Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Breaking the Dark

Breaking the Dark: A Jessica Jones Marvel Crime Novel by Lisa Jewell
7/2/24; 384 pages
Disney Publishing Group
Marvel Crime #1

Breaking the Dark: A Jessica Jones Marvel Crime Novel by Lisa Jewell is a very highly recommended private detective crime thriller. Yes, it does feature Jessica Jones, a retired super hero from the Marvel Universe, but knowledge of that universe is not required to enjoy this excellent investigative mystery.

Jessica Jones, ex-super-hero, is now a private investigator in New York City. Amber Randall asks for her help in figuring out what happened to her teenage twins, Fox and Lark, when they were with their father in the village of Barton Wallop, UK, for the summer. They came home changed and don't seem like the same teens who left. The two have freakishly perfect skin and have lost their distinctive tics and habits. Everything is "perfect" when asked and there is secret talks about a girl named Belle. Amber is seriously wondering if they have been replaced.

Jessica takes the case because Amber is wealthy and she needs the money. She has teenage intern, Malcolm, assist her by getting close to the twins and looking for more information about what happened to them. Then Jessica travels to the UK, meets the twin's father, and finds the mysterious Belle, a teenager living with her guardian in an old farmhouse. Then things get weird. While working the case, Jessica is going through some personal issues too.

I found Breaking the Dark wildly entertaining, extremely well-written, suspenseful, and un-put-downable. I'm probably not the target audience since I only have a passing knowledge of the Marvel Universe and am hardly knowledgeable about the lore and background of all the characters. What I am is a huge fan of Lisa Jewell's writing and if she writes it, I will read it. I was actually a bit surprised at how much I loved this novel.

The narrative follows the current investigation with occasional chapters covering events from years ago leading up to the present that provide needed background information. The two timelines coalesce at the end. The plot does have a dark mysterious, evil, and dangerous undercurrent. The plot enters into fantasy, obviously with the ties to Marvel, but also has some real lessons about modern life embedded in the plot. Including the current control social media and influencers have over people's lives in the plot is a timely addition.

Jessica is a fully realized imperfect character, full of flaws and shortcomings who is also worried that she may be pregnant, so this concern is always there. She doesn't rely upon super powers here, which should make the novel appealing to those who enjoy thrillers. Thanks to Hyperion Avenue for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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