Book Spotlight and Review: Darkness Hides by JC Gatlin #murdermystery @SunburyPress

An open book with rays and orbs of light shooting from the pages

Happy August! I have a new guest visiting today with a compelling release. JC Gatlin is a Sunbury Press author who has brought along his latest book, Darkness Hides. A hurricane, an estranged sister relationship, a body in the Gulf—I was hooked as soon as I read the blurb! And isn’t that cover great?

I hope you’ll share your thoughts with JC in the comments, and look for my review at the end of the post!


Someone she knows is watching.

Someone she knows is stalking.

And something hides in the darkness.

Twelve months ago, a violent injury ended Kate Park’s career with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Now she’s returning home to her little beach town and teaching boat safety classes while her body heals. Maybe she’ll even mend the estranged relationship with her caustic younger sister. But time is running out. 

As the Florida West Coast braces for an approaching Category 4 hurricane, Kate uncovers a corpse in the churning Gulf waters. Then another. And another. It’s no longer her job to get involved, but she can’t help investigating. And the clues reveal all three victims have one thing in common: a connection to her sister.

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, she confronts her bitter sibling and faces a childhood better left buried with the bodies washing ashore. To unravel the threads of this mystery is to come to a frightful realization.

Run from the water.

Hide from the wind.

Flee from the shadows where a weeper seeks revenge.


Author JC Gatlin

JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes mystery novels that include sunny Florida locales and quirky locals as characters. His last novel, H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word, won the coveted Florida Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Mystery in 2019. He is active in the Florida Writer’s Association and is a board member on the Florida Writer’s Foundation, a charity organization that fights illiteracy.  Learn more at


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you, Sunbury Press and Milford House Press, for my ARC.

Wow, there’s a lot going on in this book! Kate, and her sister Elise have not spoken for over a year, following the death of Elise’s five-year-old son, Noah. Kate, a former Fish and Wildlife Commission officer, who was shot in the line of duty, is on loan to the local police department, but determined to return to her old job. Her current boyfriend is an environmental activist, battling a condo developer over the potential destruction of a historic lighthouse. Her old boyfriend, the lead singer in a band, shows up unexpectedly (no, this is NOT a romance novel, so put those fears aside), her boss’s wife is pregnant, one month shy of delivering, and oh—there just happens to be a category 4 hurricane sitting off the Florida Gulf Coast. 

Add a missing person’s case, which soon turns into murder, then several murders and you’ve got a cauldron ready to boil over. Suspense, family dynamics, action/thriller—it’s all here. But the most compelling aspect is a truly complex murder mystery. Although I did finger the killer correctly before the end, the motive caught me completely by surprise. The author did an excellent job of juggling multiple plot threads while throwing out enough red herrings to make me second guess myself more than once. 

There were several characters I didn’t really care for—including one who I should have felt sympathy for—but who instead grated on my nerves. With a capital G! That said, Kate, as the central character had the strength to carry the novel. I especially liked her relationship with her boss, Trace, and her attachment to her rescue animals. The climatic scenes leading up to Hurricane Sebastian making landfall and during the storm itself had me madly swiping pages on my Kindle. There were a couple minor threads that didn’t ring true for me and some repetition that could have been avoided, but overall, this was an engrossing story. If you enjoy a good murder mystery layered with plenty of suspense, Darkness Hides will keep you riveted. I’m already scoping out other titles by this author.

89 thoughts on “Book Spotlight and Review: Darkness Hides by JC Gatlin #murdermystery @SunburyPress

  1. You’re right about that cover. A lot going on in this story – and you know I latched onto the rescued animal detail. I agree with Priscilla about annoying characters getting what’s coming to them, lol. Nice review, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rescue animals are used so well in this book, Teri. And they’re unusual….a squirrel and an owl that end up being joined by a dog.

      There was SO MUCH happening in this story. I was amazed how the author pulled it all together at the end, including the thread with the character who annoyed me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The rescue animals were definitely my favorite characters to write. Kate Parks (the protagonist) is inspired by a Florida Fish & Wildlife Officer who had adopted quite a few rescue animals, including a hawk that couldn’t fly and a one-armed racoon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lady Tessa. I couldn’t agree more about escalating tension with an approaching storm. I’d been wanting to write a story about a hurricane for years and once I had the characters in place, the story just came together. I can’t wait for you to read it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love when an author weaves a weather event into their plot, and JC did an excellent job with Darkness Hides, Tessa. The ending, especially, was a nail biter with the hurricane creating havoc along with the killer!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That cover is a grabber. The story sounds like a winner, too, Kate has an interesting job and both sisters have enough backstory to keep things interesting. And who doesn’t like dead bodies washing up in a mystery? With a hurricane coming no less. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for checking out the review, Sandra! 🙂

      Raven just had a wellness check at the vet so she was not a happy camper that day, LOL. Fortunately all is good now, and she’s her usual lovable self. Hope all is okay in your part of the woods! 🙂


    • For the most part, I’m not a fan of romance either, Peachy. Every now and then I don’t mind a light romance in a story, but for the most part I prefer it to be a secondary thread to the main plot!

      Liked by 1 person

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