Book Review: Children from Dark Houses



childrenSynopsis: Irreverent private investigator Atticus Wynn and his idealistic partner Rosemary Sanchez will stop at nothing to save a damaged boy, even when it means taking on a pair of professional killers and a gang of outlaw bikers in this action-packed and gallows-humored first novel in the Atticus & Rosemary Mystery Thriller Series.

When Atticus and Rosemary are hired for the seemingly routine job of finding Imran Khan, a runaway from San Diego’s posh Barrington Academy for troubled teens, the detectives quickly discover this case will be anything but routine. Imran wasn’t running away from the rigid rules of Barrington, he was running into the arms of an enigmatic beauty who goes to great lengths to stay in the shadows. As soon as Atticus and Rosemary learn of this mystery woman, they’re targeted by a brutal outlaw biker gang.

When the detectives finally meet their employers in person, Imran’s parents, the pieces fall into place. They discover a family seething with rage, an abused boy seeking love, and a secret so powerful it shines a light on the dark world of dirty money, deadly spies, and double-crosses. The detectives will need all of Atticus’s street smarts and Rosemary’s combat experience to survive as they race down a road of blood and broken people toward a showdown where the very boy they’ve sworn to save what could be the biggest danger of all.

Carlyle Clark has completely won me over with “Children from Dark Houses” and his wonderful main characters, Atticus and Rosemary. Let me begin by saying I have one piece of negative criticism and that is the cover. When I looked at the cover, I thought it was going to be a spooky thriller, but even with the bad crap that happens in this novel, it is absolutely hilarious. Atticus and Rosemary are in my eyes, the perfect couple. Any two people who can exchange such smart-ass and hilarious banter while keeping a straight face and being in love are my heroes. This private investigator couple consists of Atticus, who is African-American, and Rosemary, who is Mexican American. They are funny, fearless, and repeatedly think ahead of situations and manage to come out o.k.

There are so many other characters in this novel, and what is so fantastic is the variety of characters. There are the prejudiced/racist bikers (which in itself is kind of prejudiced assuming that the bikers would be prejudiced,but I found this as funny as everything else), a young Indian man, Imran, and his dad Khan that basically launders money and exchanges money under a more romantic sounding tradition, and Imran’s mother that was bought at a brothel in the Middle East and hates men. There are the evil Sabellia and Eiger, pretending to be sweet cousins, Atticus’ police officer sister who is also a lesbian, and a sweet caucasian girl who is best friends with Imran but not allowed at his house. Oh and a cross-dressing friend that helps Atticus with his fashion sense. My point is, Clark covered all the bases on ethnicity, lifestyle, and gang crime – but in a humorous and light-hearted way.

It would be too difficult to discuss the plot without giving away spoilers, but this is a hilarious page-turner from the beginning that will keep you guessing the entire read. There are so many twists and turns, but not to the point of confusion – it completely adds entertainment value and suspense to the story. I think what impressed me the most was the depth and complexity of the characters, despite how many characters there are in the story. Clark’s writing style paints perfect portraits of each character to where you feel you are there in the story with them. If you don’t like smart-ass/dry humor in novels, this may not be the book for you. However, this is one of the best books that I’ve read in a while, and cannot recommend it enough to someone who loves suspense, mystery, and hilarious banter. I cannot wait to read more from Carlyle Clark and this definitely goes on my list of my top favorite books that I have read this year.

Learn more about Carlyle Clark by visiting his web page.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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