We Are All The Same In The Dark is a gritty mystery novel with twists right to the end. The writing is beautifully atmospheric and pulls you right into the deep Texas setting. It’s a multiple POV novel, but instead of cycling between characters it follows them sequentially – Wyatt for the start, Odette for the build-up, and Angel for the thrilling conclusion.
Wyatt is the town’s pariah. Ten years ago, his sister Trumanell – prom queen and the town’s sweetheart – disappeared, with only a smear of blood and some glitter left behind. The prime suspects were her father – now deceased – Frank, and her mad brother Wyatt. These days, Wyatt hides out at the house he grew up in, talking to his sister as if she were there and painting the walls Chantilly Lace white – her favourite colour.
Odette is a cop, like her father and grandfather before her. After Trumanell disappeared, Odette left town, determined to start anew – but the town’s secrets dragged her home, Chicago lawyer husband in tow. Odette has history with Wyatt, and with Trumanell, and when Wyatt finds a girl on the side of the highway it sets off a chain of events that might just uncover a mystery that’s been sleeping for ten years.
I’m not American, so I can’t speak for the accuracy of the setting or the characters pictured, but they all felt thoroughly believable. It felt like a typical small town – obsessed with its own secrets. I was gripped by the simultaneous fear and veneration of Wyatt, people’s opinions of Odette always framed by their opinions of his dad, the missing girl never let go by a town which only had one claim to notoriety. The writing was as tough and gritty as the Texan setting and, whilst this made it jarring in places, it wouldn’t have felt quite right without it.
I felt sorry for Wyatt – haunted by the past and unable to move on – but even in his own head he is never framed as an innocent party. Whether because he truly believes it or simply because so many people have told him so, he doesn’t think of himself as a nice man. Readers can judge for themselves.
Odette is a fantastic character – brave, feisty, reckless, and never defined by her weaknesses. She makes mistakes – and plenty of them – but she is honest, and always determined to do the right thing. The town sees Trumanell as some sort of goddess – Odette sees her as a girl. Spending time in Odette’s head isn’t always easy but it is fascinating – especially the insights into her disability and how it frames her outlook on life.
Angel was my favourite. Her section flew past much faster than the rest of the book – possibly because it was faster paced, but I think because it gripped me more. It would be spoiler-y to give away too much about her, but she is a fascinating and brilliant character; the epitome of the impulsive teenager but also one who’s had to fight to survive. Her interactions with Rusty and Finn were spectacular, and every twist – of which there are many – had me on the edge of my seat.
Overall, this is a great book – one that really draws you into its setting and complex characters. The disability representation was a bonus. If you like stories with an eerie atmosphere about strong characters and long-buried secrets, you’ll like this. Recommended.
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph for providing an eARC of this book – this in no way affects the content of this review.
Published by Michael Joseph
Hardback: 6 August 2020