3 reviews

A Flicker in the Dark: A Novel
by Stacy Willingham

Published: 2022-01-11T00:0
Hardcover : 368 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
A New York Times Bestseller

“A smart, edge-of-your-seat story with plot twists you’ll never see coming. Stacy Willingham’s debut will keep you turning pages long past your bedtime.” --Karin Slaughter

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small ...

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A New York Times Bestseller

“A smart, edge-of-your-seat story with plot twists you’ll never see coming. Stacy Willingham’s debut will keep you turning pages long past your bedtime.” --Karin Slaughter

When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren't actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

From debut author Stacy Willingham comes a masterfully done, lyrical thriller, certain to be the launch of an amazing career. A Flicker in the Dark is eerily compelling to the very last page.

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Discussion Questions

From the publisher:
1. The book opens with a prologue, the first line being: “I thought I knew what monsters were.”Why do you think the author chose to start the book with this line? What were your expectations for the book after reading the prologue?

2. Chloe struggles to define “home.” On page 20, she says: “Home. That, too, is a loaded phrase.A home isn’t just a house, a collection of bricks and boards held together by concrete and nails. It’s more emotional than that. A home is safety, security.” What is Chloe’s home? How did you define the idea before reading, and how (if at all) has that definition changed?

3. On page 76, Chloe says this about lightning bugs: “I remember getting home that night and seeing the lightning bugs in our driveway, twinkling like constellations in the sky, the way they always did. But that night, it felt different. They felt different. I remember catching one in my palm, feeling it flutter between my fingers as I brought it in, placing it delicately inside a water glass, covering the lip in plastic.” Lightning bugs can be seen throughout the story. What do they symbolize in A Flicker in the Dark?

4. The juxtaposition between darkness and light is everywhere in this book. How do these images, these feelings, play off one another?

5. How are the past and present treated in A Flicker in the Dark, and how does this affect readers’ understanding of events as the book progresses?
How does this affect your understanding of Chloe?

6. On page 199, Chloe says: “I’ve seen that look before. . . . That look that shows the very first hint of concern—not for my safety, but for my mind. That look that makes me feel like my words are not to be trusted, that my slow unraveling is getting faster and faster, spiraling out of control, until pretty soon, I’ll be nothing.” How did you feel about Chloe as a narrator? Reliable or unreliable? Why do you think the author chose to portray Chloe this way?

7. Chloe is a trained psychologist; however, due to the trauma she has experienced, she has a hard time taking her own advice. In fact, she often ends up putting herself in dangerous situations trying to find out what happened to the missing girls. Do you think she ever went too far?

8. The setting of Louisiana summers plays an important part in A Flicker in the Dark. How does it tie various characters together? How does it pull them apart?

9. What were the book’s twists? Did you guess them? Which was the most surprising?

10. Given the ending, what do you see next for Chloe?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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by Krysta C. (see profile) 04/07/24

by Cailin H. (see profile) 03/28/24

by Liz C. (see profile) 01/28/24

by Sunny L. (see profile) 01/25/24

by Susan M. (see profile) 01/24/24

This book was selected by my book club for our next read.
I hope everyone feels the way I did. It was so good. I could not put it down. I enjoy reading dual timeliness, and the author did a
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