The Familiar Dark

51068923. sx318 sy475 Title: The Familiar Dark

Author: Amy Engel

Expected Publication: March 31 by Dutton Books

Page: 256

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 4.17 out of 5

My Rating: ★★★★★


Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.”

My Thoughts

If you follow my weekly Tuesday release articles you’ll know that I regularly post my most anticipated releases for the upcoming month and then also run a feature of new releases slated for each Tuesday. The Familiar Dark, was and is one of my most anticipated new releases for March. I wasn’t until this past weekend though that I was granted an Advanced Copy from Dutton books, very exciting! I had a lot of other books already on my list for this week so initially I was going to wait until April to read it. However, I learned that Ozarks season 3 comes out on Netflix tomorrow and since this book takes place in the Ozarks I took it as a sign I needed to read this book this week. I binged it in a day.

Eve Taggert has made it her mission to give her daughter a better life than what she had growing up. Raised by a single mother who’s love didn’t come easy, Eve promises herself to do better. All that comes to an end when her 12 year old daughter Junie and her friend Izzy are brutally. Being as their small town has zero to no tourist or passerbyers, Eve knows it had to be someone in their community who murdered the girls, and she’s determined to find out who it is and make them pay. After learning who the killer was, Eve will have to make the hardest decision of her life to do right by Junie.

Before I dive too much further into my review, I read Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel and loved it, so I already knew what to expected from a writing stand point. However, what I didn’t expect was for this novel to be so gritty, dark, and shady I could feel the seedy underbelly of the world Eve lived in and honestly that made the book even better.

Engel has developed some great characters. What they lack in likability that make up for with incredible depth. To me having characters as flawed as these really makes the story realistic. Most times though, authors go too far in giving characters flaws which in turn make for outlandish events to happen. Engel’s has done a great job of balancing this and gives readers the perfect amount substance to really connect with the story.

The story itself is fast pace with a few surprising twists. At less than 300 pages it’s a quick read that will suck you in from page 1. Highly recommend for anybody who likes a good family drama or family thriller.


This book comes out March 31st! If you think you’d like to read this book, get your copy HERE!

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on The Familiar Dark. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books. Huge thank you to Dutton books for my advanced copy!

About the Author

Born in Lawrence Kansas, Amy Engels is the author of The Roanoke Girls and The Book of Ivy series. She is a former criminal defense attorney, and lives in Missouri with her family.

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