional family. Sibling jealousy abounds - as do dark family secrets.

If you love quirky, eccentric characters in remote and atmospheric settings then this just might be the novel for you. A perfect read for Halloween.

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If you love whodunits, you'll love this one with the twists and turns and one by one killing off of characters that you didn't really like anyway but maybe didn't want to see die. Then, the twist at the end makes you want to go back and reread to see where you missed the clues. This book is Agatha Christie meets The Sixth Sense with a little game of Clue mixed it.

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So… I hemmed and hawed about this book. I immediately messaged @deebibliophilia to discuss and was so excited about it but after sitting on it, I found I had some teeny (?) issues with this read. Feeney is one of my favorite authors and while I still thoroughly enjoyed this, it wasn’t as compulsive as the other books of hers that I have read.

I love the huge nod to Christie and it’s And Then There Were None nods and vibes (which happens to be the only Christie I’ve read - don’t @ me 😆). My issue with Christie’s book was the lack of character development and I had that same issue here though there was more development in this by comparison.

There was a plot point I had to roll my eyes at because I’m tired of seeing it but won’t mention it here so as not to spoil anything. I did have an inkling about another twist and was so proud of myself for being right 😄 but one twist I did NOT see coming, which actually made the book for me. I LOVED IT.

I don’t care if the reasonings behind the deaths felt a bit contrived and the reveals made your butt pucker a bit. It was a little slow to start and the cadence at times felt repetitive in making a point.

HOWEVER, Feeney, as always, knows how to write a thriller. While this may not have been a favorite of mine, I did eat it up in 2 days and am glad that I did. Would def recommend for those who love Christie.

If you love dysfunctional family reunions ala locked in murder mystery then grab yourself a tea or a whiskey and dive on it while you wait for low tide.

3.5 stars

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(Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy).

Daisy Darker and her family have always had a strained relationship, but Daisy hopes the past can be put behind them at her grandmother's 80th birthday party. When things take a sinister turn, enormous secrets are revealed as, one by one, the Darker family falls victim to an unknown murderer...

This book was absolutely absurd. It was fun, but not anything of real substance. This book was like eating a bag of cotton candy much too fast-a rush in the moment, but you wonder why you devoured the whole thing not long afterwards...(sorry, I couldn't help with the analogy as Feeney is obviously a BIG analogy fan!)

I mean the twists and ultimate reveal were just too much for me. And a lot of the flashbacks/memories made me despise just about every single character. I honestly didn't really care for anyone! Except Poppins the dog! And maybe Rose as well. (Though that may be the eldest sister of 3 and the avid animal fan that I am talking...) Overall this was a fun little murder mystery, but it was too much like a mash-up of Clue and Agatha Christie (both of which are mentioned multiple times in the book), and it was just too over the top to me to warrant more than a 3 star rating.

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And Then There Were None retelling with a Knives Out-ish feel and dark, harrowing twist!

Daisy Darker has a bad heart, one that has stopped several times and has her family sheltering her from everything the outside world has to offer. But the world still knows who she is... Daisy's grandmother made her famous when she wrote a bestselling children's book with Daisy's name front and center. Years later, on the eve of her grandmother's 80th birthday, the Darker family is called to Nana's seaside estate for a birthday party and Nana's sharing of her will... but they get much more than they bargained for. A scary storm, a threatening poem, and a tragedy force the Darker family secrets into the light. And after everything is out on the table, not everyone will leave the estate alive.

Thoughts: Total Knives Out and Agatha Christie feels, and I'm here for it! Author Alice Feeney includes so many wonderful visual details that I could easily picture the seaside house and all of it's intriguing decor. And what seems like a retelling of And Then There Were None turns into something much darker and with twists I totally didn't see coming! There were a lot of foreshadowing and metaphorical "nuggets" about family and secrets that sometimes overwhelmed to the point of getting in the way of the plot, but when the story really picks up it's easy to put those aside and focus on the murder mystery underway. Lots of October vibes, reading by the fire vibes, and twists that will satisfy murder mystery readers. Looking forward to sharing this title with my book club!

**Thank you, NetGalley and publishers, for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.**

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Alice Feeney is the queen of twisted tales. She's proven herself worthy of a binge read and I always anticipate her next story. I do enjoy listening to her books via audiobook - narration is never an issue. In this case it was the story that didn't work for me. Feeney took a familiar tale - And Then There Were None and injected her own cast of unlikable characters. We merely scratch the surface of the characters so its hard to care what happens along the way. The big twist/reveal was fine but ultimately it was a bit of an eye roll. I also didn't need everything explained to me in a tidy bow. This was my least favorite of her books and I hope she returns to what she does best.

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This is another great book by Alice Feeney! While I wondered about the main twist I was nowhere near certain until the reveal at the end. Such interesting and unlikeable characters (for the most part). I’m looking forward to reading more by the author!

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Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest, personal review. Daisy and her family don't get together often but they have been requested to meet at Nana's gothic estate by the sea for her 80th birthday. People start to die and you don't know who you can trust..can the mystery be figured out before it is too late? This book feels like a nod to "And then there were none" and there is an interesting twist at the end that I did not see coming, yet felt like it made sense later on. Fairly good read!

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Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. Now after years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in her crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. When the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.
- I LOVED (!) this book. The tension that builds as the hours loom ahead, not knowing who to trust and who is on the island threatening the Darker family was reminiscent of THE GUEST LIST but I think I enjoyed this book even more. Moody, menacing, and with the clever storytelling device of the playful, appealing poems about each member of the Darker family, this book is a deep look at family dysfunction, betrayal, greed, with a supernatural twist. Very good!

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I really enjoy reading this author's work and will be checking into some of her earlier books that I missed. Here the author has borrowed from the Christie classic AND THEN THERE WERE NONE but has made enough twists and turns that it becomes her own creation. Daisy is the youngest of three adult daughters who gather at Nana's secluded coastal home to celebrate their grandmother's birthday, along with their divorced parents, a niece, and a childhood friend towards whom Daisy always felt strong affection. During high tide the house is inaccessible to the mainland, cell phone reception is out, the house phone is no longer connected, and a major rainstorm is on the way. This is the perfect setup for murder, the first of which happens pretty quickly. This book is so cleverly plotted that there was no way I could figure out the major twists. I highly recommend that readers just buckle in and enjoy the ride! Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing an ARC.

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Who doesn't love a good Who Dunnit? Alice Feeney does a fantastic job of keeping the reader on their toes while still delivering a twist we didn't see coming.

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3.5 stars. Starts out as an intriguing story of a get together for Nana’s 80th birthday at the old family mansion, completely isolated at times by the rising tides. When she is unexpectedly found dead, the mystery begins with family members being murdered one by one. The story is basically well told from both the past and current points of view and I enjoyed it. What I didn’t like was the ending. The twist regarding Daisy definitely surprised me, but the culprits and the ending were so dreadful, cold hearted, and unexpected. It was just too far fetched with many unresolved issues.

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Alice Feeney gives readers another delicious read with this can't-turn-pages-fast-enough atmosperic suspense novel.

Narrated by Daisy Darker, the youngest daughter, and told in past and current time frames, we come to know each member of the Darker family in all of their dysfunctional glory. The family has not been together, nor even spoken to each other, for years when they are summoned to Nana's home on a small tidal island to celebrate Nana's 80th birthday, a birthday that a fortune-teller told her decades ago would be her last.

Once the family arrives, the tide cuts off the island for the next eight hours. At the stroke of midnight, Nana is found dead. With each passing hour, another family member follows. The murderer has to be one of them, but who? With the clocks literally ticking (eccentric Nana has 80 clocks, one for each year of her life) off a count-down until the next murder and when they can get off the island, each character frantically tries to identify the killer and stay alive.

While each family member is given their due, this is truly Daisy's story. She is a very unique, and memorable character.

Feeney is a skilled wordsmith. I love her prosaic writing and wonderful imagery! Some of my favorite phrases are:

"Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark."

"I never leave me alone with myself for too long; I can't be trusted."

"We spend our youth building sandcastles of ambition, then watch as life blows sands of doubt over our carefully crafted turrets of wishes and dreams, until we can no longer see them at all. We learn to settle instead for flattened lives, residing inside prisons of compromise. A little relieved that the windows of the world we settled for are too small to see out of, so we don't have to stare at the castle-shaped fantasies of who we might have been."

"Sometimes we have to let go of what we had in order to hold on to what we've got."

My thanks to Flatiron Books for granting me access to an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. The book is scheduled to be published on 8/30/22. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given.

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Wow Daisy Darker is a true masterpiece and destined for the bestseller list in this readers opinion. This book is not what I expected when I started it. It is way more & darker and amazing!!!!!!!!!!! This story did not turn out the way I was thinking. I was totally blown away by the dark twists & turns this story took. One of Alice Feeneys best books in my opinion!!!!!!!!!

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"Daisy Darker" was my second of Alice Feeney's books and it's a great, spooky read for the fall. If you've read much Agatha Christie, it's clear where the plot is going but Feeney keeps it interesting and unexpected. I only saw part of the twist coming which made the book much more fun to read. Great setting, great action.

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