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All booksThrillerA Flicker in the Dark
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

A Flicker in the Dark

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Stacy Willingham, on your first book!
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Stacy Willingham

Quick take

When a serial killer emerges with an eerily familiar pattern, Chloe Davis wonders if she's really escaped her past.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unsettling


Why I love it

Peter Swanson
Author, Before She Knew Him

How does it feel to find out your father is a serial killer? And how do you go on with your life after such an event? Those are the questions at the heart of Stacey Willingham’s thrilling debut, a novel that is as much about family as it is about the monsters that live among us.

The narrator of A Flicker in the Dark is Chloe Davis, who was twelve when her father confessed to murdering six teenage girls in their hometown. Since then Chloe has gone to college, become a child-psychiatrist, and now, at 32, is on the cusp of marrying a dashing man. But the ground is still a little shaky. She is a little too fond of pharmaceutical escape, a little unsure about the people closest to her. So when girls start going missing again, in ways that suggest a copycat killer, Chloe becomes obsessively driven to discover the truth.

What this book gets so well is that the scariest monsters are not monsters all the time. Sometimes they are fathers, or best friends, or siblings, or lovers. Down deep, we want our boogeymen to come from somewhere else. We tell ourselves there are bad people out there, but they are strangers from another tribe, another town, another country. A Flicker in the Dark tells a different story: Don’t trust anyone. This book will keep you guessing right up until the very end, flying through chapters to find out who the monsters are.

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When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren't really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

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Get an early look from the first pages of A Flicker in the Dark.

Member thoughts

All (17061)
All (17061)
Love (11024)
Like (5718)
Dislike (319)
17209 ratings
  • 64% Love
  • 33% Like
  • 2% Dislike
  • Murray, UT

    I thought I had this book all figured out and was surprised by a multitude of twists. It is so beautifully written and will keep you on the edge of your seat ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ highly recommend!

  • Little Rock, AR

    This book had me hooked! I was literally scared to read it without a lot of lights on. It’s eerie, it’s suspenseful, it’s thrilling, and it’s just super good! It’s also a fast read. 5 stars for sure!

  • durham, NC

    OMG. AMAZING. I can’t even deal with this book. Just read it. SO. GOOD. Heavy and eerie and intense but wow… so beautifully written. And the ending? *Chef’s kiss* Can’t wait for Stacy’s next novel.

  • Carrollton, TX

    Amazing debut and great mystery/thriller. I wasn’t completely surprised by “who did it” but there were some twists I didn’t see coming. An enjoyable thriller where I couldn’t stop turning the page.

  • New York, NY

    Really addicting page turner, and didn’t see the ending coming at all. Didn’t love how everything was tied up in a nice little bow at the end, but that didn’t overturn the parts of the book I enjoyed.

  • Scranton, PA

    I really enjoyed reading this book!! The entire time you think you know what’s going to happen and by the end there’s a twist you never see coming!! It was hard to put this book down once I started it

  • Elko New Market, MN

    Ahh I knew it, and then I wavered, and then BAM at the end. I was worried the story would be predictable, and it was a “like” up until the ending, but nope. Great story with a great twist. I loved it.

  • Portsmouth, NH

    If you’re looking for a slower burn thriller that will still keep you engaged the entire time- this is the one! I guessed the twists but it didn’t bother me because I was enjoying the story so much.


    This book was a great debut novel! I loved the storyline and I had some idea of what was going on but there were twists and turns I didn’t see coming! I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole book

  • Hixson, TN

    This was such a great read! It was interesting to hear the story from a family member of the accused. Some twists that kept me wanting to read more—very well written and makes you think differently.

  • Franklin, TN

    Great premise and writing. I must admit I sort of guessed who did it because she didn’t offer a lot of choices. I really did want a happy ending though. The twist with the sister was my favorite part.

  • Bellefonte, PA

    I’ll admit I predicted who the killer was early on, and main characters who make bad decisions & overuse drugs/alcohol feels a bit tired. I still couldn’t put this well-written & haunting book down!

  • Pensacola , FL

    This book had my attention from the very first page, and had me guessing until the very last page. I can’t get over how well written it was. Stacy Willinghams first book and I’m ready for the next.

  • Inglewood , CA

    This was quite possibly the most phenomenal and well written thriller I’ve read in a while. I was so sure I knew every twist and turn but this book taught me a few things about timing. Love this one!!

  • Asheville , NC

    I personally loved the mystery. I thought this was very well done, especially considering it’s a first novel for the author. I too, was a little frustrated with the self destruction of the narrator.

  • South Bend, IN

    I read a lot of these types of books and this one blew me away. The flipping between past and present was the most seamless I’ve ever seen and the twist was legitimately enjoyable. Highly recommend!

  • New York, NY

    This book was mesmerizing. The pacing was well thought out and the language was absolutely beautiful. While it did get graphic at points, this book never relied on “trauma porn” to push the story.

  • Oklahoma City , OK

    This book had me thinking I knew who did what, just to come up behind me and slap me in the face with a HA you thought so. I could not put this down as I just had to know what was going to happen next

  • Tulsa , OK

    Definitely one of the best for this year she definitely is going to be a author to watch and keep up with the book is truly heartbreaking there is alot of OMG moments in this book a definite must read

  • St. Louis, MO

    A captivating read about a 12yo girl who pieces together that her father is responsible for the murder of 6 teenage girls. Flash-forward 20 years & a copycat killer is out there-red herrings & twisty!

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