Whispers in the Dark accomplishes many rare qualities. These qualities work together to form a unique story filled with horror but focused on the things that matter most to the female protagonist: family, love, motherhood, and her internal demons.
There are many elements that I loved about this book. It breaks the rules of how we are taught to write. I believe the genre of horror attracts writers who are rebels, outsiders, those who live on edge, those who don’t give a fuck, and those who have no fear of pouring out words onto the page. Hightower switches PoV throughout the chapters and, get this...she does it successfully.
Rose McFarland is our main character. She is a hard ass, a mother, a lover, a fighter, and struggles between what’s in her heart, what’s in her mind, and the things from her past. There are certain chapters where we get first person point of view from Rose and this pulls the reader intimately into her life. There are other chapters written as third person PoV as well. Here’s the thing: it’s done in a way that paces the story for us and doesn’t cause confusion. Movies do it all the time and Hightower does it here without holding back and it works damn well.
Another win for me: a female horror writer writing a female protagonist who is intelligent, strong willed, but struggling with emotional ties from her past and present - count me in. The themes of family, darkness that lurks within kin, and inner demons are intertwined with the horror elements that horror fans love and come back for the most.
Hightower’s character development is phenomenal. As a writer myself, I learned a lot from how she developed her characters. Each one was succinct and each one brought something of value to the story. Every character had a purpose, whether it was to bring out qualities and actions of the main character or cause her conflict, they all served to contribute to the development of Rose.
Laurel Hightower knocked this one out of the park and it won’t be her last time.
Check out Whispers in the Dark here.
Follow Laurel Hightower on Twitter and Instagram.
Laurel recently became a moderator on the Ink Heist podcast here.
Check out my last book review on True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik.
Thanks for tuning in,
I am Sterp. I write horror fiction and have a very unhealthy obsession with disturbing narratives. I am the author of The Cult Called Freedom House: Sophia Rey Book One. My short story The Lost Tea Cup will be in Issue 26 of The Literary Hatchet in 2020. I am also a painter.
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