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‘A Flicker in the Dark’, Compelling Psychological Thriller

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Charleston Native Stacy Willingham Strikes a Nerve with Her Debut Release

Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer

Twenty years removed from a traumatic event that tore her idyllic family apart Chloe Davis is re-living the past in the current news cycle. Has she managed to suppress her tragic childhood recollections, or are they continually bubbling under the surface, easily awakened when a similar dreadful disturbance triggers her memories, or worse when a reporter wants to mark the 20th anniversary of Chloe’s horrific past?

While many first-time authors may deliver a double or even a triple with their freshman release, Charleston native Stacy Willingham has scored a homerun with her debut novel ‘A Flicker in the Dark‘. It’s a gripping 356-page turner that’s hard to put down. Willingham’s book garnered so much early attention prior to its January 2022 release, Oscar winning actress Emma Stone secured the story, with plans to adapt for a future HBO Max series.

Upon discovering her father was a local serial killer, 12-year Chloe and her 15-year-old brother Cooper became more defensive, and somewhat loners in their small town of Breaux Bridge Louisiana especially since their mother checked out emotionally as well. College life couldn’t come quick enough for Chloe, a chance to escape the dark cloud that’s dogged the family ever since her father’s guilty plea led to his imprisonment. 

Had casual sex, recreational drugs, and alcohol helped drown the guilt she’d been carrying for a several years. Did she decide to obtain a degree in PHD in psychology and open her own practice so she could help young girls escape similar abusive situations from dominant male figures. Or did she become a licensed practitioner and gravitate towards a relationship with a pharmaceutical rep only to provide herself access to medications to combat her frequent panic attacks.

With so many unique characters and plot twists introduced in ‘A Flicker in the Dark’, readers are taken down so many potential dark paths. As Chloe’s brother Cooper says, ‘how often do we really know anyone’. Has Chloe been living lie? Is she naturally drawn to the emotionally disturbed? Many scenarios abound in Willingham’s novel.

Willingham may be a writer, but she paints wonderfully with words. Whether she is describing gruesome details of a murder scene, an unkempt dilapidated household, or the aftermath of a one-night stand. If ‘A Flicker in the Dark’ is any indication of Stacy Willingham’s writing prowess than she will have a long and healthy career. Word is she’s already working on her second novel. Stay tuned!

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