Tuesday 20 December 2022

Things We Do in the Dark

Finished December 18
Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

This novel has a touch of suspense and a lot of delving into the past. In Seattle, Paris Peralta comes home early from a yoga conference. Paris has been married only a few years to the much older Jimmy Peralta, a comedian and actor. Their unlikely relationship is based on real liking for each other and respect. So when she comes in to find him dead in the bathtub, she is shocked, dismayed, and in disbelief. As she tries to save him, even though she knows he is beyond saving, she knocks herself out and thus finds herself waking to screams, police, and an accusation of murder.
In Toronto, Drew Malcolm is upset to learn that convicted murderer Ruby Reyes is being released on parole. It isn't the murder that bothers him as much as the way she is being depicted as a MeToo victim when he knows better. Years before, he was fascinated by the story and it is part of what led him to a career in journalism. He knows does a podcast on criminal cases. He also got to know Ruby's daughter Joelle, and was her roommate for a while, and knows that Ruby was also convicted of child abuse in her treatment of Joelle. That is something that he can't forgive her for and thus why he has a personal stake in the case. When Joelle died in a house fire shortly after Drew confronted her about her life choices, it created both a feeling of guilt in him and one of unresolved issues between them that can never to dealt with. He resolves to make it his mission to paint a picture of Ruby for the public that shows her true colours. 
As these two stories gradually come together, we get a clearer picture of Paris, of Ruby and her daughter Joelle, and of the way that the press influences news stories. We also see more deeply into the foster care system, into the lives of those struggling to afford a place to live and a better future, and into those who can't let go of past relationships. 
A fascinating read with characters that truly come alive to the reader. 
We gradually learn that Paris has a hidden past, one that she definitely doesn't want to come out. The novel jumps back in time to one years before. 

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