“Darkness First: A McCabe and Savage Thriller” (Book 3)

Darkness First
Available on Amazon

I’m enjoying this exciting thriller series by James Hayman. Book three, Darkness First: A McCabe and Savage Thriller, did not disappoint. Once again Michael McCabe and Maggie Savage are drawn into a bizarre murder mystery.

This time it’s personal for Maggie and she returns to her roots in Washington County, DownEast Maine. An old friend of Maggie’s, Dr. Emily Kaplan, is savagely attacked. Shortly after a young stranger arrives at her clinic and then flees in fear, Emily follows her in an attempt to help her. The girl is brutally murdered, and Emily is almost killed. Thus, begins a story that revolves around the drug Oxycontin, an issue that is currently a problem. Maggie’s father is the sheriff and when he calls her to inform her of what’s happened, she hurries to Machias. Soon Maggie’s brother becomes a suspect in the murder of the stranger.

This story has wonderful twists and turns. The characters are very well-developed and even seemingly insignificant players stand out. I particularly liked the 11-year old girl, sister of the murder victim, who may know who the killer is. Hayman does a wonderful job of following her actions and inner thoughts; a precocious young girl who has experienced sadness and is somewhat removed from other kids her age.

As usual, the crimes are vicious, and Maggie calls Michael for help. There is a growing sense of interdependence between these two. It’s obvious they are attracted to one another, but they resist temptation due to Michael’s involvement with another woman and the fact that he is her superior.

With Maine State Police in charge of the investigation, Maggie is relegated to the back burner. However, her friend was attacked, her brother is a suspect, and she is familiar with the area. Maggie is not one to walk away. And Michael is not one to let her take on the challenge of solving a major violent crime without his help.

There are plenty of suspects and I was pretty far into the story before I focused on my prime suspect. Even then I had moments of indecision. The conclusion of this book was so intense I was almost biting my acrylic nails. The villain is so reprehensible I couldn’t wait for justice to be served.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am already mourning its end. Please, Mr.Hayman, don’t stop writing about McCabe and Savage!


“The mutilated body of a young woman. The town doctor lying comatose in the road. A hundred and fifty tablets of Canadian OxyContin. This is the havoc that a merciless killer has wreaked on a sleepy Maine seaport.

As detectives Maggie Savage and Michael McCabe investigate, they realize the man they are after does not exist. Nobody knows his real name. Nobody has seen his face. But everybody fears his blade.

The only one who may know the murderer’s true identity is an eleven-year-old girl—who has vanished into thin air.

Taut, twisting, and starring two unforgettable heroes, Darkness First will thrill fans of John Sandford and C. J. Box.”

James Hayman

jAMES hAYMANJames Hayman on Amazon

Author Website/Blog

James Hayman on Book Bub



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