Cover Image: The Essence of Darkness

The Essence of Darkness

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Member Reviews

While this book touched on some favorite themes there were too many technical flaws for full enjoyment. Much of the dialogue was stilted, and maybe a lot of this had to do with the limits of translation. I was, in the end, able to maintain emotional investment with the main characters, and the story flowed well enough with some nice imaginative ideas. I wonder if the setting was changed for the english language version, but it's nice to imagine ancient strongholds hidden in the mountains of PA., near where I spent many a summer.
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Essence of Darkness is a supernatural horror story that will have you wondering what sick and twisted mind conjured these truly terrifying words. Tom Clearlake is a French author so this book was a translation which was actually pretty good compared to other experiences I’ve had. 

Reading Essence of Darkness felt like driving with your eyes closed- your heart is racing, you start sweating profusely, your mind starts racing with thoughts and you think you might throw up from the unknown! 

Essence of Darkness begins with FBI agent Eliot Cooper investigating the disappearances of children in a small town in Pennsylvania. While you may immediately think you know what's going on….spoiler…..you DONT ! 

This novel really pushes the envelope of paranormal and covers a broad spectrum of themes from supernatural, cults, religion, thriller, suspense, drama with the barest touch of romance and self-discovery. 

While Essence of Darkness is definitely outside of the realm of my usual reads, I do think it is a solid story with appeal to those who favor horror, murder and thrillers.
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I found “The Essence of Darkness” an extremely difficult book to read. The dialogue is unrealistic (no one talks like this) and the lack of research on the subject matter is shocking. I was barely through this novel and the amount of errors was on its way to becoming a mountain.
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Thank you to @NetGalley and publisher for the digital ARC in return for my honest review.

I was drawn to this book because of the description. And I have to say that it was disappointing. I DNFed this book about a quarter of the way through. I tried, but I found the book was slow, the theme was not believable and the dialogue did not sound regular. I wonder if there were a lot of things lost in translation. 

I do not like giving a review like this, but this book was not for me. 
Maybe it’ll be for someone else.
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FBI Special Agent Elliott Cooper investigates five unexplained child disappearances from a small town. He uncovers something beyond the FBI’s jurisdiction, something that literally changes him. Although this novel has a few inconsistencies, such as things working when the story requires them to work, it’s a fun tale of evils beyond the hand of man, the importance of loyalty, and astonishing graphically detailed descriptions of physical transformations and emotional turmoil. I recommend it for anyone who likes the stuff of nightmares born from the mind of a horror writer like Straub or Koontz. I was fortunate to receive a review copy from the publisher Moonlight through NetGalley.
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I really wanted to love this book as it fits together a few things that I enjoy reading, Horror and Mystery/Thriller. However unfortunately I didn't love it, I was only able to make it to 20% completion when I called it quits. I usually never quit reading a book once started as there's a chance it may get better, but I just couldn't get myself to continue this one. I wouldn't say it was bad, I just don't think this one was for me in the end.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this free E-Book in exchange for my honest review.
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I had a difficult time reading this one. I really didn't read all of it. I skimmed a lot. I felt like the translation into English maybe muddied the story a bit.
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Hello Gemmies! I have a new book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review. 

The Essence of Darkness by Tom Clearlake is a mystery thriller. I was very excited to get the chance to read this one, but unfortunately, it was a very difficult read for me and I had a hard time finishing it. The pacing was slow and the story was just not what I thought it would be. This book was initially written in French and was translated into English, maybe there was something lost in translation because the dialogue seemed very disjointed. The premise and horror elements are good, but they were not enough to help carry the book into the three star range for me. Thank you for the opportunity to review this story, but this one was not for me. I give The Essence of Darkness 2 out of 5 gems.
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I almost didn't complete this book as I found it extremely difficult to get into it until I was a little more than half way through. Honestly, I thought about putting this book down a number of times but since I had requested the book from Netgalley and it was granted to me, I felt an obligation to try to complete it. 

I requested the book because of the synopsis of it sounded really interesting and right up my alley. I love to read murder mystery and thriller books, which is what this sounded like what it was. It has five unexplained child disappearances and the FBI is involved and trying to solve the case. However, once the main character starts to investigate it and gets into the forest that is around the city, things go from your typical mystery thriller book to more supernatural. Now don't get me wrong,  also enjoy a good supernatural book but it has to be done right.

One of the hardest things that was really hard to get past was the way that Tom Clearlake writes, as it is not the way that people typically talk. Tom Clearlake also uses a lot of words that are not very common and I found myself having to use the dictionary function of my kindle app to look up the word. I consider myself to be quite smart, so this was not something that I was liking. Tom Clearlake also uses footnotes to explain things that he mentions in the story. I found that these footnotes distracted from the story taking place and was completely unnecessary. I actually just skipped over them in their entirety after reading the first few.

The setting of the story itself takes place in multiple places in the world. You have the U.S.A., Russia, Germany, etc. This is actually part of the story that I actually liked because it was using resources from multiple agencies across the globe to solve what turns out to be a lot huger issue.

As previously mentioned, there is a supernatural aspect to this book. You have grimoires, witches, cults, and cannibalism. Tom Clearlake takes a very unusual take on these topics in this story. I am still not sure what I think about it.

I was not very happy with the way that the story ended as it was confusing and left you guessing. I think I figured it out but I am not sure and I don't like that unknown. I guess it is possible that their could always be a second book and if there is than I am not quite sure if I would pick it up or not. I think it would depend on where Tom Clearlake would take a sequel. However, at this point in time I don't know of any sequel coming our way.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. If the story had not picked up its pace and managed to draw my interest into it than I would have given this book 1 out of 5 stars.
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I love thriller and horror novels. The bar is set pretty high. This one was "meh". The protagonist had everyhting ring for him, was boring (Don't get me wrong. I also hate the haunted/handsome protagonist detective/agent with a traumatic past as well)... Maybe he wasn't fully fleshed out. Maybe he was too perfect. The horror bits were what kept me going. Trying to feel out what was going on. I'll still read books form the author. This one might just be a fluke.
Be aware that it was translated from French.
Thank you Netgalley for an arc.
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A young FBI agent is sent to the peaceful town of St Marys to investigate a series of child abductions/murders.  It goes downhill from there.

Evil spirit possessions, a good guy turned evil but still trying to be good; a romance (while possesed by evil) with another agent that ends in pregnancy; violent, explicitly gruesome beginning, middle and ending; and an epilogue that leaves you scratching your head.  

Nope, this was not for me.
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Thank you, NetGalley for an opportunity to read this book.
I have been a thriller reader for ages and read all types of tropes but this book really kept me on edge. It has it all, a thriller, a little bit of sci-fi and a touch of romance. It is very intriguing and at some points dark and captivating. Take a look and you will not regret it.
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Let’s just get this over with...this was, honestly, the worst thing I’ve read so far this year. I probably should have DNF’d this, but I held out stubbornly because I thought maybe it would just be bad like the way bad horror movies are while still being fun to watch/read. What a mistake. 

I was drawn to Essence of Darkness because the description suggested a child abductor plotline where the investigator realizes that something even more sinister is going on. Honestly the child abduction takes second stage at best, it’s rarely mentioned after the beginning of the story and only gets picked up again at the end. This story essentially becomes a tale of a man discovering ancient monsters and centuries long secrets that go ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP. 

This would all have been bearable for me for the most part because, like I said, I love horrible horror movies. But the writing was just so bad. The biggest offense to me was when the author finally brings in a female character (who ends up being a primary focus for the entire story), only to spend the whole book blatantly disrespecting her and using her character in increasingly degrading ways. This female main character is never fully fleshed out. She basically serves as a sounding board for misogynistic views and poorly formed ideas about what a strong female character should read like. There is even a scene in the book where the author has this character use her “femininely wiles” to get information from a man by quote, “acting a bit like a slut” to achieve what she wants. While I live for femininely wiles, this was not a case of the woman being in charge of what she wants, as evidenced by the fact that she then proceeds to have sex with this character just because it was expected.

Along with all of this, towards the end of the book the story just continues to devolve into something catastrophically outlandish. As much as I love horror and even bad horror sometimes, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and excuse the poor character development throughout this story. I hate feeling this way about any book, but this book just wasn’t for me at all.
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Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review !

The Essence of Darkness
by Tom Clearlake

This book starts out great. Interesting plot, good characters a real page turner. The problem began when the story seemed to take a turn into the fantastical. I am giving this book 3 stars because it was well written however, I didn't connect with the turn of events towards the conclusion. It is a fairly quick read and it is an interesting book.
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What  started out as a child abduction mystery quickly went off the rails into a supernatural, complicated, convoluted story. I almost didn’t finish this one. I would not recommend 👎🏼
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I received a free copy of this book from the author. I had the opportunity to review or not.

A highly experienced, intelligent FBI agent is sent to a small town in Pennsylvania to find and bring back, alive, some very young children that have gone missing without a trace of evidence. They were not seen or heard; nor had they been left alone and yet they were gone. It is Agent Elliot Cooper’s job to find out what happened and bring the abductor to justice. A job he is entirely capable of completing. Until the perpetrator dissipates into thin air transforming into a black swirl enveloping Cooper.

This frightening tale of Hominum Primus claiming the right to possess earth because they were first to inhabit it is the downfall of Cooper’s investigation. As the black swirl engulfed him, he became less and less human. The investigation into the disappearance of the children was now in danger of remaining unsolved. Or was it?  Could Cooper continue in his humanity or would he be lost to the influence of the ancient humans? Where would it end? Could Cooper save humanity?
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This book was amazing! Edge of your seat! Read in one setting because I just couldn't put it down! This was my first book by Clearlake! Im not disappointed and can't wait to read more from him! Thank you netgalley for the free e arc in exchange for an honest review!
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While this book isn't my typical read, it was awesome! I devoured this book, and couldn't put it down. Such a good read for the things going on in the world now. It really made it so real. 100% recommend this!
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This was an ok book for me with a good premise.  I never fully engaged with the main character because I just did not like him and I think that took away from my enjoyment of the story. I’m sure other readers will feel differently.  The story had a good concept however. 
Many thanks to Moonlight and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this book. A very interesting story that was definitely a page turner. Kept me up all night.
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