Review: The Dark Before Dawn by Laurie Stevens

dark before dawnThe Dark Before Dawn (Gabriel McRay #1)
written by Laurie Stevens
published by Follow Your Dreams Productions

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I enjoy mysteries. This murder mystery was highly rated on Goodreads so I gave it a shot.

Did I enjoy this book:
I loved it. I couldn’t put it down!

The Dark Before Dawn is a complex, engaging murder mystery. It is written in a classic 3rd person style throughout. I like that Laurie Stevens avoids some of the trends of many contemporary authors where each chapter speaks from a different character’s point of view (think – Jodi Picoult style).

I also like that she didn’t follow the trend of murder mysteries being so over the top sexually perverse and gruesome that it gives you nightmares. In my humble opinion an example would be Stieg Larson with his popular The Girl with the Golden Tatoo like books.

Laurie Stevens sticks to the basics allowing her story to engage the reader with suspense and plot twists that keep you guessing until the last page.

The main character, Gabriel, is an LA cop on the edge. His psychiatrist suspects PTSD stemming from some repressed memory. Gabriel’s psychological mysteries are juxtaposed against the murder mystery he’s investigating. The two become intertwined leaving us with chapter after chapter of “whodunit” moments.

Overall, the suspense is as high as the California mountains. The plot twists and winds like the streets of San Francisco. And finally, the climax is hits you like a splash of ice cold northern Pacific water. (If you’re wondering, “What was she drinking when she wrote this?” Read the book, it’ll all make sense.)

5 & 1/2 stars!

5 & 1/2 stars!


Would I recommend it: Absolutely. It’s a great book.

Will I read it again: I will not. Once you know the ending of a murder mystery, it kind of ruins the prospect of a second reading.


About the book – from Goodreads: High in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles, grisly murders are taking place. On each of the victim’s bodies a note is left for L.A. Sheriff’s detective, Gabriel McRay. The killer’s identity is locked in the suppressed memory of a horrifying trauma from Gabriel’s own childhood. Teamed with his forensic pathologist girlfriend and his pyschiatrist, Gabriel runs two parallel investigations. The first: a dark journey into the terrifying recollections of his past and the second, the hunt for a serial killer who seems to know more about Gabriel… than he knows himself.




  1. […] Dawn, so I wanted to read the next book in the series. Read my review of The Dark Before Dawn here. Did I enjoy this book: It was […]