Off the Dark Ledge


PSYCHOLOGICAL:  From the outside looking in Stacy Linde has it all: a husband whose successful career allows her to stay home with their two adorable children, a lovely home in an affluent beach community in Florida, and neighbors who are also good friends. Secrets unearthed after her mother’s sudden death undermine everything Stacy thought she knew about her family history and jeopardize her superficially idyllic life. 

 “Off the Dark Ledge” starts with a flashback, and then jumps to a present-day scene typical of many women’s fiction stories, which is cleverly misleading. This novel of psychological suspense slowly unfolds as Stacy unravels. At one point she thinks, “Grief is like the ocean, crashing in waves and ebbing.” Narrative momentum of this tautly-paced thriller pushes and pulls the reader into Stacy’s sense of being stalked by shadowy people and events from her past. Angie Gallion masterfully conveys themes of grief for lives lost to trauma, time, and death. 

In addition to being a compelling mystery, Stacy’s ordeal examines issues of effective mental health diagnosis and treatment, substance abuse, and the stigma still attached to needing and getting help for them. A jarring rationalization of Stacy’s husband’s firmly established pattern of questionable behavior is the only clunky note in an otherwise satisfying concluding crescendo. All of that and more, including timely pop culture references and describing the gilded cage of privilege make “Off the Dark Ledge” a juicy tale that could have been the result of collaboration between Gillian Flynn, Dean Koontz, and Alfred Hitchcock. 

Cardyn Brooks