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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: June 22nd, 2021

256 Pages

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Sarabeth has become increasingly rebellious since her parents found God and moved their family to a remote Arkansas farmstead where she’s forced to wear long dresses, follow strict rules, and grow her hair down to her waist. She’s all but given up on escaping the farm when a masked man appears one stifling summer morning and snatches her out of the cornfield.

A week after her abduction, she’s found alongside a highway in a bloodstained dress—alive—but her family treats her like she’s tainted, and there’s little hope of finding her captor who kept Sarabeth blindfolded in the dark the entire time, never uttering a word. One good thing arises from the horrific ordeal: a chance to leave the Ozarks and start a new life.

Five years later, Sarabeth is struggling to keep her past buried, when investigator Nick Farrow calls. Convinced that her case is connected to the strikingly similar disappearance of another young girl, Farrow wants Sarabeth’s help and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means dragging her back to the last place she wants to go—the hills and hollers of home, to face her estranged family, and all her deepest fears.

In this riveting new novel from Laura McHugh, blood ties and buried secrets draw a young woman back into the nightmare of her past to save a missing girl, unaware of what awaits her in the darkness. (Goodreads)

What’s Done In Darkness is an unsettling thriller that illustrates how much can be packed into a relatively short book in the hands of a talented author. The book alternates between the years leading up to Sarabeth’s abduction and the ordeal itself, to five years later in the present day, when Sara is now trying to make a normal life for herself, away from her family and strict religious community that she was trapped in for a good portion of her childhood. McHugh created a wonderful character in Sara, with both her past and present selves. She comes across as not only relatable, but as a real flesh and blood person. The other characters are equally well written, and so realistic that this could have been a documentary. The setting of the story in the Ozarks was a brilliant decision and added to the claustrophobic atmosphere of this religious cultish community. The mystery as to who abducted Sara was in part predictable, but there were some nuances that still surprised me. In summation, What’s Done In Darkness is an emotional, evocative, and mesmerizing read that I guarantee you won’t be able to put down. This is the first book I’ve read by Laura McHugh, but I liked it so much I’m determined to go back and read her three previous books.