cover image Daughter of Darkness

Daughter of Darkness

Edward Gorman. Daw Books, $6.99 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-808-8

A beautiful young woman is found unconscious in an alley, with no memory of who she is or how she got there. When a mysterious impulse leads her to a cheap motel room containing a corpse, all the evidence points to her as the most likely suspect in the murder. The detective on the case, a sensitive recovering alcoholic named Michael Coffey, falls in love with her and sets out to prove her innocence, despite the evidence. The book bounces around between Coffey's efforts to help the amnesiac (who turns out to be named Jenny) and glimpses of a madman, Quinlan, living out his sexual fantasies by way of drugs and hypnotism. Gorman (Guilty As Charged) keeps the pace swift and navigates smoothly among the many subplots, but his characters, which he defines mostly by comparing them to various movie and TV stars, fall flat. The author drops one bombshell at the end, but--because he simply informs the reader flat out rather than revealing the surprise dramatically--the bomb fails to explode, and the novel's resolution collapses into melodrama. (Dec.)