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.