The Darkroom

The Darkroom

2.85 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0552118559
  • 9780552118552

Review Text

Banks' second variation on Nice Lady loves Psychopathic Killer - and it's a sizable improvement over the lurid, kinky mess of Mr. Right (1979). The murderer this time is William Holland, a middling State Department officer who axes his mother, wife, and kids to death after being made an unknowing guinea pig in a CIA drug experiment; the drug brings out (or just intensifies) Williams's homosexuality, paranoia, impotence, jealousy, and loathing for both pushy Mother and hen-pecking wife Jean. But after the massacre, William escapes, changes his identity, only half-remembers what happened, lives in a country cabin, works as a photographer (his old hobby). Then enter Carol Neal - a lonely divorcee with two teenage sons who (though worried by William's moodiness) is happy to find a gentle new hubby and a father for her kids. And, meanwhile, low-brow CIA operative Al Amatucci, who originally picked William as guinea pig (he hated William for being an Ivy League type) is feeling guilty and fearful - so he's trying to track down the killer (who might strike again). This is a fairly thin scenario, and Banks over-stretches it out with flashbacks and repetitive inner monologues that become oppressive. But the parallels between the various marriages emerge neatly enough (Al has a sweetly manipulative Italian wife to mirror William's dead spouse); and, while the murky psychology may endanger credibility, there's a rightness in Banks' decision to leave everything shadowily unresolved - how much the drugs actually contributed to William's psycho-violence, whether he'll kill again. So: a serviceable, if slightly belabored, mix of gory suspense, grim psychodrama, and pessimistic perspectives on marriage. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

7 ratings
2.85 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 14% (1)
3 57% (4)
2 29% (2)
1 0% (0)
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