Darling Jim opens with a triple murder—a woman is found beaten in the head downstairs in her house in Dublin, while two younger women are found upstairs, starved to death. There are signs that a third person has been present. Later, a young postal employee finds one of the younger women’s diary in the dead-letter bin; reading it, he begins to piece together the shocking circumstances of the three women’s deaths, starting with an itinerant, seductive storyteller named Jim.
The opening of this novel is written kind of like a newspaper article. It gets interesting when Niall finds the notebook, and even more so when Fiona, Aoife, and Riosin’s stories take over. I couldn’t ever figure out why Niall was so determined to discover what happened to the Walsh sisters, other than the discovery of the diary. It was a bit hard for me to really understand why Jim was such a beguiling character; he just wasn’t as well portrayed as the Walshes were, or even Niall. And the sisters were too disparate, too stereotypical, to be believable (one’s the brain, one’s the Goth, one’s the hippy). But other than that, this is a strongly, darkly emotional story, likeable for the most part, and with a twisted, riveting plot that will keep you reading through the end.
Also reviewed by: Reading With Monie, A Work in Progress, Foreign Circus Library, Bookopolis