DARKNESS LANE

"Darkness Lane" cover artRANDOM ROAD introduced Geneva Chase, “a reporter with a compelling voice, a damaged woman who recounts her own bittersweet story as she hunts down clues” to murders straight out of a nightmare—six bodies found naked and cut to ribbons in a posh Connecticut home.

Having survived this and a personal tragedy, Geneva’s story still includes alcoholism and career challenges compounded by the rocky finances of her newspaper employer. But she’s working. She’s fighting the urge to reconnect with a magnetic yet married lover. And she’s raising a rebellious young lady who is not her daughter but a cherished legacy.

Nevertheless the newshound in Geneva spurs her to bad if not downright dangerous choices as two unrelated crimes unexpectedly collide. A fifteen-year-old-girl at her ward’s high school has vanished along with her English teacher. Is this same-old, same-old, or something more? And then there’s the abused woman who torched her sadistic husband, and how to keep her out of the clutches of powerful mobsters—and thus, out of the news.

Out on the crime beat, Geneva works to unravel the connection, if any, between these two disparate stories while her newspaper is put up for sale, a high-flying Hollywood production lights up the town, and her personal battles accelerate. Jarring twists and turns include charming movie stars, treacherous diamond merchants, adultery, sex traffickers, and murder.  While the clock ticks and Geneva works desperately to find the missing student, she comes to the horrible realization that she’s in over her head.

DARKNESS LANE, the second novel in the Geneva Chase mystery series, hurtles along at a breakneck speed where nothing is what it seems, and where art and reality collide in a terrifying climax.

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Reviews of DARKNESS LANE

Journalist Geneva Chase, the flawed narrator of Kies’s entertaining sequel to 2017’s Random Road, once did stints at the nation’s top news organizations, but has worked her way down the career ladder to the point where she’s now an editor and crime reporter at the local paper in Sheffield, Conn., her hometown. The crime beat pulls her into two stories that at first seem straightforward but turn out to be quite complex. One of them involves the murder of a low-level thug by his abused wife; the other focuses on the disappearance of beautiful 15-year-old aspiring actress Bobbi Jarvis. The connection between the two stories keeps the plot humming. Chase’s life is further complicated by being the legal guardian of 15-year-old Caroline Bell (Bobbi’s best friend), by the potential loss of her job if her newspaper is sold, and by the struggle to control her drinking. Kies neatly balances breathless action with Chase’s introspection and sleuthing savvy.

Publishers Weekly (June) Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc

Newspaper reporter Geneva Chase keeps vodka in her panty drawer, doesn’t turn down a visiting film star when he attempts to bed her, and knows a good lead when it’s dropped on her: a woman who sets her abusive husband afire and sips Merlot as he burns, observing, “I’m just toasting my husband.” Who could resist that? Not Geneva. But author Kies isn’t after just raffishness here. Geneva is struggling to conquer alcoholism and really struggling to care for teenage Caroline, the daughter of Geneva’s fiancé, who “died before he should have.” The plot begins when Caroline’s classmate disappears, and as Geneva covers the search for her, she comes across links to the toasted husband. There’s a solid thriller here—the key is sex trafficking—but the real pleasure is watching Geneva work. Cheer her onas she wrestles with that vodka bottle and trembles with fear as she confronts the monster behind the child-slavery ring. She’s also pretty good at standing up to a newspaper publisher about to screw the help into the ground.

Don Crinklaw Booklist Online

A pair of complex cases confounds a dogged crime reporter and unsettles the small Connecticut town where she lives. When Betsy Caviness douses her dead-drunk husband, Jim, in gasoline and sets him on fire, recovering alcoholic Geneva Chase, who edits Sheffield’s newspaper, feels more pity for the abused perp than the victim, who’d recently been arrested for trafficking minors for sex. Betsy’s million-dollar bail is posted by a group called FOL, which stands for “Friends of Lydia,” whose members freely acknowledge their secrecy, piquing Geneva’s interest even more. Meanwhile, she’s disturbed by the disappearance of Bobbi Jarvis, a high school sophomore who’s the best friend of her ward, Caroline. Caroline’s father, Kevin, who died tragically, was Geneva’s lover (Random Road, 2017). What makes Bobbi’s disappearance even more puzzling is that she’d recently been cast in a production with New York aspirations. At a local gas station, police discover closed-circuit video that shows Bobbi getting into a car owned by Jacob Addison, the school’s drama club coach. Bobbi’s parents are estranged, and the gambling addiction of her bisexual dad, Adam, has recently created serious financial problems. When Geneva tracks him down at his apartment, she makes a gruesome discovery. Could these two crimes possibly be connected? Multiple murders and shocking twists are key components in Geneva’s ultimate uncovering of the truth. The flawed but dedicated heroine anchors Kies’ second mystery with a compassion that compels readers to root for both justice and redemption.

Kirkus Review

 

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SUMMARY of Random Road

Last night Hieronymus Bosch met the rich and famous.

That was the lead sentence of the story I filed later that night with The Sheffield Post.  My editor spiked it, saying, “Nobody who reads this newspaper knows who Hieronymus Bosch is.”

Instead, the story began, “Six people were found brutally murdered, their nude bodies mutilated, in the exclusive, gated Sheffield community of Connor’s Landing.”

In RANDOM ROAD, six, naked bodies, hacked to pieces, are found in an exclusive, gated Connecticut community.  For Geneva Chase, a journalist on the edge of alcoholism, this story is the last chance to redeem herself.  She’s lost every other major news job she’s had and, for Genie, working at her hometown newspaper is the end of the line.  There’s nowhere else to go.

But she has to work through the distractions of the married man she’s seeing and the love affair she starts with an old high school sweetheart, a single father facing a life and death challenge.

Genie’s journey races along a course that includes a gang of professional thieves, a blind artist, a ghost hunt and a sex club. She’s in a desperate race to get the story ahead of her competition.  But can she keep her drinking under control and do her job well enough to keep from getting fired, finish the story and not get killed in the process?

RANDOM ROAD is not only an adult murder mystery, but it’s also a love story with a shocking twist at the end that asks- Do things happen for a reason or is it all random?

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About Thomas Kies

Author of the Geneva Chase Mystery Series, Thomas Kies lives and writes on a barrier island on the coast of North Carolina with his wife, Cindy, and Lilly, their Shih-Tzu.

He has a long career working for newspapers and magazines, primarily in New England and New York, and is currently working on his next novel, Graveyard Bay.

About Thomas Kies' Publisher, Poisoned Pen

Founded in 1997 by Robert Rosenwald (President and Founder), Barbara Peters (Editor-in-Chief), and their daughter Susan Malling, Poisoned Pen Press is an independent publisher of mystery novels. Their award-winning mystery writers and commitment to excellence for their readers sets them apart. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, they are about to celebrate 20 years of publishing some of the best novels of the genre.

Poisoned Pen Press is a community Bound By Mystery.

Their books routinely earn starred reviews from trade publications and the general press and have also won or been nominated for every major award in the mystery genre.

In recognition of Barbara Peters’ and Robert Rosenwald’s contribution to the publishing industry, they received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Bouchercon Crime and Mystery conference, as well as, the Poirot Award bestowed by the Malice Domestic Board of Directors to honor individuals other than writers who have made outstanding contributions to the genre.

Robert and Barbara were also given the Ellery Queen Award at the 2010 Mystery Writers of America’s annual dinner honoring “writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”