Review: The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone

Published by Avon

3 stars


A gripping new crime novel from the global bestseller Cathy Glass writing as Lisa Stone

‘The Darkness Within hooked me from the start. Once you start you won’t be able to stop!’ Katerina Diamond, No.1 bestselling author of The Teacher

When critically ill Jacob Wilson is given a life-saving heart transplant, his parents are relieved that their loving son has been saved.

However, before long, his family are forced to accept that something has changed in Jacob. Their once loving son is slowly being replaced by a violent man whose mood swings leave them terrified – but is it their fault?

Jacob’s girlfriend, Rosie, is convinced the man she loves is suffering from stress. But when his moods turn on her, she begins to doubt herself – and she can only hide the bruises for so long.

When a terrible crime is committed, Jacob’s family are forced to confront their darkest fears. Has the boy they raised become a monster? Or is someone else to blame?

This is a spellbinding crime novel with a dark heart from the worldwide bestseller Cathy Glass, writing as Lisa Stone.

This book wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I was hoping for more science and greater depth to the idea of cellular memory, possibly a bit more horror or exploration of the nature of abusive relationships but instead I read a 380-odd page novel which could easily have fit into a novella or even a short story.

There seemed to be a lot more text than was necessary, as well as some stilted dialogue between characters that didn’t endear me to the book and left me wondering whether or not to even continue at 30% in.
I think that the transition from memoirs to thriller fiction hasn’t quite worked for the author on this occasion, but with some serious pruning I think this book could be a great read.

The first part of this story sets the scene of an abusive boyfriend, Shane, and his horrific relationship with his kindhearted girlfriend, Rosie. He’s an all-round bad egg and ends up driving drunk and without a license into an oncoming vehicle and dies a few day later.

His organs are donated and a 23-year old vicar’s son receives his heart. Jacob has never had a history of violence and is the kind of lad who visits elderly members of the congregation to check up on them, so when he starts taking drugs and behaving aggressively, his parents know something’s not right.
With some investigation, his mother suspects that it’s caused by cellular memory as a result of his transplant – that Shane’s personality is starting to take over. I’m pretty open minded when it comes to stuff like this, despite being a scientist at heart and on paper, but I feel that there wasn’t any suspense leading up to Jacob’s transition into the violent man he eventually becomes. It seems to all happen at once, even though there are massive jumps in the timeline – we never get a real feel for what Jacob was like apart from his mother’s memories of him, so you can only assume her memories are accurate and he hasn’t been an utter dickhead just waiting to express himself all along.

The plot is a classic, which is why it has to be done particularly well and ideally with a creative twist to set it apart from the rest – sadly, this version just didn’t have that.
What I did appreciate about this story though was that the author does understand the building blocks of abusive relationships – it could have been done with some more subtlety but the dynamic of Shane and Rosie’s relationship was pretty accurate.

One thought on “Review: The Darkness Within by Lisa Stone

  1. LizScanlon says:

    Ah, I just reviewed this book today, too! 😀
    It was 3 stars for me, as well… I liked the idea, execution was what let it down I think… and you’re right, with some pruning it could be a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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