Village in the Dark
January 30, 2024

Book Review

Village in the Dark

reviewed by Sandra Hoover


Goodreads | Crossmyheartbookreviews

Village in the Dark is the stunning, highly visual sequel to Author Iris Yamashita’s award-winning debut novel City Under One Roof.  If you missed book one, I highly advise you grab and read it before the release of this sequel although Yamashita does a fantastic job of filling in much needed background information on the characters and events from book one, all of which are critical to the continuing overall series story arc in Village in the Dark

Clear your calendar and throw another log on the fire before cracking the cover on this one because you’re sure to get lost in a fantasy-like wonderland of atypical, charismatic characters doing their best to survive.

Anchorage Detective Cara Kennedy remains on leave a year after the mental trauma of losing her husband and son in City Under One Roof.  Additional information has surfaced indicating their deaths may not have been a tragic accident as previously indicated, but rather linked to the disappearance and/or deaths of other area residents.  Thus, on a brutally cold February day, Cara stands by and watches with dread as the caskets of her husband and son are lifted from the frozen earth so an autopsy can be performed.  The shocking results send her traveling back through the two-and-a-half-mile, highly claustrophobic tunnel to Point Mettier, a community of misfits, oddballs and eccentric recluses as well as those seeking shelter from abusive relationships.  A place where all two hundred and five residents live in one high rise, including Officer J.B. Barkowski with whom Cara’s exploring a relationship.  Still reeling from the autopsy results, Cara’s more determined than ever to get to the bottom of her family’s disappearance.  She’s joined in her search by J.B. and Ellie, a peculiar woman who’s certain her own son’s suspicious death is connected because he’s pictured alongside others who’ve disappeared in a photograph taken from a deceased gang member.  As the trio embarks on a treacherous, suicidal mission, they’re joined by another local, Mia.  The more they dig, the more it’s clear someone will do anything to prevent the truth from surfacing.  Attempts on Cara’s life escalate, putting her and those around her in danger.  They’re getting close to uncovering the truth . . . but at what cost?

Village in the Dark is an intense, all-consuming suspense thriller that’s narrated by three diverse, charismatic women – Cara, Ellie and Mia.  As the story progresses, readers learn how each of these women are connected and what they stand to lose when the truth is finally revealed.  A lightning fast-pace is driven by a dark tone of malice as characters and readers are propelled forward through blinding, breathtaking twists and turns.  The author’s expert utilization of short, highly detailed, high-octane chapters with changing points of view keeps readers on their toes as they soar through pages permeated with suspense, action and one shocker after another. The author’s cast of characters is one of the most diverse, colorful and engaging groups I’ve ever met.  Kudos to Yamashita for highlighting the importance of community and the heavy, heartbreaking theme of domestic violence against women and children, especially Indigenous women, via characters seeking to escape “man’s world” to live in a safe haven, a singular community known as Unity.  

Author Iris Yamashita has brilliantly crafted a one-of-a-kind, irresistible, highly atmospheric suspense thriller in Village in the Dark.  The author’s masterly story telling talent is evident as is her artistry and gift for creating diverse, sometimes flamboyant, characters one can’t help but love.  The action is heart stopping, the characters straight out of a fairy tale and the plot line twisted.  I’ll be singing the praises of this amazing book and series for some time to come.  Highly recommended to fans of City Under One Roof, obviously, but also to fans of unique, artfully crafted suspense thrillers.   


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