The Deepest Black

Poisoned Pen. Aug. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781728223612. pap. $16.99. M
In this work of meta fiction, the character “Randall Silvis,” a mystery novelist, has written himself dry. He has no ideas for his next story until a stranger introduces himself as Thomas Kennaday, and asks if Randall knows the story of Baby Doe (a baby found in the woods by two teens) or of the murders in the small town of Bell’s Grove, PA. The Baby Doe case piques Randall’s interest, but the story of three people killed at the Burchette house is even more interesting to him. The desperate author follows Kennaday’s instructions to talk with Phoebe Hudack, one of the survivors of the Burchette house murders, which included a young girl. But Phoebe also has instructions from Kennaday: to draw out the story she tells, and to keep some of it hidden. Although Randall questions other witnesses, reads all the newspaper accounts, and talks with the police, he realizes the mysterious Kennaday is somehow guiding this story. When Randall realizes he’ll never learn more from Kennaday, he turns in a prepared report to the police, trying to connect Baby Doe and the murders.
VERDICT The author of the Ryan DeMarco books immerses himself in a conspiracy-theory mystery that combines true crime, UFOs, and sex cults. For fans of Silvis.
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