Thursday, June 27, 2024

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Walk the Dark, by Paul Cody {ends 7/1}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Maybe I was eleven by then. I think I was eleven.

We were still living in the first-floor place with the big rooms, and for a while I went to middle school, for sixth grade, and the school was four or five times bigger than Fall Creek Elementary, where I had gone, briefly, before.

Mother still had quite a few boyfriends, and she still drank and took pills. Sometimes she gave me a pill or two, and sometimes she’d say that pills were bad for me, and for a week or a month she wouldn’t give me any.

But she was out of the house, for hours, or now and then, for days. I’d look through her closet and her dresser, and the brown plastic bottles with the white caps were always in the small top drawer on the right. Five or ten bottles and they were mixed in with her underwear. All that silky stuff that made me nervous.

Oliver knew his life wasn’t like other kids, but he was getting along okay. 

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Walk the Dark, by Paul Cody {ends 7/1}
Oliver Curtin grows up in a nocturnal world with a mother who is a sex worker and drug addict, and whose love is real yet increasingly unreliable. His narration alternates between that troubled childhood and the present of the novel, where he is serving the last months of a thirty-years-to-life sentence in a maximum-security prison in upstate New York, for a crime he committed at age seventeen. His redemption is closely allied with his memories, seen with growing clarity and courage. If he can remember, then life in the larger world is possible for him.

Oliver’s life didn’t sound like the life most readers experience. He was mostly raising himself, as his mother, who he called in turns Margaret, Maggie, Peg, or Mother, was busy with her boyfriends or her addiction. One long-time friend of his mother’s, Mabel, stepped in sometimes to fill some gaps, but that still didn’t bring his life anywhere near something familiar to most. 

The fluid naming of his mother gave another window to Oliver’s perception of her—it felt like he never knew what to expect any more than we did. His flashbacks to childhood really told of the unstable and unpredictable nature of his life as he grew older. Prison is the first time that Oliver has things expected of him, and he seems to adjust adequately to the new environment.

The book ends with many questions, primarily about the other transient characters in Oliver’s story. While the book is fiction, the characters and emotions were so well written that they were undeniably engaging, and readers are left wondering what happened for everyone else next. This compelling story of Oliver’s life earned 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a beautifully told non-traditional family drama.

{click here to purchase via my Amazon Affiliate link}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, and working with her kids to pursue their joy. See where this is currently headed on her blog,


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Walk the Dark!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday. July 1st, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be chosen the next day and notified via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Walk the Dark, by Paul Cody

1 comment:

  1. This book looks very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.


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