BOOK REVIEW: A Step Past Darkness by Vera Kurian


Title: A Step Past Darkness
Author: Vera Kurian
Publication: February 20, 2024
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 448

Amazon |  Barnes and Noble |  Goodreads  |  Author Website

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

There’s something sinister under the surface of the idyllic, suburban town of Wesley Falls, and it’s not just the abandoned coal mine that lies beneath it. The summer of 1995 kicks off with a party in the mine where six high school students witness a horrifying crime that changes the course of their lives.

The six couldn’t be more different.

• Maddy, a devout member of the local megachurch
• Kelly, the bookworm next door
• James, a cynical burnout
• Casey, a loveable football player
• Padma, the shy straight-A student
• Jia, who’s starting to see visions she can’t explain

When they realize that they can’t trust anyone but each other, they begin to investigate what happened on their own. As tensions escalate in town to a breaking point, the six make a vow of silence, bury all their evidence, and promise to never contact each other again. Their plan works – almost.

Twenty years later, Jia calls them all back to Wesley Falls—Maddy has been murdered, and they are the only ones who can uncover why. But to end things, they have to return to the mine one last time.


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Vera Kurian caught me with her last book Never Saw Me Coming and I have been itching for her next release. I was so excited to see A Step Past Darkness that I instantly knew I had to read it.

The story follows Jia and friends from Wesley Falls as they come back together after decades apart when one has mysteriously died and there are so many questions about their hometown.

First up, this book gives major cult vibes. I never used to like books about cults because they made me uncomfortable, but I’ve learned to love them and all their twisty ways. Golden Praise is the epitome of a cult and the obsession the townfolks have with it triggered all my red-flag warnings right away. Kurian knows how to get you instantly intrigued by a story and desperately needing more information. The six friends in this book were so fun. I think what people will like is there is someone for everyone. There are the popular kids, the stoner, the book nerd, the shy girl, and so forth. Everyone can relate to someone in this story. I think that really helped me connect.

The only thing about this story that kept me from giving it five stars was that it had a bit of a fantasy twist to it and I was not expecting it. It is labeled in the genre of mystery and thriller, and having read Kurians previous work I was expecting that. It is that, but I was not expecting that supernatural twist. So if you are not a supernatural fan, maybe this won’t be for you. But before you decide that I will say I don’t read many supernatural-based books because it’s not my thing, but this book was still really, really good. I just wish I had a bit of a heads-up to that.

Even with that said, Kurian again has delivered a stunning piece of writing with deep, interesting characters that you honestly cheer for throughout and a dark, intense antagonist that you don’t see in too many stories. I’m impressed, yet again, by Kurian’s talent and will be waiting desperately for the next book.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *