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A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

A Flicker in the Dark


Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to A Flicker in the Dark!


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Stacy Willingham, on your first book!

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by Stacy Willingham

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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



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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Free sample

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


I thought I knew what monsters were.

As a little girl, I used to think of them as mysterious shadows lurking behind my hanging clothes, under my bed, in the woods. They were a presence I could physically feel behind me, moving in closer as I walked home from school in the glare of the setting sun. I didn’t know how to describe the feeling, but I just knew they were there, somehow. My body could sense them, sense danger, the way your skin seems to prickle just before a hand is placed on an unsuspecting shoulder, the moment you realize that unshakable feeling you had was a set of eyes burrowing into the back of your skull, lurking behind the branches of an overgrown shrub.

But then you turn around, and the eyes are gone.

I remember the feeling of uneven ground twisting my skinny ankles as I walked faster and faster down the gravel roadway that led to my house, fumes from the retreating school bus billowing behind me. The shadows in the woods danced as the sun streamed through the tree branches, my own silhouette looming large like an animal prepared to pounce.

I would take deep breaths, count to ten. Close my eyes and squeeze my lids.

And then I would run.

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Why I love it

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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Member ratings (69,443)

  • Abby W.

    Bellingham, WA

    ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨Spoilers✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨The plot twists were really something!!! I kept thinking it was her fiancé and we find out it's her brother?! This had me re thinking everything. Amazing book 5 stars

  • Katy D.

    Liberty Hill, TX

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ this book is the definition of “Dark & Twisty.” Much like Willingham’s other novels, it’s full of twists and turns that keep you guessing. Read this one in under a week. Highly recommend!

  • Robin E.

    Westminster , MD

    This book was written so well! The characters evolution and twisty plot structure kept this book firmly in my hands. 5/5. I quickly purchased Willingham’s sophomore novel, it’s that’s good! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Samantha J.

    Beaverton, OR

    I can’t remember a time where I was so engrossed in reading. Willingham does an amazing job of making you wanting to read the next chapter…until you’ve finished the whole book in a few hours⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Ashley F.

    Sweet Springs, MO

    This started off a little slow but quickly became impossible to put down! I thought I had it “figured out” at least 3 times before realizing that I was wrong once again… Fast read for me ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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