The Darkness Knows (Viv and Charlie Mystery #1) by Cheryl Honigford: A Book Review

The Darkness Knows (Viv and Charlie Mystery #1)
Author: Cheryl Honigford
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Bright lights. Big city. Brutal murder.

     Chicago, 1938. Late one night before the ten o'clock show, the body of a prominent radio actress is found in the station's lounge. All the evidence points to murder—and one young, up-and-coming radio actress, Vivian Witchell, as the next victim. But Vivian isn't the type to leave her fate in the hands of others—she's used to stealing the show. Alongside charming private detective Charlie Haverman, Vivian is thrust into a world of clues and motives, suspects and secrets. And with so much on the line, Vivian finds her detective work doesn't end when the on-air light goes out...

     The gripping first novel in a new series from debut author Cheryl Honigford, The Darkness Knows is a thrilling mystery that evokes the drama and scandal of radio stardom in prewar Chicago.

     My Review: Vivian just landed her role as a sidekick on a mystery radio show. Everything seems to be going well for her until before her ten o'clock show where she stumbles across the body of a famous radio star at the station’s lounge. It soon becomes clear that she is the next intended target. However, Vivian doesn't want to sit still and wait to be murdered. She teams up with Charlie Haverman, a private detective, to find the killer before she gets her name crossed off the list.

     I really didn't like the two main characters. Vivian is ambitious. She dreams of becoming famous and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. She makes many sacrifices to hang on to her role. While I did find her to be smart, inquisitive, determined, and observant, I didn't really think she was a strong heroine. She was very selfish, vain, and is more obsessed with men than solving the murder. Vivian didn't seem to have a heart or care about anyone. She was also judgmental and did not have anything nice to say to her co-workers. Therefore, it was really hard for me to like her as a protagonist. 

     Charlie was not much better. He seemed to be very one-dimensional. He is the same type of detective that never likes female characters to investigate murder cases because it is unladylike. Other than that cliche that has been done many times before, there wasn't much character development there. He didn't really do anything in this book except to tell the heroine over and over that she shouldn't get involved.

     Overall, this had unlikable characters in a predictable mystery. The romance felt forced. There was no reason except their looks as to why the two leads are attracted to each other. You could figure out the killer from the first page. I also did not think that there was much historical detail in this book because it seems as if it could take place in the modern day. The only thing I did like about this book is that it takes place at a radio station. As someone who for a radio station, I found the setting to be very fascinating. Even though this is the first book in the series, I'm still uncertain as to whether I should continue with the sequels since I didn't like the characters. I recommend this book to those who are looking for a light cozy mystery while snuggling up in front of the fireplace. However, I found this book had potential to be a starter in a new favorite historical mystery series. Sadly, it was just poorly executed.

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

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