Near Dark
Near Dark A Thriller By Thor, Brad Book - 2020

'Near Dark' is aptly named.

Scot Harvath came awfully close to the edge of complete darkness in 'Near Dark'. After the devastating events of 'Backlash' Harvath is, quite simply, a wreck:

"He could sense that he had tipped over the rim, that he was falling into the blackness of the abyss."

The difference with 'Near Dark' is that for Scot, this time is not about defending his country or protecting allies, it's about protecting those he loves and self-preservation. It's simply, glaringly, about avenging those he couldn't protect and consoling his grief, his helplessness, his anger with revenge. It's a bit jarring that those above him know and quietly sanction what he's doing.

There's a lot of backwards looking in 'Near Dark' as well as much recap of common stagecraft we've learned from Scot over the years, so sometimes it reads slowly. Other times the action is lightning and brutal. We can almost see the pieces of the puzzle Scot must solve as a line of dominoes slowly falling. However, I'm not sure what the unfinished end, the teetering but not fallen last domino means. It was odd and unScotlike.

We see a glimmer of hope for Scott in his latest partner, Sølvi Kolstad, but just as that is too easily predictable, the fact is they are both very good at what they do and they are both equally damaged.

"We all have our crosses to bear. What's more, we wouldn't trade ours for someone else's. If you and ten other people walked into a room and all laid their crosses on the table, everyone would be walking out with the same cross they walked in with."
"He supposed that was because we get used to ours, but it was more than that. Our cross, we realize, helps define who we are. How we wrestled with our problems, how we battled the demons that often accompanied them, was what built character. And as much as her straight-forwardness had unsettled him, it was good to have that reminder."

The question going forward is how will Scot Harvath be defined? By his losses or by his strengths?

4 stars

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