Darkness the Color of Snow
Thomas Cobb
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Buy *Darkness the Color of Snow* by Thomas Cobbonline

Darkness the Color of Snow
Thomas Cobb
William Morrow
304 pages
August 2015
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Trouble shadows Sheriff’s Deputy Ronny Forbert and arrives with a vengeance as he makes a traffic stop on a remote highway. The four young men in the vehicle are all familiar to Ronny. The driver (and leader) Matt Laferiere is a former high school friend, the kind of rebellious teen who courts the lonely and disaffected. Admittedly Forbert was attracted to Laferiere and the others for a while, “bad boys” looking for trouble after dark. Son of an alcoholic with few friends, Ronny flirted for a while with his attraction to Matt and the crew, but when a prank brings the boys in conflict with the law, Ronny is first to agree to a compromise to keep the boys’ records clean. His decision that night alienates Forbert from Matt and the others, but the attention of Lydell Police Chief Gordy Hawkins offers another direction, one that leads to his job. The chief’s generosity changes the direction of Forbert’s life.

Now the confrontation with the speeding vehicle is charged with old grudges the moment Ronnie approaches the occupants. The passengers are obviously drunk, the smell of weed permeating the car, but Matt refuses to cooperate. Never his intention, Forbert is forced to arrest an aggressive Laferiere. The encounter turns dangerous when Matt resists, rage and resentment fueled by drink. A simple traffic stop turns tragic as fate strikes a blow, a series of events escalating the unfolding drama, an accident turned cause célèbre in a toxic mix of bad circumstances, poor judgment, and politics.

The weight of snow upon the land, the burden of regret for past mistakes and the charged emotions of residents create the perfect storm. Forbert’s part puts him directly in the crosshairs of those eager for a cause. In spite of demands for immediate action against his officer, Chief Hawkins follows protocol, the investigation going exactly as expected. Forbert is put on temporary suspension, assured his job is secure. The young officer’s only mistake was minor, everything other action by the book. In a town where everyone knows one another’s business and histories, Lydell has also bred its share of ambitious men thirsty for power. Distraught parents, vulnerable to rumors of cover-up and conspiracy, fall victim to the self-serving advice of those with another agenda, townsfolk inflamed by talk of guilt and blame, the city in legal jeopardy, hysteria a substitute for grief and loss.

Cobb’s poignant story is told in alternating chapters of then and now, the experiences of Ronny Forbert and Gordy Hawkins, a troubled young man and a sheriff who performs his duties conscientiously. Forbert tries to make sense of the current situation and the lies circulating about him, remembering the days when Matt included him in the group, their break coming when he was offered another alternative in the person of Sheriff Hawkins. Everything is now threatened by circumstances beyond his control. Gordy ruminates on the past as well, his loneliness since the death of his wife, a brief affair that caused unnecessary pain, the years spent doing Lydell’s business with pride. Concerned about Ronny, Hawkins navigates an increasingly hostile environment exacerbated by the machinations of a wily enemy, steadfastly refusing to compromise the integrity of his office.

Buried under acres of snow that blanket the landscape, the ugly heart of deceit lies buried, born of a poisoned relationship between two young men and the efforts of a powerful foe using tragic circumstances to achieve his goal. Darkness the Color of Snow is a bleak, hard tale, the world indifferent to a young man’s hopes but granting solace to another for meeting life’s challenges with grace and dignity.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2015

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