Review: The 8th Circle by Sarah Cain

The 8th Circle by Sarah Cain
Series: Danny Ryan (# 1)
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Pages: 336
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review



A year ago, Danny Ryan lost his wife and son in a car accident. He’s still reeling from the tragedy when Michael Cohen, his friend and fellow journalist, drives into the pond in front of his house with a bullet through his gut. With Michael’s death ruled a murder, Danny must work to get his name crossed off the list of suspects, and that means digging into Michael’s last article, an expose of the twisted side of Philadelphia politics. But powerful people are ready to kill to protect what Michael was about to uncover, and if Danny’s not careful, he’ll be next. The dark heart of the city is on display in Sarah Cain’s gripping debut thriller, The 8th Circle.


Review:   Since this is a debut thriller, I had no idea what to expect, but this sounded like my kind of book.  So, I was very excited to read it.

Danny is a writer, still reeling from the tragic deaths of his wife and son the previous year, when a good friend drives into his pond suffering from a bullet wound. His dying words send Danny on a search for the truth that will uncover shocking secrets connected to his wife’s death, his father, his brother, and his former father-in-law, a senator with his eye on a presidential bid.

This story is certainly an ambitious undertaking for a debut novel. There are a few distorted areas, places where things get a little shaky, but it remains cohesive, and manages to stay on track.

This is a heavy, atmospheric, dark, twisty story that explores the lurid world of underground sex clubs and the depraved appetites of some men, many of whom would have a lot to lose if their secrets were ever discovered.

Nothing is as it seems, as Danny blindly fumbles his way through a murky maze of cover ups, addictions, secrets, and family upheavals.

The pacing is nicely done, with the atmosphere constantly keeping me on edge, but increasing the tautness, without giving the reader a real grasp on just what it is Danny is about to undercover, because just as he’s about to have a breakthrough, something thwarts him. I didn’t know who to trust, and there are few emotional punches along the way, but you have to keep rolling with it because the chills and thrills keep coming all the way to the very end, just the way I like it.

I was impressed with this debut novel and think this author is one to watch for. Overall, this is a solid debut and I recommend it those who enjoy dark, psychological style mystery thrillers.