Goodreads summary (review of Dark Corners and Night Swim) of Dark Corners by Megan Goldin (Rachel Krall #2):
Terence Bailey is about to be released from prison for breaking and entering, though investigators have long suspected him in the murders of six women. As his freedom approaches, Bailey gets a surprise visit from Maddison Logan, a hot, young influencer with a huge social media following. Hours later, Maddison disappears, and police suspect she’s been kidnapped—or worse. Is Maddison’s disappearance connected to her visit to Bailey? Why was she visiting him in the first place?
When they hit a wall in the investigation, the FBI reluctantly asks for Rachel’s help in finding the missing influencer. Maddison seems only to exist on social media; she has no family, no friends, and other than in her posts, most people have never seen her. Who is she, really? Using a fake Instagram account, Rachel Krall goes undercover to BuzzCon, a popular influencer conference, where she discovers a world of fierce rivalry that may have turned lethal.
When police find the body of a woman with a tattoo of a snake eating its tail, the FBI must consider a chilling possibility: Bailey has an accomplice on the outside and a dangerous obsession with influencers, including Rachel Krell herself. Suddenly a target of a monster hiding in plain sight, Rachel is forced to confront the very real dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the internet.
Rachel Krall, the true crime podcaster star of Megan Goldin’s acclaimed Night Swim, returns to search for a popular social media influencer who disappeared after visiting a suspected serial killer.
*There might be small/slight spoilers being this is a series-However, it is essential to note that you can completely read Dark Corners as a stand-alone.
Reason #1- Night Swim/Stay Awake
First, let’s discuss the first book in the Rachel Krall series, Night Swim (review linked). One of the things I loved about Night Swim was the focus on victims. It focused more on the victims, specifically, the lingering effect of rape trauma on victims, than the perpetrator.
Quote from Night Swim:
We have this unfair disparity in rape cases where the victim gets- let’s call it what it is- violated. Twice. Their first time in the attack. The second time, in court.
Additionally, Megan Goldin goes into deep detail about the process of completing a rape kit, which is also significantly violating in itself.
In Dark Corners, Megan Goldin continues this focus on the victims. Yes, the criminal mind is explored, but the victims are front and center—their stories. Also, the victims living in the aftermath of loss are spotlighted throughout Dark Corners. Their stories and grief come through loud and clear.
We are so desensitized to evil, so obsessed with finding out what makes <killers> tic that we forget the victims. Not just those they kill but those they leave behind.
What sets apart Dark Corners from Night Swim is (what I believe to be) the influence of Stay Awake (stand-alone). My only negative takeaway from Night Swim is that I wish it had a bit more suspense and thriller. I didn’t review Stay Awake because I was on hiatus but I loved it. It was completely different from the Rachel Krall series, as it was a psychological thriller. Having said that, Dark Corners doubles down on the thriller and suspense. While maintaining its focus on social issues, and victims, it was a far more suspenseful read (more below).
I always knew I would read the second book in the Rachel Krall series because of how much I loved Night Swim. I will definitely continue the series.
Reason #2- Structure/Podcast
I loved how Dark Corners utilizes Rachel’s podcast. There are A LOT of characters in Dark Corner. Although the main character is Rachel, there is a large cast of supporting characters, each with their own story. One of the reasons this works is because of the podcast episodes spliced in between chapters throughout the book. Each episode serves as a way to wrap up/way to pull together all the characters and their story. This is essential. Rachel Goldin is a tremendous spinner of tales. With everything going on, having these podcasts to summarize and link information is vital to keeping the plot clear.
Secondly, the podcast episodes are very well produced in the audiobook. From how they utilized different narrator voices for each episode’s participants to the music and background sounds, it is phenomenal. The background crickets and birds were so realistic that my cats perked up looking for them.
The podcasts in Night Swim were excellent, but Megan Goldin and the audiobook producers upped their game.
Reason #3- If You Like Slow Burn…
Dark Corners is a slow-burn thriller. It is as much about the journey to the truth as it is about the truth itself. In saying that, I mean there are slow reveals throughout the story. Megan Goldin creates multiple stories that you want to link together but good luck. You won’t know the connections until Megan Goldin wants you to. Nevertheless, Dark Corners never drags. It is constantly moving with surprising suspense throughout, rather than a succession of big reveals in the last parts of the book.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio for an advance audio copy of Dark Corners by Megan Goldin, which was released on August 8th, 2023
Reason #4- Character And Plot Driven
Dark Corners is one of those rare books driven by both the plot and the characters. You can’t say it isn’t a character-driven story. Rachel Krall is the centerpiece of the series. Moreover, there are a multitude of characters with different parts to play in the plot. You will grow to care about all, well, most of them 😉.
On the other hand, you can’t say it isn’t plot-driven. Each character has a unique story to tell. They will ultimately string together, but they also have an individualistic quality that lets them stand independently.
You get an incredible balance between the plot and characters between these two pieces.
Reason #5- Rachel Krall
If you are going to create a series around one character, then Rachel Krall is it. Megan Goldin writes Rachel Krall as an intelligent, strong, and fiercely independent female character. When the FBI brings her in to help with a case and then tries to cut her loose (because the plan goes sideways), Rachel isn’t having it. She has a steadfast determination to continue her work and find out whatever she can, anyway, she can. Multiple times she reminds the FBI that she doesn’t work for them, so they can’t tell her where to go or what to do (in the context of this situation). And that is precisely what she does.
Rachel Krall believes in the rights and stories of the victim. She has a very unique voice. Megan Goldin completely builds the character development with Rachel Krall.
Once again, I want to note that although this is the second book in a series, Dark Corners completely works as a stand-alone.