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on 5 October 2008
This is the first book by McFadyen for me and I was gripped from the very beginning. I loved the characters that he has created and felt I got to know them and understood what was going on in their heads. Smoky, the main character has a traumatic background with some harrowing history but is dealing with her demons the best she can. Murders are being committed in their hundreds and the only link is that all the victims had a dark secret that they had shared with someone. How the killer accesses this information is a mystery that Smoky needs to unravel. Yet she has a secret that she's never told to anyone before, will this hinder or aid her search for the murderer? When the killer's methods are described it makes for cringing reading. I felt the pain and fear of the victims, and their sense of helplessness. There is also a strong religious theme running through this storyline that is sure to spark many discussions. This is a tale of love, loss, pain and grief, with a strong sense of endurance and hope.
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on 19 August 2008
I am a huge fan of Cody Mcfadyen. I read and loved his first two novels, and was very excited for The Darker Side to come out. I was not disappointed at all! Mcfadyen keeps getting scarier and scarier, and this novel shows off his talents perfectly. It's not as gory as his first two books, but this is so psychologically suspenseful I found it even more frightening than the previous ones. It got under my skin and kept me awake at night with its subtle menace. I can't wait to see more from Mcfadyen.
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on 6 November 2008
Smoky Barrett is no stranger to violent crime. She sees it every day in her job as an FBI Special Agent, but she has also experienced it firsthand. Three years ago, her husband and daughter were killed by a serial killer Smoky was chasing. The same man brutalized Smoky, leaving her face horribly disfigured. Her personal tragedies give Smoky a unique insight into both the mind of a killer and the sorrow of a victim.

When the transsexual son of a prominent United States Congressman is killed on a on a passenger plane - in mid-flight - the President himself wants Smoky and her talented investigative team on the case.

The investigation leads them to a twisted and prolific serial killer who calls himself the Preacher. Serial killers are collectors and the Preacher is no exception. However, precisely what he collects sets him apart. The Preacher is collecting the darkest secrets of his victims, forcing them to confess their sins before he murders them. He's also taunting Smoky and her team, telling them that "time is life" and they must catch him before he kills again.

In The Darker Side, Cody McFadyen has created a compelling, gritty crime procedural. I frequently found myself re-reading passages, not to deepen my understanding of the story, but to savor McFadyen's writing style. This is not a bare bones thriller with little prose or character development. The descriptions and characters are rich and well-formed, and the plot never stalls. I was truly sad to finish this book, and I can't wait to see where Mr. McFadyen takes Smoky Barrett next.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2009
I have been a big fan of McFadyen since his first book 'Shadow Man' which introduced a great new character in the form of troubled FBI Agent Smoky Barrett. Then in his breathtaking second book; 'The Face of Death' McFadyen finally delivered a crime book with an absolutely gritty and thrilling story-line with an abundance of great plot twists and developed, believable characters. So, it goes without saying I was eagerly anticipating this, his third book.
'The Darker Side' revolves around the central theme of secrets. Everybody has them including Smoky herself. It leads Smoky and her team into the world of catholocism. Unfortunately it seems that McFadyen has covered nothing new here, the story, yes is as ever good, not as good as he's offered before but still not bad. However the once well developed and interesting characters have become slightly boring. Smoky is the only character given any attention with everyone else given little to no development at all, which is shame. I can only hope that this is an anomoly of the series. I will again look forward to the next in the series 'Abandoned' and I hope that McFadyen is back on top form.
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2008
I was gripped by the othe two earlier books so much so that I was unsure if the author could maintain his tight hold on the reader's senses.

Well, he does, as far as I am concerned, albeit in a slightly less aggressive way. Again we have pretty much the same team as before and, again, we have a religious nut rearing his crazy head.

In a way, I was pleased this book is not as gory as the others. It gives us a chance to absorb a little more of the 'team', discovering, as we do, previously untold secrets.

My only gripe is now that I've finished it. I will have to wait ages for the fourth!!
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on 7 October 2008
This is the first book by McFadyen for me and I was gripped from the very beginning. I loved the characters that he has created and felt I got to know them and understood what was going on in their heads. Smoky, the main character has a traumatic background with some harrowing history but is dealing with her demons the best she can. Murders are being committed in their hundreds and the only link is that all the victims had a dark secret that they had shared with someone. How the killer accesses this information is a mystery that Smoky needs to unravel. Yet she has a secret that she's never told to anyone before, will this hinder or aid her search for the murderer? When the killer's methods are described it makes for cringing reading. I felt the pain and fear of the victims, and their sense of helplessness. There is also a strong religious theme running through this storyline that is sure to spark many discussions. This is a tale of love, loss, pain and grief, with a strong sense of endurance and hope.
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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2010
I am thoroughly enjoying Cody McFadyen's Smoky Barret Series and I have to say, this, the third, does not disappoint. From the frist page to the last page the shocks and surprises keep coming, and I found myself wanting to carry on reading long into the night. In this book Smoky is after yet another serial killer, who seems to kill in a random fashion, and in disparate areas of the country. Needless to say, the randomness is imagined and McFadyen brings the storyline together quickly. The writing is superb, with words used skillfully to draw the reader in to the story. The characters from the previous two books are all here, and you get to find out a lot more about them in this one, including Smoky herself. This book is an edge of the seat, whistle stop tour through the world of the serial killer, and I would advise anyone to buy it and read it.
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on 6 August 2016
So, we come to book three in the Smoky Barrett series and an absolute brilliant one. I didn't think they really could improve but this one really had me hooked from the very first page.

We cut to a couple of years after where the last book left and are hit by a transexual being murdered on a busy flight whilst up in the air in their seat!! Yikes!!! This one is out of Smoky's usual jurisdiction but her expertise is called upon and she flies out to Virginia with her team to investigate the crime scene. More bodies start to turn up and a link is developed between the different crimes. Rather than a straightforward whodunnit, this delves more into the human psyche, faith, religion, redemption, lies and secrets. McFadyen paints an interesting look over proceedings, how people twist their own beliefs to justify their own actions and what is really perceived as 'good' and 'bad'. I found it to be a totally absorbing and compelling read and really did struggle to put this one down in the early hours of the morning. The sheer weight of the book won and I actually fell asleep whilst reading!

Of all the books in the series, this is my favourite so far. It's insightful, hugely engaging with McFadyen's flair for brilliant storytelling. Though not as squeamish as previous works some aspects explored may not to be everyone's tastes and not to their palette. No problem for me however.

I am so glad I was introduced to this particular series by some good friends and heartily agree with them that this is indeed thriller writing at a really high level. Obviously I'm looking forward to the next instalment ...... just a smidgen anyways!!
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on 30 August 2008
The shocks were more psychological than as brutal as Mcfayden's first two novels but were equally disturbing. A serial killer called the Preacher is on the loose getting sinners to confess their darkest secrets before handing out atonement and death. Enter Smokey Barret, Callie, Alan, and Kirsty to track the Preacher down. A good story from Mcfayden although he introduces the killer too easily giving up the chance of more suspense, and overall the book ended a bit plainly.
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2008
Like the other 2 novels in the Smoky Barrett series, I found this to be a terrifying read with characters that are deeply emotionally and physically scarred. This novel has given more depth and insight into the killers' minds and the secrets exposed are vivid and nasty.

The concept of every one having secrets which the killer unearths and twists for his own use is a clever one. The prose and dialogue, as ever, is realistic. Catholicism plays a large part in the novel and understanding is conveyed cleverly by McFadyen to the reader.

Smoky's character is extremely well developed and we see a more vulnerable side to her but at no time does this detract from the grittiness of the plot.

The reason I did not give this 5 stars is that (a)I found that the references to the other books a bit annoying - although I can see the benefit of a reader not having to read the other 2 novels to fully enjoy this one and (b) that this had less mystery with the killer being ahead of the game leaving clues to be caught and did not give Smoky and her team (plus the reader) as much chance to detect.
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