Reviewed By Tori
Keaton Benedict of the Charleston Benedicts has just graduated from college and is home to take his place in the family business. An event at the local strip club brings Keaton face to face with his former best friend and first crush, Tilly Brock. The Brocks and the Benedicts were very good friends until Tilly’s father was accused of embezzlement and fired. The Brocks lost everything and Keaton never saw Tilly again. Keaton is thrilled to see Tilly and vows not to let her leave his life again.
Tilly is currently finishing her degree and works as a waitress to support herself. She was hurt when her father was accused and all her friends abandoned her. She wants to believe her and Keaton have a second chance but the economic and social gulf between them seems so wide. Not to mention Keaton MAY have a fiance. As Keaton and Tilly grow closer, murder trails behind then while both begin to receive threatening messages. As the killer closes in and certain accusations are made, Keaton and Tilly realize that no matter how hard you try, some family secrets can never stay buried.
Darkest Night by Tara Thomas aka Tara Sue Me is the first full-length novel in her debut romantic suspense series-Sons of Broad. Set in Charleston, SC, Thomas introduces readers to the very rich and influential Benedict family and sets up the world and possible romances for each son though this book focuses mainly in a reconnection romance for the youngest Benedict-Keaton. There are three novellas that predate this novel. They introduce this series, the characters, and set up the main villain who continues on in here. You do not have to read the novellas to read this story though I have been told it helps because of character crossover and certain pertinent background information.
While I am a fan of Thomas’ erotic writings under her other nom de plume, I found this story weak across the board. The characters are one dimensional with some used as nothing more than plot devices, the mystery is chaotic with no real direction, and the romance is nothing more than a second chance with lots of sex.
Tilly and Keaton are an amicable couple. Nice but nothing very memorable about them stands out. They reconnect after 8 years, talk each other up a little, go to dinner, and BOOM…they’re in love. That’s it. The relationship is established instantly. A person of interest is introduced early on and at first looked to be the spark this book needed. Instead, they are a ridiculous caricature and are introduced to provide conflict in the relationship and to reveal pertinent information. The romance and suspense aspect don’t blend well; the romance completely overpowers the conflict. Tilly and Keaton spend a majority of their time having sex or talking about having sex while occasionally trying to figure out who is threatening them. We don’t even learn why his family set her family up.
A diverse cast of secondary characters are introduced but underutilized. Thomas plays so much much close to the vest, you really don’t get to know anyone beyond a cursory glance. Kipling Benedict, the oldest, is snarky and has the hots for one of the lead detectives investigating a series of murders surrounding the Benedicts. Knox Benedict, the middle sibling, is very secretive and considered the saint of the brother but why? Again, we aren’t told a word. The villain of the story, along with his personal assassin whose identity is the linchpin of the entire arc, is probably the most interesting person in the book. He is a twisted piece whose hatred of the Benedicts is the fuel behind everything happening.
The ending comes at you fast as the main conflict resolves itself in a confusing fashion with no explanation for the character’s actions. Thomas drops numerous clues everywhere to set the stage for book two while leaving numerous plot holes for readers to fall through. While I’m sure this will be a hit for some, I’m going to pass and stick to her erotic romance.