Thursday, March 22, 2018

Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate: Review & Author Interview

Blurb:

A HORRIFIC RECURRING NIGHTMARE IS THREATENING TO STEAL HER SANITY…


Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.

She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.

So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.


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Michelle's Review:

I have been on a huge psychological thriller kick lately, so when I saw that Courtney Evan Tate, a.k.a. Courtney Cole, was releasing one, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I don't think I could be any further from disappointed. Such Dark Things had me consumed, preoccupied, and totally twisted in knots the entire story and I loved it. More than your run of the mill psychological thriller or even your typical suspense, this book is heartache and angst, love and passion, obsession and deception all wrapped up into one.

Each character that is introduced is more intriguing than the last and with an instant appreciation for, and understanding of, both Corinne and Jude from the insight gained from each of their point of views, it is hard not to get sucked in almost instantly and feel a connection to each of them, their relationship, and their story, both individually and shared. It is also hard not to feel the pain Corinne experiences as a result of that night so long ago, not to feel the rush of new and enticing thoughts and experiences, not to feel the hurt and betrayal, and not to feel the ache, anxiety, and confusion as you struggle to put together all the missing pieces alongside Dr. Cabot.

Volleying back and forth between not only past and present, but also Jude and Corinne, Such Dark Things takes you on a true roller coaster ride. While it may, at times, be a bit hard to grasp the events of the story as far as a strict timeline is concerned, it turns out to really be the only way that the story can most effectively be told in order to become privy to all the most important information as readers, as well as see things in the same light as each character does in order to truly understand them and where they are coming from, and, of course, to be thoroughly shocked and appalled when everything finally falls into place and you can see the big picture at long last.

From the beginning, I was hooked on this story, but by at least the halfway point, if not sooner, I could not put it down or stop thinking about it. It has been some time now since I have been so thoroughly consumed by a story that I found myself thinking about it at the most inopportune of times, sneaking a minute here and there whenever possible to get a few more pages in, and even dreaming about it. I had to know what was going to happen next. I had to know where this detail would lead or what would happen after this new piece of information was revealed. I absolutely had to know how it was going to end as quickly as possible.

Taking a hard look at some very serious topics may be hard for some readers, but they are tragedies that many of us may have been faced with and forced to overcome along the way, making this not just a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining novel, but also a very relevant and important one as well. If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will put you through the ringer, have you feeling every moment, and surprise you around every turn, Such Dark Things is just the story for you.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

About the Author:

Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume for New York Times bestselling author, Courtney Cole. Courtney Evan Tate is her darker side... the side that explores shadowy places.

Courtney lives in Florida with her husband and kids. She has a passion for raising drug addiction awareness, the Marine Corp (her middle son is a Marine) and being introspective on the human condition.


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Michelle's Interview with Courtney Evan Tate:

I understand the overall theme of Such Dark Things hits close to home for you. Can you explain why this book is near and dear to your heart?

22% of married men, and 14% of married women have admitted to being unfaithful. I suspect that number is even higher. What I can say for certain is that it has happened to me. And it was gutting. I wanted to write a book that showed what it can be like, and how you might survive the emotional aftermath.

Having never been cheated on before, many women usually think either, "This will never happen to me," or "I could never forgive or forget." How did you go about exploring both sides of an affair; the effects of the affair, as well as the reasoning behind it?

I went into it with the knowledge that we never really know what we would do until we are faced with it. MANY people say, “I’d leave immediately”. While you might think this is true, the fact is, you don’t really know what you would do until it is your reality. When you are faced with dissolving a twenty-year marriage because of a one-night fling, or a fifteen-year marriage due to a bad decision. You don’t KNOW what you would do until you’re faced with the actual circumstances of the affair. Nothing is ever just black and white.

What are some of the biggest obstacles faced when deciding to move on or move forward after an affair, and how do you think, it's possible to overcome them?

I feel that the biggest indicator if you can move past an affair is without a doubt--- if the cheating spouse accepts responsibility, and is willing to work on regaining your trust. Without that, it would be a waste of time.

There’s an old adage “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I don’t believe that’s true. I think that there ARE serial cheaters out there, of course. And those cheaters have no desire to change, because they enjoy it. But I also believe that there are normal men and women out there who find themselves in a perfect storm opportunity, and they perhaps have a moment of weakness, a lapse in judgment, a drunken night, whatever. And they regret it.

In those cases, if they are willing to come clean about everything that happened, and they are willing to work HARD to rebuild all of the trust they destroyed, it can be done.

Personally, I feel it would be hard not to be constantly reminded of the betrayal and not to focus on what he did with her or what he said to her, etc. on a daily basis. If choosing to stay with someone after an affair, how does one move past this?

Make no mistake- it IS hard. Excruciating, in fact. It’s something that you have to look at, and decide—hey—is one night of his life (or one week, or one month—however long the affair lasted) versus fifteen years of a good marriage worth fighting for?

There are MANY times when intrusive thoughts break in—when you play the details of the affair in your head like a movie, over and over. You have to learn to try to guide your thoughts away from the ugliness. You have to make a conscious decision to focus on the NOW, instead of the THEN.

And keep in mind, it’s only possible if your spouse is working hard to repair things. If he/she is doing everything in his/her power to make you feel loved and safe.

I love the phrasing used when you refer to "surviving an affair." I can't think of a better way to put it. Whether you choose to stay or leave after an affair, there is a trauma, a mourning period, and a recovery and, in the end, you survive and move forward, one way or another. What advice do you have for someone during any, or all, of these phases?

My advice is to first and foremost, make sure you do self-care. Remember that you survived an ordeal. You deserve to go easy on yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you’re stupid for not seeing it, or you’re stupid for trusting him. YOU AREN’T. They were hiding it from you on purpose. You trusted your spouse. It does NOT make you stupid that you believed him/her.

Right after it happens, you will feel like you are going to die from the pain. You won’t. I can promise you that. Go one day at a time. Only ask the questions that you truly want the answers to, keep in mind that you can never UNKNOW the answers.

Also, your spouse should be an active part of your recovery. He/She should be doing everything in his/her power to help you believe in your marriage again. If they aren’t, then rethink staying.

 What sort of research or process do you go through when writing a story with characters who have either suffered from a psychological break or have distinct mental issues?

I did SO much research. I spoke with therapists, a psychiatrist, and I interviewed people who have experienced mental breaks and memory disassociation. It has been a fascinating process. The brain is truly an amazing thing—the lengths it goes to to protect us from ourselves.

While I loved the back and forth of present and past tense, it is easy to forget just how the timeline worked and to get mixed up as to what happened when. How did you keep everything straight? Do you plot in a linear fashion and break up from there, or did you just write it as it came to you?

I wrote it as two separate storylines, then went in and meshed them together. It was mind-bending.

***GIVEAWAY***

 Make sure to enter our flash giveaway for a signed paperback copy of Such Dark Things--> http://bit.ly/2px4BMO


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