A Step Past Darkness

A Novel

by Vera Kurian

On Sale: 02/20/2024

A Step Past Darkness

Enlarge Book Cover

A Step Past Darkness

A Novel

by Vera Kurian

On Sale: 02/20/2024


About the Book


There’s something sinister under the surface of the idyllic, suburban town of Wesley Falls, and it’s not just the abandoned coal mine that lies beneath it. The summer of 1995 kicks off with a party in the mine where six high school students witness a horrifying crime that changes the course of their lives.

The six couldn’t be more different.
  • Maddy, a devout member of the local megachurch
  • Kelly, the bookworm next door
  • James, a cynical burnout
  • Casey, a loveable football player
  • Padma, the shy straight-A student
  • Jia, who’s starting to see visions she can’t explain

When they realize that they can’t trust anyone but each other, they begin to investigate what happened on their own. As tensions escalate in town to a breaking point, the six make a vow of silence, bury all their evidence, and promise to never contact each other again. Their plan works – almost.

Twenty years later, Jia calls them all back to Wesley Falls—Maddy has been murdered, and they are the only ones who can uncover why. But to end things, they have to return to the mine one last time.

Critical Praise

One of the Year's Most Anticipated Crime Fiction Reads: CrimeReadsCriminal ElementBookRiotThe Real Book Spy
A Step Past Darkness is a tour de force of genre blending that delivers everything you could want in a novel: a mind-bending mystery, a charming team of ragtag outcasts, a romance to root for, a brilliant sendup of small-town politics and prejudices, and even a mine pulsing with dark magic. This book is fearless, unbound by space or time and willing to break rules and tackle hard, important questions. It will blow every expectation readers have out of the water (and I can’t wait to watch). Utterly gripping and original.”
– Ashley Winstead, author of Midnight Is the Darkest Hour

"Through flashbacks and the gang’s emotionally powerful reunion, Kurian draws readers in, invoking strong Goonies vibes. Here, as in her debut, Never Saw Me Coming, Kurian creates unforgettable characters, breathless suspense, and original plotting. A must-read for fans of C. J. Tudor and Jennifer McMahon." Booklist, starred review

"Kurian is back with another crackerjack premise." —CrimeReads

“A great psychological thriller, with well-written characters, a story that fills in all the gaps, with then and now….This is one you will want to keep reading.” Red Carpet Crash

“Done with panache and wit. I devoured this riveting book through a day of travel — in a taxi, at the T.S.A. checkpoint, on the plane, in the next taxi — and into the night. My desire to rush to the end clashed with my desire to savor every word. Who would be the last psychopath standing?” New York Times Book Review

"This bar-raising debut exposes the gray areas in an often misunderstood disorder and defies readers to root against psychopathic antiheroes. Kurian’s highly anticipated thriller will undoubtedly lead fans of Gone Girl, Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, and Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels to hope for Chloe’s return.” – Booklist, Starred Review

“Fun, entertaining, and hard to put down, a twisty whodunit with a satisfying conclusion.” – New York Journal of Books

"Utterly gripping." – The Sunday Telegraph

"Fresh, fast-paced and fiendishly clever! If you love watching true crime and wonder about the psychopaths among us, this is the book for you! Never Saw Me Coming will have you never sleeping again." – Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“[A] razor-sharp, clever-as-can-be whodunit in which absolutely no one can be trusted.” – Newsweek

"Stick a bunch of devious psychopaths together and what could possibly go wrong? Find out in Never Saw Me Coming, a completely original, clever whodunit from a talented new arrival to the world of psychological suspense. Vera Kurian is one to watch!"  – Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Mrs.

“Clever… prepare to buckle your seatbelt.” – Mystery Scene Magazine

“Gripping! With a college campus setting, charming psychopaths, and a bitingly clever voice, Never Saw Me Coming is a dazzling debut from a bold new talent.” –Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Shape of Night

"An audacious, break-the-mould thriller from a new voice." – Red Magazine

“Extraordinarily entertaining… yoga pants noir.” – CrimeReads 

"Welcome to your new problematic fave. I fell in love with self-confessed psychopath Chloe on page one, and even as she plotted murder, found myself cheering her on. Perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes and CJ Skuse." – Erin Kelly, bestselling author of Broadchurch, a novelization of the award-winning TV show -

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780778310761
  • ISBN 10: 0778310760
  • Imprint: Park Row
  • On Sale: 02/20/2024
  • Pages: 448
  • List Price:37.00 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Thrillers / Supernatural
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense

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