Books · Contemporary · diverse characters · grief · lgbtqia content · mental health · own voices author · physical disability · read the trigger warnings · romance · self-discovery

REVIEW: Left In The Dark by Zev de Valera

The Official Description: Cal Restrepo, victim of a road rage automobile accident, emerges from unconsciousness into a world he does not recognize.

Under the care of the doctors at Wending Hills and the help of his friends and neighbors, Cal gradually recovers his memory and the full use of his body. Yet, so many of the memories do not fit what he feels is the “real” Cal.

Are his memories still clouded and unreliable, or was the Cal Restrepo who existed before the accident someone entirely different than the man who survived?

Just the facts: Queer characters, mystery, intrigue, read the content warnings

Cal is struggling to recover from a terrible accident while at the same time living with partial amnesia. As he slips back into his life, he finds out that lots of things aren’t what he once thought. – Kinzie Things


My thoughts bit: 
When Cal Restrepo wakes up, he discovers he is the sole survivor of a car crash that has claimed the life of his partner. After being in a hospital for a long time, and under the care of a psychiatrist he is released back to his life. There’s one problem, and that is that even though Cal has recovered from complete amnesia, he still has holes in his past. He remembers his dog but can’t remember why he had the accident. He remembers that he likes and knows his neighbour but doesn’t recall that they were having an affair.

Life can be pretty confusing when your past presents itself in bits and pieces. When Cal meets Marc Duguay – the nurse who has been assigned to assist him with the transition to living at home – he finds himself enjoying the man’s company. He tries to take the advice of his Psychiatrist and see his memory challenges as permission to being again: without the emotional baggage from his memories, can he change up his life?

It’s hard to describe this book. It is really about Cal’s journey from the accident back to his life. Because of the holes in his memory, he has to look at things differently than he may have the first time around.​

While I was reading, I enjoyed the way that the mystery of Cal’s past unfolded for me at the same time as it did for him. He has conversations with people who have been in his life for a long time and realizes that things weren’t what they seemed. It’s also interesting that once Cal settles a bit and begins to separate his emotional responses from his scattered memories, he begins to see things more clearly.

I really enjoyed the way that Cal’s progression was written. His returning memories often left him with an emotional response, and it was interesting to read his thoughts and feelings. I didn’t mind the POV switching as there were some parts of the book that could only be explained by a supporting character. I did feel as though if this were a longer novel, that the author could have stuck with one POV.

I enjoyed this story; it had the feel of a movie… when there’s a flashback reveal at the end that ties all the pieces together. The pacing was good, but I would have loved for the main relationship to have blossomed a little slower. It did feel a little bit too quick for me.

Please read the content warnings for this one.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Adult in relationship with an underage boy (no sexual contact), infidelity in the past and the present, a character is in a car accident, a character is living with memory loss, a character is living with physical impairments from accident, teenage supporting character commits suicide (off-page and in past)

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Left In The Dark by Zev de Valera from NineStar Press via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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