Some Days Are Dark: Miranda Smith, A Review
Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced e-copy of Some Days Are Dark.
This is one of those books where the cover really caught my eye. I loved the light and dark contrast, the title was fitting, and the blurb sounded exciting.
Olivia is a woman on the edge. Her first marriage failed, her second ended in murder, and now as the trial date closes in on the man who admitted to the crime, new evidence is found and the charges are dropped--thrusting her back into the lens of suspicion and upending the fragile normalcy of her life.
Told in alternating present and past perspectives, we see the events unfolding through Olivia's eyes in real time with the added knowledge of what's to come.
I struggled with this book.
I'm a champion of unlikeable characters. I don't need to relate to them in order to love them, in spite of their flaws or differing opinions than my own. But Olivia was grating and I had a hard time finding anything remotely sympathetic about her. From her drug use, infidelity, poor friendships, wishy-washy feelings, excuses, to her general reaction to the world around her, I just could not get on board with this woman's journey to finding the truth about her dead husband. Only when the forced confession falls through does she admit a miscarriage of justice has happened--anything to take the focus off herself. And that happens throughout the whole book. She's willing to sacrifice anyone in her path if it means everything is as she wants it to be. Most of the time, it felt like I was wading through excuses of why she strayed from her marriage and couldn't enjoy being a mother to a young child. Granted, I know firsthand how difficult the early stages of motherhood are and can be, and the car accident is inherently terrifying--a mother's worst fear--but I was never really rooting for Olivia.
I also found the plot to be on the predictable side. The inclusion of a few key details early on really limits the suspect list, and the big twist/reveal/climax fell short of what I was hoping for.
Other than a few sections that felt repetitive, Smith's writing is clean and strong. She did a good job of developing voices and distinct narratives for each character. I appreciated the different relationships and family dynamics, how there is no cut-and-dry definition of how family routines should work.
Overall, a decent, readable debut with a cast of (mostly) unlikeable characters.