Book: The Darkest Place

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The Darkest Place: A Novel

Author: D. Daniel Judson
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

The cold of winter has come to the far reaches of Long Island, New York. The summer people are gone. So is the sunshine. And in the dark, a man carries a body to the water’s edge. It’s not his first—and he’s not done yet…

The police are talking about suicides. But a handful of people suspect something darker is going on. One is a college teacher drowning himself in booze and dangerous sex. One is a former high school football star who wants a second chance. And between them is a mysterious private investigator who believes that a beautiful, amoral young woman is connected to the killings.

Soon, things will spin out of control. Clues will point in all the wrong directions. Then, it will be up to a few lost souls—men and women who know all about monsters—to bring a killer into the light….

During a bone-chilling snap of record cold weather, a series of enigmatic drowning deaths play out in a small summer resort community on Long Island’s Shinnecock Bay. Quickly implicated in the death is a local college professor named Deacon Kane, himself recovering from the accidental drowning death of his only son years ago—recovering slowly, and with the help of alcohol and an addictive, messy affair with a married woman.

As the police and several other interested parties watch his every move, Kane befriends a hypnotically alluring bartender named Collette and quickly continues his brutal downward spiral with little regard for self-preservation. Whether and how Kane is connected to the young victims are the questions everyone wants answered. And as it becomes clear that Kane himself may not know the extent of his own involvement, all must admit that something dark and sinister is at work in Southhampton.

Daniel Judson has a virtuoso’s touch and an uncanny ability to layer suspense, plot, and character study into an engrossing and completely surprising crime novel that will not soon be forgotten.


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Daniel Judson’s crime fiction thriller—appropriately titled The Darkest Place—examines loss, grief, and self-destruction in the Hamptons during the dead of winter.

Throughout a stretch of record cold weather, numerous bodies of teenage boys are found floating fully clothed and evidently uninjured in nearby bays and canals. In public, the police are calling the deaths accidents and possible suicides; but secretly they’ve started calling the killer John the Baptist—because all of his victims are found submerged in water. One of the victims (Larry Foster) was a student at Southampton College, and when detectives question the young man’s creative writing instructor—a burned-out writer named Deacon Kane—they immediately peg him as a person of interest. Kane, still trying to come to grips with the tragic drowning death of his own son four years earlier, is a mess: Addicted to alcohol and involved in a love affair with a married woman, Kane has missed more classes than he has actually taught, and his job is tenuous at best. But private investigator Reggie Clay, hired by Foster’s Catholic parents to rule out suicide, begins to uncover a bizarre murder plot that involves an enigmatic seductress named Collette, a mysterious giant of a man, and a criminal mastermind known only as the Professor. Is Kane the brains behind the murders or just a perfect scapegoat?

As haunting as it is heartrending, The Darkest Place—equal parts murder mystery and bittersweet journey of salvation—will stay with readers for a long, long time. Paul Goat Allen

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