Where Stars Won’t Shine is my third read from Patrick Lacey, and my favorite so far. I’m glad that I have more of his novels on my shelf, as I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve read from this author. I started reading this book at night, during a recent power-outage, which intensified the creep factor. Darkness aside, I was gripped by the story from the very beginning. I loved the format used for introducing the reader to the villain, and the subject matter was of immediate interest to me. The main antagonist in this story is a depraved killer, and it reads like true crime with a healthy dose of horror.
There are some great storytelling elements at play here—an excellent plot, solid character development, and perfect pacing. All of these facets made for a great read that I couldn’t put down. I cared about the characters, and found myself fully invested in their journey. The author provides enough backstory on each character without too much detail. The details given on each person allowed me to have empathy for them all, even the villains, which made for an engaging read.
I’m aware that Patrick Lacey is a “Nightmare on Elm Street” fan, and I sensed some of that influence in this story. I really loved that vibe. It’s an original tale, but has that same dreamlike quality with memorable moments of terror. Ashton’s town of Marlowe is like a nightmare that the protagonists are desperate to escape. Most great stories play out like movies in my mind while I read, and this one was no exception. Lacey’s most recent novel (A Voice So Soft) has this same quality—his love of horror films really translates to his writing.
Overall, Where Stars Won’t Shine is a compelling read, and the subject matter rekindled my interest in true crime, despite the fact that this particular tale is fiction. At this point, I’m sold on Patrick Lacey’s skill as a writer, and I can’t wait for what’s in store when I pick up another one of his books.