I just finished Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins. It is Powerful. It is Sad. And then--Light breaks through the Dark. It is Dawn. What a book this is. Ace Collins has a new fan.
So what is this book, Darkness Before Dawn? It is a story that takes people you and I know....husbands driving home late at night, young wives waiting for them with joyful news to share, the carload of boys and girls drunk on beer and scotch after a lake bonfire party. This book lets us follow their lives, lives just like ours or someone we know, and lets us see inside their minds as these lives intersect, and one of them ends.
This story begins in the darkness of night when Meg Richard's answers her phone to find a state trooper making the call no one ever wants to make or receive. He said "I am sorry to have to inform you that there has been an accident."
What he doesn't say is what she hears. "Your husband is dead. Your world is torn apart." Steve Richards died upon impact with the drunken teen's vehicle, and his car went up in flames with his body trapped inside. This 2 AM phone call ushered the Dark Music into her bright life, Dark Music that would not stop playing for a long time.
Meg drove to the hospital to identify the body, knowing her husband by the ring on his hand. The ring that was engraved "Til death do us part." They had been parted, at the hands of James Thomas, underage drunk who drove into the wrong lane and hit Steve head on.
There is no way on earth to bring Steve back. Meg knows this, but she also knows she can punish his killer, and make him understand the pain he caused. Darkness Before Dawn brings us down with Meg, down to the thirst for revenge, to the place where causing James Thomas harm becomes her purpose at her own expense and the expense of her baby. As I read, I felt Meg's desire for justice. I knew why she wanted it. I hated the selfishness, the carelessness of this young man who snuffed out life in a horrible way and showed no remorse. This book pulled me into Meg's battles. This book would not let me put it down.
Allow me to tell a little story at this point... and you will better understand why I say this is a book we all should read.
This morning I stood on the bank of a drainage ditch at the end of my local dirt road. There was a beer bottle lying in the grass near the slimy run-off water. As I picked up the sun-warmed bottle and held it in my hand, I looked down at the marks where the cars parked there had spun dirt as they pulled out. The drivers were probably young--this is one of our county's favorite hangouts for the highschoolers. If past history and the weight of the bottle in my hand meant anything, they were drinking again. And I wished that they would stop, that the hands that had tossed this bottle would soon fold in prayer. I wish that we could raise our young men so that they would never have to have memories of drinking. I wish we could teach them to run from the bottle. I wish we could help those who are drinking, those who have been James Thomases, to be redeemed.
Thank you Ace Collins, Abingdon Press and Litfuse for sending me Darkness Before Dawn. I will not be forgetting this one.
Yet another winning book from Ace Collins! I have previously read Yellow Packard and Christmas Star, and while I must admit candidly that Ace isn’t one of my all-time favorite authors, the books are good enough that I keep reading them and anticipating reading the next one. This one dealt with some especially tough (and hard to handle) topics: hate, sorrow, resentment, revenge, pushing God away. But I felt that the author handled them very well. It was an amazingly real and understandable and sad book! I completely understood what the main character was feeling throughout the book. God was prominent throughout, but at the same time, to be blunt, He wasn’t overkill. At least, I never felt like He was. Definitely there, but not pushed down a person’s throat. The ending was terrific – this book is sad, like I said, but also amazing due to the redemption. I would recommend this to late teens and adults, men and women. It’s a good book, and not one you’ll forget in a hurry. **Litfuse sent me a free copy of this book as part of its blog tour. I wasn’t paid for this review, and wasn’t required to post positively.**
Review: Well written and easy to read, this book tells the story of losing a loved one and the grieving process. This particular book deals with drunk driving and the consequences of driving under the influence. Even more important, it deals with the subject of teen drunk driving, which is a problem in our society. Even though this book is Christian fiction, no doubt it is very real to many families.
Meg Richards is the young woman whose husband is killed by a drunk teen driver. She is full of bitterness and basically turns her back on God. “How can a God of love allow such a thing to happen?” She makes it her personal goal to destroy the young man responsible for her husband’s death. In addition, she receives news that she is expecting their first child within just a few hours of her husband’s death. This only adds fuel to her bitter spirit.
Ultimately she does destroy the young man. But God in His grace gives her an opportunity to save the young man and restore her own heart and faith in God. The author also introduces a character who is instrumental in Meg’s life. Nancy shows Meg that even though bad things happen, God is still on the throne and in control.
While I felt that the author dwelt on the “bitterness” side a little long, the ending was good. I appreciated the spotlight being put on the subject of teen drunk driving and how the decision of someone to drink and drive can have devastating and irreversible consequences. This is a book that is easy to recommend for reading.
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Darkness Before Dawn was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher, Abingdon Press in exchange for our honest review.
Ace Collins in his new book, "Darkness Before Dawn" published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of Meg Richards.
From the back cover: Will grief push Meg over the edge?
On the same night she discovers she is pregnant, twenty-eight-year-old nurse Meg Richards's husband is killed in an auto accident caused by a drunken teen. James Thomas comes from one of the most influential families in the community. He's a star athlete and glamour boy at the local high school. But the accident he caused will change his life--and Meg's future--forever.
Angered by her senseless loss and facing life as a single mother, Meg blames God for what has happened and considers a decision that could change her life even further. Enraged by the brutal trial and the court's decision, Meg starts down a frightening path of retribution. When the opportunity for revenge comes unexpectedly, will Meg follow through? Or will the remnants of her faith lead her in a different direction?
Ace Collins seems to understand the grief you go through when a spouse dies, especially under tragic and dramatic circumstances. It is difficult to receive the information from the police officer that your spouse has died in an accident caused by a drunk teenager and that the teenager survived. Meg looks to the courts for justice but is denied her closure. Now she wants revenge. There are characters in "Darkness Before Dawn" that want Meg to heal from this enormous pain she is carrying while there are others who want her to extract her revenge. The only One who is really going to be able to help her is God however her faith in Him has shut down. Mr. Collins throws in all kinds of sub-plots that keep the story moving briskly however the focus is on Meg. Through Mr. Collins' excellent writing skills we come to understand Meg and want her to be healed from her almost crushing pain. Mr. Collins has given us themes of devastating loss, revenge, and forgiveness and how we can deal with them. Does Meg extract her revenge? I am not going to tell you, you would not appreciate me if I did. You are just going to have to read this book. I guarantee you will really enjoy it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pump Up Your Book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Ace Collins' Darkness Before Dawn is a riveting page turning thriller and yet so heartfelt and touching.
Meg Richards life is shattered with the death of her husband. Not only does her husband die, but so does the faith in God she once shared with him. The only thing that keeps Meg going is her all consuming desire of revenge on her husbands killer, a drunk driver. Her husbands killer is a teenager, high school hero, and member of an affluent family. Once face to face with the killer at trial, will the verdict satisfy Meg or drive her overboard?
Within the first 100 pages, my jaw had dropped and I could not put the book down. Meg's pain regarding the loss of her husband's death was so raw because to her the loss was unnecessary. It was not a casual death but a murder. With the loss of her husband, came the loss of her faith in God. This loss of conviction enables her to vow to avenge her husband's death at all costs making her heartless and at times downright cruel. Her obsession with retribution and fantasizing about the killer's death sent chills while reading.
Her ruthless attitude alienated her from those she once loved including the patients she attends as a nurse. But there is a patient she can not seem to shake because this patient's faith is unshakable. Nancy's firm faith and patient love serve as a reminder that God is indeed in control something Meg does not want to hear or believe.
"She wants to experience life, even if it's painful, " Meg explained. The comparison between Nancy's situation and her own suddenly hit Meg full force. She didn't want to feel anything, but Nancy did. p.156
Dissatisfied with the justice system and even her own vigilante attempts at revenge, Meg realizes that there is indeed darkness before dawn. Meg's story left one grieving with this young widow and desiring her to find comfort in God all the while shocked at who she had become and what she was capable of. This story highlights the effects of one's sin on a person, the ability not to become a prisoner of bitterness by the possibility of finding hope, peace, and forgiveness in Jesus.
I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Litfuse in exchange for an independent and unbiased review
Once I started reading this book, I was gone, and could not put it down. I have read another book by this author, but he has outdone himself with this one. I am ready for more! Can put myself in Meg Richard's shoes, and can feel how that bitter hate would happen. She receives a call that no woman wants. Her young husband has been killed by a drunk driver! They had been looking at houses and had great plans for their lives, and she had the news to tell him, they were having a baby. Satan has a firm hold in this story, non-forgiveness, hate. If justice can not be done, she, Meg, will extract it! God has not forsaken her, even if she has him. He places people in her life, even when she at first rejects them, he continues. The story takes a lot of twist and turns, we have a DA more concerned about his life and political ambitions. We have a young Assistant DA, who is still grieving about loosing her Dad to a drunk drive, and wants revenge through Meg. We have dear friends and a Mother, who love Meg and want to help her, but she has frozen her heart. Then we have a cocky young man, the drunk teen, who killed Meg's husband, Jim Thomas. Ace has woven a page turning read, and when the story ended...I wanted more.
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Meg is a twenty-eight year old nurse who finds out her husband has been killed by a drunk teen driver – the same day she finds out she is pregnant. She soon comes to the point of being convinced someone needs to pay for her husband's death. The authorities rebuff her but she manages to find out who the driver was, the son of a wealthy and prominent judge. When it looks like his father's influence will once again let the popular high school athletic star escape responsibility for his actions, Meg is motivated for revenge. She thinks her husband's murder has changed her forever. She is no longer the woman she was.
Some 12,000 people are killed by drunk drivers each year (characters in the book remind us – more than once). And many never end up serving prison time. Hence, the plot for this novel.
Evil is a prominent theme in the book. Evil is destroying Meg's heart. And there is a parallel to the evil of cancer destroying a patient in the hospital, Nancy, whom Meg comes to like. Nancy refuses pain pills because she wants to experience all of life. Meg doesn't want to feel anything.
Nancy contributes an interesting argument about, if God is good, why is there evil in the world? God has not caused the cancer from which she is dying, Nancy says. God gave man control over the earth because he demanded it. Man invited evil to the earth and we have been suffering ever since.
This is a dark novel. Meg is bent on revenge for 87% of the book (ah, the joys of reading a digital edition). Granted, there is a redeeming end to the book. It was a transforming experience, as God's work is, but the rest of the book was hard for me to read. It was just dark. I wanted to quit, but had promised to read the book for this review.
And frankly, I did not think this novel was well written. There were sentences or descriptions that were unnecessary. For example, Meg is buying a yellow rose and the clerk says, “This one will only cost you $2.75 plus tax. Let me see, the total is $2.93.” That does not add to the plot or even the scene, at all. Here's another, “Meg walked the four feet to where Jan stood.” Four feet? That added nothing to the scene. I could give many more examples of odd additions to the text that seemed to be added only for word count, not to really move the novel along. This is certainly not Ace's best work. I have read others works by him and am a bit puzzled about this one. This book could have benefited from additional editing. And I am always intrigued when a male author writes a female lead character (or vice versa). That one presumes to know the opposite sex so well as to write their thoughts, well, that's quite a presumption. I don't think Ace got it right in this novel. I don't think we women would become the revengeful Meg. A man, maybe, but not a woman.
If you like to read a novel that is mostly about all the bad things a person bent on revenge wants to do, a novel where the person is transformed near the end, then this novel is for you.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from a publicity group for the purpose of this review.
Meg and Steve Richards were meant to be together. In many ways, their lives were just beginning. Steve had a good job. Meg was enjoying her nursing job and she was every patient’s favorite. Steve was rushing home early to begin celebrating their anniversary.
With one phone call, Meg’s whole world comes crashing down. Steve was killed by a drunk driver—a teenager who was used to his father, the Judge, getting him out of the trouble that he seemed to keep finding. The son of a powerful and influential Judge, James Thomas was the star athlete at the local high school. He had his life ahead of him.
Understandably, Meg was angry. She blamed God and began planning her own form of justice and retribution. Unashamed of what she has become, she begins to alienate those who care about her and push away those who can help her. Will Meg give in to her need for revenge, or will her faith in God resurface in time?
In “Darkness Before Dawn”, Ace Collins deals with some powerful emotions—intense emotions—grief and revenge. He also deals with an issue that is becoming more prevalent in our society—drunken driving and the failure of our justice system to find the right amount of justice to prevent it from happening again.
As I started reading, I wondered how this story could possibly end well. Then, as the story progressed, I couldn’t wait to see what Meg would eventually do. Would she destroy a young man’s life because of her grief? Could she do it? What difference would it make?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
When the still of the night is shattered by a phone call Meg Richards's life is shattered along with it! A drunk, reckless teenager caused an accident that destroyed her life by ending her husband's. After seeing the mangled remains that were her husband, Meg finds out that she is pregnant with their first and only child.
The pain and anger she feels are about to take her on a path of vengeance to destroy the life of selfish, self-centered teen who has daddy buy him out of trouble. If this path she has taken causes her to break ranks with God - that's God's problem and not hers!
In Meg's view no one can understand what she's going through and they need not make an effort and pretend they do. But Meg has changed even the patients she tends have noticed - she has become harsh, short, and even ignores them at times. But she can't lose her job so she makes an effort to put on a "good show" for the patients and the administration.
Meg is on a mission and when DA suggests that she settle Meg refuses to be "bought off". But the DA doesn't want to hurt his future political aspirations and turns the case over to an inexperienced Assistant DA - Cheryl Bednarz. But Cheryl, like Meg, is on a mission too and this case is one that she has been waiting years for.
But justice isn't all that Meg expected or hoped for so she determines to hand out her own. But hate is consuming her and turning her into a monster that everyone is avoiding. When her best friend asks what Steve would think of her now, Meg realizes that she's right but Meg knows if she allows her heart to care her campaign for justice would have to stop.
Can God's message reach Meg before it is too late for her and the "killer" of her husband or will her vengeance destroy them both and her unborn child? Will she exact revenge when given the chance or will she instead extend mercy and begin her climb out of the darkness into which she has fallen? For Meg Richards Darkness truly comes Before Dawn! Darkness Before Dawn looks at underage drinking, drunk driving, and the cost of bitterness and grief.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Ace Collins is rapidly moving his way up my list of favorite authors in a hurry! Everything I've read of his has been exceptional, life changing and worth talking about to anyone I can! The characters and situations he takes you to are places you hope you never have to visit but once there, you simply find yourself holding your breath waiting for the next page to be turned.
In his latest novel, Darkness Before Dawn, we meet Meg Richard's who receives the phone call we all had to get. Early in the morning, she is informed that her husband Steven, 28, was in a car accident and didn't make it. The van that hit him was filled with teenage boys that had been drinking and he was on his way home from working late when they hit him. Steven was trying to make it home so that they could spend their anniversary weekend together. They were just beginning a new life with one another, looking at buying their first home and now it was if God simply decided that Meg needed a different life than the one she had been planning on having.
She heads to the hospital to identify her husbands remains but is advised that she should avoid it. It seems the accident was pretty bad and his car caught fire. Her friends, at the hospital try to convince Meg that this isn't the way she wants to remember her husband, but somehow she feels until she can be absolutely sure it's him, there is a chance he might still be alive. The only thing she can manage to identify is his wedding ring. That's when Meg realizes that all her hopes and dreams have simply died. Her faith in God is over since she believes God is the one responsible for killing her husband. After all if God is so all powerful, He could have prevented the accident from happening. Coupled with all the prayers and condolences from well meaning family and friends, Meg has simply had enough.
She attempts to turn her grief into revenge and seeks out the person responsible for the accident. When most of her attempts to learn his identity, she finds out he is under age and is protected by law. The District Attorney is still going over the evidence to see if he can even prosecute the case since he has been turned over to his parents for the time being. Meg will stop at nothing to ensure that all the pain and grief she is having to deal with, will be poured out on the person responsible for Steven's death. On top of all this, she learns on the eve of his death, that all their efforts to have a child, means that Meg is now pregnant with their first child. Will she give up her faith or will she see how God can turn even this situation into something good in His own way?
I received Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. This novel floored me with all the emotions and intensity of what a wife would have to endure. In fact, I had to remind myself at times I was only reading a novel and now actually dealing with the situation myself. That's how real Ace involves his readers into his storyline. It's phenomenal! I couldn't put it down until I knew how this would all play out. I honestly felt I would have reacted much the same way Meg did and wondered where my faith would have played out in all of it as well. Another masterpiece in my opinion and one I would highly recommend if you're looking for a novel you can become a part of! This one hits home for me with a 5 out of 5 stars! We'd all like to say we'd handle things better than Meg does at first, but until you deal with a loss that great in an unexpected and 100% preventable way, then you find yourself testing your own faith in new ways you could never imagine!
By my count, “Darkness Before Dawn” marks book number 30 by author Ace Collins. That ranks him up there with some of the greatest writers of all time. I haven’t read every one of his books, but I can tell you that he definitely keeps getting better with each novel he writes.
The phone ringing in the middle of the night has always been associated with bad news. On this night, it’s no different for Meg as the ringing brings her out of a deep slumber. On the other end is a highway patrolman informing her that her husband has been in an accident and has been killed. As her loss begins to sink in, she’s informed that she’s pregnant with her first child. So begins a treacherous journey filled with revenge. Meg finds out that the other car was driven by a local teenager who was drunk at the time of the accident, and walked away without a scratch. To make matters worse, Meg finds out that he’s also the son of one of the judges in town. As her anger towards God, the teen and everyone around her grows, she turns into a dark, spiteful person that pushes everyone away. The DA doesn’t want the case, so he passes it down to one of his assistants. With her passion for prosecuting drunk drivers, Meg is sure that they will have a victory in court. As the trial date approaches, Meg becomes more and more agitated over the situation and sure that nothing will satisfy her except to see this teen rot in jail. Is he found guilty? Can his father buy his freedom again? Does the hatred consume Meg to the point of making major changes in her life without His input? All great questions that you will find out yourself once you, BUY THE BOOK!
It seems lately that I can’t get enough of Ace Collins. There aren’t many books, either, that I will admit to finish in a day. This book, though, grabbed me and never let go. I cried for Meg as she was told of her husband’s passing, and of her pregnancy. I was disgusted when the character of Jim, the teen boy, was introduced and how he carried himself. I even rooted for her during the trial in hopes that justice would be served. But I wasn’t prepared for my feelings at the culmination of the trial and there was still about a quarter of the book left to read. Ace dangled the characters and their emotions in front of me the whole book. I loved Meg, I hated her, I despised her, I rejoiced with her. All emotions that reminded me at what a great story-teller Ace has become in his writing.
Is this a "guy's book"? This book should be required reading for all high school students. They should teach a class around the effects of alcohol consumption and driving. They should use this book to read into the minds of not only the surviving relatives of a drunk driving incident, but also for those that think they can get behind the wheel and drive. This book has a lot of emotion to it, but enough raw honesty that any man should pick this book up.