Dark Ride
September 28, 2023
Book Review

Dark Ride

reviewed by Fiona Cook

Hardy Reed has earned the nickname ‘Hardly’ – hardly tries, hardly has an opinion, and hardly makes his way through life. He’s content to float, working in a scare park and spending his days getting high with his friends – that it, until a trip to the DMV brings him face to face with a situation even he can’t ignore.

In writing Dark Ride, Lou Berney has created one of the most understated but completely captivating novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Hardly may be disconnected from life, but as soon as he notices two small children showing clear signs of abuse, his life transforms – he becomes truly dedicated to finding them and saving them. As he undergoes this metamorphosis from likable stoner to avenging angel, he finds himself making connections and uncovering abilities even he never suspected he was capable of.

Don’t let the measured pace of the beginning fool you into thinking this book is going to be an easy afternoon read, either. By the end, I was literally reading through my fingers and yet I still couldn’t just put the book down to give myself a break; I needed to know how this would turn out, even as I dreaded finding out. It’s a rare book that manages that push-pull so expertly, and Lou Berney made it seem easy.

Dark Ride is easily one of my top books of the year, and one I’ll be recommending to everyone I come across.

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