Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Review: Death Waits in the Dark by Julia Buckley (Writer's Apprentice Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Engrossing Gothic mystery
Cons: All cons left in the dark
The Bottom Line:
Mystery from the past
Leads to a modern murder
Gothic page turner

Don’t Wait in the Dark, Start Reading This Book

As much as I’ve enjoyed the first three books in the Writer’s Apprentice series, it was time for a bit of a different focus.  Those first three books focused on main character Lena London’s boyfriend’s past and secrets hidden in them.  Don’t get me wrong, they were great books, but as I finished the third one, I felt that this particular storyline had been told.  Obviously, author Julia Buckley agreed with me because she found something new to explore for Death Waits in the Dark.

Summer has come to Blue Lake, Indiana, and with it the heat.  Lena London and her mentor, bestselling author Camilla Graham, are trying to finish their latest manuscript, but the heat is making it hard to concentrate.  However, a visit from Jane Wyland doesn’t prove to be a welcome distraction.  Jane and Camilla were acquainted when Camilla first moved to the United States from England, but the two haven’t spoken in decades.  Jane arrives to tell Camilla that she knows the secret the Graham family has been hiding, and Jane is going to share it with the world if Camilla doesn’t step up and acknowledge it first.

The trouble is, Camilla doesn’t know what secret Jane is talking about even when Jane implies that it is something from Camilla’s husband’s past.  The next day, Camilla and Lena go to try to get more information from Jane so they can figure out what has the woman so upset.  However, when they arrive, they discover that Jane has been murdered.  What was this secret from the past, and did it get Jane killed?

If you are new to the series, it is a wonderful modern-day version of the Gothic mystery, and this book captures that feeling more than the previous books in the series.  I must admit I’m not super familiar with the genre, but as the book unfolds, I could definitely see how the author was weaving Gothic elements into this contemporary mystery.  Yes, there are also elements of a cozy mystery here, including a number of suspects in the murder that Lena and Camilla must sort through to uncover the truth.  But the past and the mystery Jane has stirred up plays just as big a part as sorting through the modern suspects.  Everything blends together perfectly for a story that kept me engaged the entire way through.

One way this series more closely resembles a cozy mystery is the cast of characters.  Lena may have lived in town less than a year, but she already has made a circle of friends who rally around her when things begin to go wrong.  It is nice to see all of them again and get to know some of them just a little better.  The suspects don’t get a lot of page time, but since the emphasis is on trying to uncover what had Jane so upset, it works just fine, and the characters are developed enough for their role in the story.

I mentioned at the start that this book takes on a new story.  There are still references to events from the earlier books, and some of the plot points are by necessity spoiled.  However, you could still jump in here if you really wanted to and then go back and find out what happened to these characters in the earlier books.  You just might put a piece or two of the puzzle in those earlier books together faster than if you read them in order.

It’s always a pleasure to find a new spin on the cozy mystery, and this series is great if you are looking for something a little different.  Fans will be happy to see what comes next for Lena and Camilla when Death Waits in the Dark.

Need more of Lena’s story?  Check out the rest of the Writer’s Apprentice Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of the book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday April 9th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 4/9.  You will have until midnight on 4/14 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 4/15.


  1. Thanks for reading and reviewing, Mark!

  2. I would love to read this. Thank you for this chance. 1cow0993(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Thanks for your review on "Death Waits in the Dark" by Julia Buckley. Sounds like a wonderful book and one that I would great enjoy having the opportunity to read. Always enjoy starting a new series and reading about a new kind of adventure. Love the cover!

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Thanks for the review. I love this series and cannot wait to read this one! Thanks for a chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

  5. I'm intrigued by the Gothic element. Thanks for the giveaway!
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  6. I loved the first two books in this series and would love to win this one while I read number three.Thanks for the great review Mark. It made me want to read the book, now! doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. This is a new to me author. I wouldn't min starting with this one even though I usually like to start with the first in a series.

  8. I have all the other books and am very intrigued by this series. Thanks for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. Love the series, have read the first two. Would love to win the book.