top of page

Book Review: “In Another Light” illuminates the darkness of grief

This isn't your momma's usual thriller. A.J. Banner's latest release "In Another Light" is yet another masterful thriller for the author, out in October.

Readers follow Phoebe, a mortuary cosmetologist, amid her never-ending grief after her husband and daughter were killed in a car crash three years ago. While Phoebe's life is now a quiet observance of her past, her life upends itself when the body of a woman named Pauline Steele arrives at the mortuary.

There is no denying it once Phoebe looks at Pauline–the woman could be Phoebe's twin and bears a familiar tattoo. On top of their resemblance, Phoebe discovers a faded photo of herself among Pauline's things–sending her on a journey into the life and death of her doppelganger. Revelations unearthed, secrets uncovered, and Phoebe's past is cracked wide open by the lies her husband, friends–and even herself created.

From the first page, "In Another Light" absolutely astounds with Phoebe's palpable grief and hope. The frighteningly realistic suffering Phoebe experiences and the wayward actions she takes resulting from her grief are a reminder of grief's vastness and the manifestations it can take on. Banner masters the art of going beyond the thriller genre to weave a fascinating–yet dark–story of a mother's grief with the heart-pounding essence of a thriller.

Banner is the master of unreliable narrators, and Phoebe doesn't disappoint. Banner's false sense of security asserts that the first half of the novel forces readers to question their sanity and hearts as Phoebe investigates the woman's past and memories. Just as you think you've solved the origins of the young woman, Banner comes in with a big 'gotcha!' moment and throws the reader into a self-questioning spiral for the ages.

The only gripe I have with Banner's latest is it could've been heavier with the suspense and dive deeper into Logan's deceptions. True, this isn't a story about a husband's lies beyond the grave, but there are plenty of questions left unanswered once readers finish the novel. If only Banner had expanded on his history of lies, the story would feel an ounce more complete to readers.

A riveting page-turner that doesn't reveal all of its secrets until the last page, "In Another Light," will clench your heart between its fists and make you stay up all night to finish it.

Follow me @bergreadstoomuch on Instagram for more!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page