Updated: Jun 29, 2019
—From the Author, Charlie Donlea
1. Two covers, two titles, same book
SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS (5/28/19 US) has a different cover and title than the Australian version. In Australia, the book was released as THE WOMAN IN DARKNESS (4/2/19 AU).
It’s the same book for those of you inquiring, and many of you have, hoping that I had put out yet another book in 2019. I wish I could write that fast but my last name is Donlea, not Patterson.
In the publishing world, different countries (and different publishers) warrant different titles and cover art to fit with their buyer audience. “Woman” in titles is still very popular in Australia, and so...a title change. (photo: left)
2. Two different covers for SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS
When a book is in development and a publishing house is starting its promotion, one of the first steps is to introduce the novel to booksellers to get their opinion on the synopsis, the logline, and the cover.
Especially the cover! The artwork that drapes the cover of a novel is a carefully plotted storyline all to itself. The cover is what draws a reader’s attention. It’s what gets a reader to grab the book off the shelf and read the cover flap. (first draft cover right)
So, the cover has to be perfect. It has to be eye-catching. It has to match the trends of the season. Or, better yet, it has to lead the charge.
The art department at my US publishing house had designed a fabulous cover for Some Choose Darkness before they nixed it after receiving negative feedback from booksellers.
For the record, I couldn’t be happier with the final cover (photo: left final cover). The booksellers love it, and so do I.
More on that below...
3. Chicago, IL
Some Choose Darkness is my first book set in Chicago, the city where I grew up. I had no plans to set the story in Chicago until I took a trip to my childhood neighborhood with my kids to show them the house where I was raised.
They were completely puzzled by the “small road” behind my childhood house and wanted to know all about this curious bit of urban architecture. (photo: bungalow right)
The small road was an alley, and when I realized my kids had no idea what they were or that they even existed, I knew I was going to set my next novel in the city of my youth (and give alleys a starring role).
More about this epiphany and my trip to the city in this blog post .
4. Starved Rock, IL
Starved Rock, Illinois is a State Park located 2 hours southwest of Chicago. It was voted the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois. With its towering trees, majestic waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails along the Illinois River, it’s a world apart from the urban setting of Chicago.
It plays a major role in Some Choose Darkness, and the two contrasting settings create a great atmosphere for the book. (blog post link)
In fact, the tranquil but chilling backdrop of Starved Rock plays such a significant role in the story that the amazing and clever cover design offers a snippet of the things that take place there.
Like a pebble dropped in a pond, the events that transpire in Starved Rock will create ripples that go on forever and ever...
Peoria is a city 2.5 hours southwest of Chicago. It's perched on the Illinois River and in addition to it's famous Grandview Drive in the heart of the bustling downtown area that looks out over the river valley, the surrounding county is also known for its rolling meadows, miles of cornfields, and farmhouses. Beautiful and majestic farmhouses.
The Illinois River links Peoria to Starved Rock, and both of these rural settings are perfect contradictions to the urban setting of Chicago that makes up most of the book.
5. Art Imitating Life (Imitating Art)
In Some Choose Darkness, a serial killer who stalked the streets of Chicago in 1979 is released from jail after spending forty years at Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison in Crest Hill, Illinois, not far from Chicago.
Because of public outcry (and outrage), the judge grants this “reformed” killer some leniency so that his whereabouts will not be made public upon his release.
After a friend read an early copy of Some Choose Darkness, he sent me a text alerting me to an eerily similar situation that was currently playing out in the Chicago media. Apparently, a serial killer who terrorized Chicago in the early 1980s was being released from Stateville Correction Center after spending nearly forty years in jail.
The exact whereabouts of his living arrangements had not been made public at the time of me writing this. The public is outraged.
Here is a link to the story.
I had no idea about this story before I started writing Some Choose Darkness. I actually spent a considerable amount of time talking with two lawyer friends to make sure it was possible for a convicted serial killer to find his way out of prison. Apparently, it is.
Sometimes coincidences are just too creepy to think about.
6. Forensic Reconstruction
Rory Moore is a forensic reconstructionist.
She reconstructs cold case homicides until she finds answers that the best detectives have missed.
To the best of my knowledge, this occupation doesn’t exist.
But man, it fits Rory and her uncanny abilities perfectly.
Her occupation goes hand-in-hand with her hobby of restoring damaged porcelain China dolls.
Both demand attention to detail, a bit of obsession and redundancy, and a mind that sees answers where everyone else sees questions.
More about Kestner Dolls
7. Mental Illness
Autism plays a major role in the novel. In the 1970s, autism was poorly understood.
It was often confused with schizophrenia and mental retardation.
This misconception weaves its way into the narrative and forces a main character to overcome stereotypes that have held her back her entire life.
8. Dark Lord Stout 3 Floyds.com
Rory Moore’s vice is a Russian-style Imperial Stout called Dark Lord.
It’s impossible to find craft beer produced by 3 Floyds Brewing Company in Munster, Indiana.
In real life, Dark Lord is available only one day a year — on Dark Lord Day — when 3 Floyds holds a ticketed tasting event at the brewery. Tickets sell out in minutes, and are scalped for hundreds of dollars.
Rory Moore, of course, has other means of obtaining the beer she loves. They involve the creepy China dolls she restores and some bartering.
9. Murder Accountability Project MurderData.org
In Some Choose Darkness, Rory Moore is part of the Murder Accountability Project—a company that uses a computer algorithm to track down serial killers.
By looking for trends in homicides from around the country, the algorithm finds similarities in homicides in order to identify a pattern of killing.
There is a real-life Murder Accountability Project that is responsible for identifying serial killers, including some that have been tracked down, tried, and convicted. One famous case was from Gary, Indiana, just south of Chicago. Recently, the algorithm has picked up on similarities in killings around Chicago, too, and it is suspected that there may be a serial killer on the loose. Here is the link to the article.
Thomas Hargrove is the founder and CEO of the Murder Accountability Project, and I’m grateful that he took my calls when I was researching this book, and donated his time to explain what he does. He made it into the acknowledgments.
10. Great Aunt, Old Lady, Friend
Some Choose Darkness is dedicated to my great-aunt, Cecilia A. Donat. Aunt Ceil had ten great-nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. I was proud to be one of them and to have gained her wisdom (and sass) during my youth.
If a more independent woman existed on this planet, I never met her. Aunt Ceil lived until she was ninety-seven years old. I called her “old lady” every time we had a visit, and she loved it.
Rory Moore calls her great aunt the same thing.
Charlie Donlea is the USA Today and International bestselling author of Summit Lake, The Girl Who Was Taken and Don't Believe It. His fourth novel, Some Choose Darkness to be released May 28, 2019. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages across fifteen countries. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two young children. More about Charlie
On Sale Now! Buy the Book
PRAISE for SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS
Named one of the most anticipated thrillers of Summer 2019
“Donlea’s cinematic style puts readers squarely into the scenes, and his skillful prose takes his work to a higher level.”
—NY Journal of Books
"The anxiety and deep cleansing breaths will be a must with this serial killer thriller."
“In Donlea's skillful hands, this story of obsession, murder, and the search for truth is both a compassionate character study and a compelling thriller.”
“Donlea smoothly mixes red herrings and genuine clues...readers who relish a good puzzle will be rewarded.”
“Part 1970s serial-killer thriller and part contemporary Chicago crime novel, this deceptively quick read has something for everyone.” —Booklist
“A harrowing ride full of twists and turns.”