Darkness on the Edge of Town (Stranger Things )
Christmas, Hawkins, 1984. All Chief Jim Hopper wants is to enjoy a quiet first Christmas with Eleven, but his adopted daughter has other plans. Over Hopper’s protests, she pulls a cardboard box marked “New York” out of the basement—and the tough questions begin. Why did Hopper leave Hawkins all those years ago? What does “Vietnam” mean? And why has he never talked about New York?
Although he’d rather face a horde of demogorgons than talk about his own past, Hopper knows that he can’t deny the truth any longer. And so begins the story of the incident in New York—the last big case before everything changed. . . .
Summer, New York City, 1977. Hopper is starting over after returning home from Vietnam. A young daughter, a caring wife, and a new beat as an NYPD detective make it easy to slip back into life as a civilian. But after shadowy federal agents suddenly show up and seize the files about a series of brutal, unsolved murders, Hopper takes matters into his own hands, risking everything to discover the truth.
Soon Hopper is undercover among New York’s notorious street gangs. But just as he’s about to crack the case, a blackout rolls across the boroughs, plunging Hopper into a darkness deeper than any he’s faced before.
Stranger Things Addict
Darkness on the Edge of Town is a fascinating glimpse into Hopper's past. Being a big fan of Hopper since the start of Stranger Things, I was incredibly excited to pick this one up. Fans of the show know that he's no longer married and his daughter died. The Duffer brothers haven't really given viewers much insight into his life before the events of Stranger Things. While this book doesn't address his family tragedies hinted to in the series, it does offer a look at his devotion to his family and part of his journey to being involved in law enforcement.
What I liked: This is the start of a dive into Hopper as a character. This novel isn't meant to provide clues to Season 3 (which is a good thing), but instead provides some insight on what made Hopper the man we see in Season 1. We get to see Hopper as a true family man with his wife and daughter, a man on the hunt for the truth. The angsty Eleven from season 2 is not seen here which I think is okay. Eleven doesn't have to be angsty all the time and her curiosity about Hopper's past seems genuine and realistic to her character.
Darkness at the Edge of Town is a fantastic addition to the growing series of Stranger Things novels. This one is more grounded in reality compared to Suspicious Minds but still stays true to the Stranger Things vibe. The character of James Hopper is well-written and feels true to a character arc for this fan favorite. The story is a fast and enjoyable read. This can be perfect to read before you finish the latest season or perfect way to feed that Stanger Things "craving" once you are done binging.