Synopses & Reviews
A modern gothic novel of suspense that reveals, through their diaries, the story of sisters who fall in love with a beguiling stranger, and of the town that turns a blind eye to his murderous ways
When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post offices dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story hes ever heard—and her tale has only just begun.
Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding itinerant storyteller Jim, who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic narratives. Captivated by Jim, townspeople across Ireland thought it must be a sad coincidence that horrific murders trailed him wherever he went—and they failed to connect that the young female victims, who were smitten by the newest bad boy in town, bore an all too frightening similarity to the victims in Jims own fictional plots.
The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to one another, were not immune to “darling” Jims powers of seduction, but found themselves in harms way when they began to uncover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth—and for the vanished third sister—while theres still time. And in the woods, the wolves from Jims stories begin to gather.
"Like the itinerant Irish storyteller at the crux of this riveting novel, Danish-born author Moerk mixes mythology, Arthurian legend, fairy tales, noir and horror in his American debut. When reclusive Moira Hegarty and her two nieces, Fiona and Risn Walsh, are found dead in Moira's secluded home in a Dublin suburb, evidence suggests the sisters were imprisoned for months by their aunt, along with a third person, perhaps Risn's twin sister. The young women left behind two diaries, one of which a postal clerk finds. Three years before, they fell under the spell of Jim Quick, a sanachai (or bard), whose tales of wolves and kings gave him rock star status in the sleepy town of Castletownbere. Only the Walsh sisters appear to have seen beyond the charm of 'darling Jim,' whose presence coincides with several women's murders. Moerk tightly meshes each separate plot strand the murders, the diaries and Quick's tales into an enthralling story that never falters. Author tour. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Spellbinding. . . Aglow with fairy-tale inflections, this hypnotic, neo-Gothic suspense story unfolds like a hothouse bloom, lush and pungent; its a sprig of nightshade, all petals and poison. And it heralds the arrival of an astonishingly gifted storyteller. . . Sly, wry and utterly original.”—Daniel Mallory, The Washington Post
“Gripping.”—John Searles on NBCs Weekend Today, “Ten must-read books for spring” segment
“Moerk, a former film executive, would do very well carrying on the seanchaí tradition in any dark, cozy Irish pub. He weaves a creepy, entertaining, sometimes outlandish tale about the perils of loving the wrong guy. A chilling bedtime story for adults.”—People (three stars)
“Christian Moerk . . . writes the best novel I've read in more than a year. . . I recommend this exotic book to all readers - not as ‘just a mystery but as a superb and inventive literary tour-de-force.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer (
The widely acclaimed debut novel—about three sisters, three tales, and a very dark secret—thats a “chilling bedtime story for adults.”—People (three stars)
Fiona Walsh thought her familys secrets would follow her to her grave, but when her diary is found by a young postman, Niall, the truth about her untimely demise—and that of her sister and aunt—begins to see the light of day. Its the most tragic love story hes ever heard.
Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding Jim—an itinerant storyteller who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic sagas—though a trail of murder followed him wherever he went. The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to each other, were not immune to “darling” Jims powers of seduction, but found themselves in harms way when they began to uncover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth—and for the vanished third sister—while theres still time.
And in the woods, the wolves from Jims stories begin to gather.
About the Author
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Christian Moerk moved to Vermont in his early twenties. After getting his MS in journalism at Columbia University, he was a movie executive for Warner Bros. Pictures and later wrote about film for The New York Times. Darling Jim is his first novel published in America. He lives in Brooklyn.