Saturday, April 28, 2012

Darkroom - Rapidly Paced Political Thriller

Her mother’s recent death, her father’s continuing estrangement, frightening visions associated with any photos she takes with her dad’s camera - photographer Xandra Carrick has a lot to deal with.   On top of that, she’s wanted by the FBI for a murder she did not commit, while nefarious forces want her dead.

Having recently arrived back from a trip to her mother’s birthplace, Vietnam,  Xandra is troubled by her father’s reticence.  And to make her life even more complicated, after taking several photos during her trip, she discovers images in her pictures that she did not see with her natural eyes.  She’s having visions of a supernatural nature – visions that will blow the lid off a major conspiracy – if she lives long enough to have anyone believe her.

Arrested for the murder of a local Julliard student, Xandra flees New York and heads to see her father in California, seeking answers to her visions concerning Vietnam.  FBI agent Kyle Matthews teams up with her to find some answers of his own. 

Darkroom, by Joshua Graham, is a political thriller with a spiritual undercurrent, driven mostly by Xandra’s mother, Grace, a Vietnamese immigrant who married Xandra’s father, Peter Carrick, after a harrowing escape from Saigon when the US troops pulled out.  We hear her voice through several journal entries - beginning when she first met Peter, a photojournalist embedded with a platoon in Vietnam; through the birth of Xandra, until her death.  Her voice brought a depth to the story that certainly tied the themes of purpose, God-given gifts, and the freeing power of truth, together.

Darkroom rips along rapidly, jumping from multiple points of view, from Xandra, her father, her mother, a presidential candidate, an FBI agent, and a hit man.

And because of this, Darkroom’s pace is set at a very high shutter speed, swiftly shifting character Point of Views from chapter to chapter.  Initially, I found this style somewhat ADHD – jumping from POV to POV in only a couple pages.  Soon, however, I settled into Graham’s rapid rhythm, which kept me interested in what was going to develop next.

Graham’s intricate weaving of truth and deceit keeps the pages turning, and with a wide-open ending hinting at the return of feisty and insightful heroine, Xandra Carrick,  Darkroom is a novel you won’t regret being exposed to.

I have given an honest review of this courtesy copy of Darkroom received from Howard Books.


  1. Thank you so much for this kind review. It is available for Kindle
    and Barnes & Noble/Nook

    You might be interested in a short blog post I recently did regarding some inspiration for this book: Here

    If you'd like free sample chapters, please come to my facebook page:

    I'd love to hear from everyone, so please feel free to reach out to me on facebook, my blog, or twitter: @j0shuaGraham

  2. Thank you for reading my review and posting, Mr. Graham. Looking forward to your next book.