While exploring darkness in others, be careful not to expose your own.
Before she can get a lead on one crime, however, the bodies start piling up and Alicia, better known as Berg, finds herself the unexpected target of the very same legal system she has dedicated her life to.
While simultaneously under attack from a formidable past, an enemy that seems to know too much, and a conniving killer, Berg is forced to confront her own darkness: her obsessive need to track down killers at the expense of everything else in her life; her increasing craving for violence just to feel normal; and her potentially devastating feelings for her partner, the charming and handsome Detective Inspector Jay O’Loughlin.
The more Berg works her original case, the more she learns about the sheer viciousness of the trucker’s past, and the more she questions if his murderer should even be punished by a justice system that only seems determined to free the guilty. When she also finds herself sympathizing with a sadistic butcher exacting revenge for a decades-old crime, she realizes the most dangerous secret of all might just be her own state of mind.
While Berg struggles with her morality, a killer is determined to recruit her and use her for a devastating end game.
As Berg’s carefully constructed life falls apart and she struggles to maintain a grip on reality, she faces a choice: surrender to the evil inside or finally acknowledge the brutal past she would rather bury.
The Enemy Inside is the first in the Edge of Darkness series, which challenges the concept of justice, asks if vengeance sometimes justifies murder, and explores whether you can ever heal from a broken past.
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My review of THE ENEMY INSIDE 4.5 stars
Detectives Jay O’Loughlin and Alicia Raymond are assigned by their superior, Captain Leigh, to investigate the murder of a truck driver who was also a habitual sex offender. Soon there are more murdered truckers and the pair race to find some thread leading back to the killer. Their intense investigation takes place against a back drop of political pressure/intimidation and personal crises creating a compulsive read.
THE ENEMY INSIDE is dark, raw and not for the faint of heart or stomach. As fascinating as the whodunnit is, Berg and Jay are equally interesting. While THE ENEMY INSIDE is a dark read there’s a strong undercurrent of hope as it showcases the strength of kindness, caring, and resilience of the human spirit.
Alicia Raymond, better known as Berg short for Iceberg, is one seriously damaged woman. Berg hurts herself or has others do it via dangerous anonymous sex attempting to stop the inner pain that refuses to go away. The guilt and shame afterwards only adds strength to the inner voice telling her how worthless she is. Berg is in a vicious destructive cycle, fighting daily to retain a semblance of normality.
Jay O’Loughlin is Berg’s partner. Promiscuous serial dater he’s never with one woman for long. Jay too is haunted by his past and while painful, it didn’t hold a candle to Berg’s demons.
While Jay and Berg are partners they aren’t friends nor are they particularly close. Berg has raised avoidance and isolation to an art form rebuffing all of Jay’s after work friendship overtures. The dynamics of their partnership and personal interactions change drastically when Jay accidentally discovers Berg’s hidden life, revealing his true character in response. Both begin to feel a flicker of hope and potential they never thought possible. Learning more about each character, their background, personal battles, and growth is as absorbing as the mystery.
The first victim is introduced before his death. That old Southern saying, “Your honor, he needed killing.” was my first thought when his body was found. Harsh but true. The murders are brutal, creative, and well planned. You get a sense of calculation and icy hatred. Ms. Skye doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of life and does an excellent job illustrating the fine lines and shades of grey involved when it comes to truth, justice, and vengeance.
THE ENEMY INSIDE is multi-dimensional and engages the reader in numerous ways. The plot is complex, keeping you engaged and on your toes with numerous twists and turns. The quest for the killer is engrossing and tense but isn’t the only source of tension.
The politics in the police department and political aspirations of Chief Consiglio often seem to come at the cost of truth and justice; very frustrating. Berg’s constant battle against the darkness had me edgy and pulling for her. The partnership between Jay and Berg as well as their interactions with the other detectives in the department are believable and also a source of stress. Consiglio has it out for Jay and Berg riding Captain Leigh about them on an almost daily basis.
Sherlock Holmes said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”, so I didn’t even attempt to hazard a guess regarding the killer until the chapters were in the thirties. Then a sentence clicked and my brain went ninety to nothing. It was gratifying to discover I’d guessed correctly.
The ending was unpredictable, a huge plus but also annoying, satisfying, and slightly chilling. I can’t wait for the next book.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism and studying Psychology at Charles Sturt University, Vanessa got a job at Rural Press—Australia’s largest publisher of regional and agricultural news and information—where she worked as a journalist in the Central West of NSW for four years.
Thousands of stories later, Vanessa decided to move back to Sydney and try her hand at public relations while studying a Master of Arts in Communication.
Skip forward a few years and Vanessa once again found herself joyfully studying various psychology subjects while managing a Sydney public relations firm. Enthralled with examining the motivations behind people’s actions, Vanessa realized what she really wanted to do in life was combine her love of words with her fascination for human behavior.
So Vanessa quit public relations to begin the significantly more impoverished life of a professional writer.
Inspired by a recurring dream, Vanessa wrote her crime fiction debut, The Enemy Inside, which challenges the concept of justice, asks if the need for vengeance sometimes justifies murder, and explores whether you can ever heal from childhood abuse. The second book in this series, Broken, will be released in 2014. In her spare time, Vanessa wrote a short story, The Piece, which was published in February 2012 by Dark Prints Press as a part of the One That Got Away dark fiction anthology.
Vanessa now works as a freelance writer, lives in Sydney’s northern beaches, and tries to immerse herself in salt water at least once a day.