Darkness on the Edge of Town
Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about his old life as a police detective in New York City, confronting his past before the events of the hit show 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.

Darkness on the Edge of Town Details

TitleDarkness on the Edge of Town
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 28th, 2019
PublisherDel Rey
ISBN-139781984819062
Rating
GenreHorror, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Darkness on the Edge of Town Review

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/06/06/...Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second official Stranger Things novel in a series exploring other side stories set in the world of the show. These stand-alone books are great for fans who will no doubt appreciate a lot of the references and Easter eggs scattered about the story, but technically you don’t need any prior knowledge to jump right in and enjoy it either. This time, we’re flashing back 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/06/06/...Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second official Stranger Things novel in a series exploring other side stories set in the world of the show. These stand-alone books are great for fans who will no doubt appreciate a lot of the references and Easter eggs scattered about the story, but technically you don’t need any prior knowledge to jump right in and enjoy it either. This time, we’re flashing back to events taking place in the summer of 1977, told as a frame story by Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper, who has just adopted Eleven.As the novel opens, it is the first Christmas for our little found family, and Hopper is feeling a little out of his depth but still trying his hardest to be a good father to the 11-year-old girl, now called Jane “El” Hopper. Over the holidays though, El has been exploring, digging an old cardboard box simply labeled “New York” out of the basement. Full of questions, El brings the box’s contents to Hopper and asks her new dad for a story. What did he do in New York before he decided to return to his sleepy hometown of Hawkins, Indiana? And why did he leave here in the first place? How come he never talks about his past?Reluctant to tell El everything she wants to know, Hopper nonetheless knows that being honest and sharing information about himself would go a long way in reinforcing their relationship. The question is, how much to share? Tentatively, Hopper decides to begin with his return to the United States after serving in Vietnam. Looking for a change of pace and more career prospects, he decides to join the NYPD, starting life with his young family in New York City. Soon, he is busy enough working tough cases that frequently take time away with his wife Diane and daughter Sara, but in spite of this, they are happy. That is, until some shady federal agents start showing up, removing the NYPD from their latest case involving a series of bizarre cultish murders and confiscating all the files related to it. However, Hopper isn’t the kind of man to just let these things go, and unfortunately for him, his doggedness has not gone unnoticed.So far, I’ve been enjoying these new Stranger Things novels and the character backstories that they provide. The first book, Suspicious Minds, was more of a prequel to the show, featuring Eleven’s mother Terry Ives and the story of how she ended up being a test subject in the government’s research into the supernatural and paranormal. Despite being mostly told in flashback, Darkness on the Edge of Town brings us closer to the events as they happen on the show, beginning shortly after the end of season two when Hopper officially adopts Eleven as his daughter Jane. And to be completely honest, while they only made up a tiny portion of the book, these little glimpses into their time together as were some of the best moments. There are so many heartwarming details worked in here and there, especially given what we know of Hopper’s life and what happened to his daughter Sara. He’s always been my favorite character in the show, and reading about his love for El here in this book—and seeing him try so hard for her—made him even more endearing to me.Still, the main bulk of the story, i.e. the flashback sections to 1977, read more like your typical police procedural involving murder cases and violent gangs. Light allusions to the occult notwithstanding, there really wasn’t much paranormal activity in his one, in contrast to Suspicious Minds, which featured it more heavily. Where Darkness on the Edge of Town wins though, is in the action. The overarching mystery is also intensified by the suspense of Hopper going undercover, as well as the thrills of other genre trappings like car chases and shootouts. It’s entertaining stuff, if a bit standard. That said, I enjoyed the setting as the author takes us back to the 70’s, referencing things like the Star Wars release, Son of Sam, and even incorporating the New York City blackout of 1977 into the main plot.But at the end of the day, much like Suspicious Minds, I would mostly recommend Darkness on the Edge of Town to fans of the show, and even then, it’s probably not essential. But if you’re impatiently waiting for the new season and want to read something fun in the meantime, this one is sure to tide you over until July and get you in the mood for more Stranger Things.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Stranger Things is one of my favorite shows and I enjoyed the first novel so I was thrilled to get approved for this next installment. I think I actually liked Darkness on the Edge of Town a little more than Suspicious Minds. This novel primarily follows Jim Hopper, my favorite adult character in the series, at Christmas 1984 with Eleven as he tells her about his past as a detective in NYC 1977 with his wife and daughter. The brut I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Stranger Things is one of my favorite shows and I enjoyed the first novel so I was thrilled to get approved for this next installment. I think I actually liked Darkness on the Edge of Town a little more than Suspicious Minds. This novel primarily follows Jim Hopper, my favorite adult character in the series, at Christmas 1984 with Eleven as he tells her about his past as a detective in NYC 1977 with his wife and daughter. The brutal serial killer case he tells her about is that last one he was on before everything in his life changed. I enjoyed this look into Hopper's past. We don't know much about his life before the series aside from the fact that he's no longer married and that his daughter died, but I liked this glimpse into his past. The novel doesn't go into the family tragedy aspect which is just fine with me, but it does a good job of showing just how dedicated he was to his wife and daughter. As a mystery/ crime novel, it really stands up too. There is a bit of a Stranger Things twist, but it isn't as focused on it which still works even if I would have liked a some more on that front. As for the characters, Delgado was easily my favorite of the new characters and Hopper himself felt entirely true to form, but Eleven seemed closer to her season one self rather than how we leave her at the end of the second season. Finally, if you are a fan of Stranger Things on Netflix or even crime novels in general, I highly recommend picking this up. I can't wait to see more of this novel series. Thanks again, NetGalley!
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge fan of the Netflix show Stranger Things.  I adore the characters, the small town mystery, and the creep factor.  The show relies on the nostalgia viewers have for pop culture and fond memories of their own childhood to make this a binge-worthy show.I'm thrilled to see that Del Rey is beginning to release official Stranger Things novels that give fans of the show some character back stories!Darkness on the Edge of Town begins at Christmas in 1984.  Police Chief Jim Hopper is enjoying a I'm a huge fan of the Netflix show Stranger Things.  I adore the characters, the small town mystery, and the creep factor.  The show relies on the nostalgia viewers have for pop culture and fond memories of their own childhood to make this a binge-worthy show.I'm thrilled to see that Del Rey is beginning to release official Stranger Things novels that give fans of the show some character back stories!Darkness on the Edge of Town begins at Christmas in 1984.  Police Chief Jim Hopper is enjoying a quiet evening with his adopted daughter, El (Jane).  El is growing restless in the cabin because her friends are out of town visiting their relatives for the holiday.  Out of boredom she looks through boxes in the basement and finds two she's curious about; one is marked "Vietnam", the other "New York".Hopper isn't ready to discuss Vietnam but he knows El won't let him off easy so he agrees to tell her about the last big case he worked as a detective for the NYPD.  With a pot of coffee brewing, he sits down to share a piece of his past.The summer of 1977 has NYC residents on edge with the serial killer known as Son of Sam still loose on the streets.Jim Hopper has a fresh start in New York after returning from Vietnam. Hopper has slipped back into civilian life by climbing the ranks in the NYPD to become a detective and enjoys a quiet life with his wife and young daughter.  He's recently been assigned a new partner, Rosario Delgado, and already they're working an alarming case.A third body has been found and it appears that the city has a second serial killer at large. The brutal murders appear ritualistic and cards with bizarre lines are found at each scene.When a federal agent shows up to take over the case, Hopper and Delgado aren't ready to stop their own investigation.  As Hopper pieces together the truth, he's forced to go undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang known as the Vipers and discover their involvement with the three murders.What Hopper discovers is a dangerous man known as Saint John who returned from Vietnam with a dark message.When a blackout plunges the boroughs into chaos, Hopper must escape the Vipers and the mobs in the streets to make sure his family is safe and stop Saint John from fulfilling his prophecy.Darkness on the Edge of Town is an interesting glimpse into Hopper's past.  Fans of the show know that he's no longer married and his daughter died but we don't have any insight into his life before the events of Stranger Things.  While this book doesn't address his family tragedies, it does offer a look at his devotion to his family and explain why he chose to go into law enforcement (without going into detail of his two tours of Vietnam).If you're looking for the whole cast, this isn't the book to read.  The entire book focuses on Hopper's undercover investigation in 1977 with only brief returns to the present timeline of Stranger Things (1984) for Hopper and El to discuss the story he's telling her.Overall, this is an entertaining story that feels true to the character of Jim Hopper and is a fun addition to the Stranger Things franchise.Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is scheduled for release on May 28, 2019.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 2.25Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this ebook.While I’m a huge fan of Stranger Things, this book, which takes place between Seasons 2 and 3, read way too much like fanfiction. We get a semi-interesting look into Hopper’s backstory (his life as a homicide detective in 1970’s NYC with his wife and daughter), but it only served a limited purpose of going deeper into a character I personally don’t care enough about (sorry, but I don’t). Sure, for the most part I didn’t hate Actual rating: 2.25Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this ebook.While I’m a huge fan of Stranger Things, this book, which takes place between Seasons 2 and 3, read way too much like fanfiction. We get a semi-interesting look into Hopper’s backstory (his life as a homicide detective in 1970’s NYC with his wife and daughter), but it only served a limited purpose of going deeper into a character I personally don’t care enough about (sorry, but I don’t). Sure, for the most part I didn’t hate this book, but I wasn’t necessarily craving an average crime/thriller story slash flashback character study. It could’ve worked as its own separate entity away from the Stranger Things world if the chance was given: as any stereotypical detective story. Because honestly, although written well, it’s packed with crime story clichés, and the baseline here is that it’s simply generic. The actual reasoning of Hopper and Delgado going behind the backs of federal agents and their superiors is flimsy and unconvincing, “This is our city” blah blah blah. I didn’t buy it. I found myself skimming entire paragraphs of overstuffed exposition, too, because this book is also unnecessarily long. It could’ve easily been 100 pages less, and the impact would’ve been a bit better. Instead, it’s wordy, bloated, and frankly boring.Vignettes between Hopper and El are sprinkled throughout, which was kind of nice, and their “father/daughter” rapport is pretty spot on from what’s been seen on the show, but... I don’t know. I just wasn’t entertained. I wanted more, well, Stranger Things, and this very barely delivered.
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  • Jay Gabler
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Random House for the free book.Me: “There’s a new Stranger Things novel about Jim Hopper in New York City.”Greta: “Sounds like erotic fiction.”Not quite like a gritty cross between Ghostbusters and The Princess Bride, set against the real-life 1977 blackout. ‪Thank you Random House for the free book.Me: “There’s a new Stranger Things novel about Jim Hopper in New York City.”‬‪Greta: “Sounds like erotic fiction.”‬‪Not quite like a gritty cross between Ghostbusters and The Princess Bride, set against the real-life 1977 blackout.
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  • Ryan Hixson
    January 1, 1970
    Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second novel that takes place in the Stranger Things universe. I did not read the first one which was about Eleven's mother, but I wanted too and was very interested, but wasn't able to, so when this novel came available on netgalley i had to request it. I was super excited to receive it early for any honest review. I'm a big fan of the show and eagerly awaiting the third season of Stranger Things July 4th on Netflix. So ap Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second novel that takes place in the Stranger Things universe. I did not read the first one which was about Eleven's mother, but I wanted too and was very interested, but wasn't able to, so when this novel came available on netgalley i had to request it. I was super excited to receive it early for any honest review. I'm a big fan of the show and eagerly awaiting the third season of Stranger Things July 4th on Netflix. So approaching this book review as a fan. Do you have to read this to get a deeper lore for the series? No. This novel is a total fan fiction and deeper character study of Detective Harper. Is there any hint to what happens in Season 3? No, this novel does happen between season 2 and 3, so we do get quick update to what characters have been doing since the Night Flyer, but mainly this is a book about the characters of Eleven and Detective James Hopper. I want to think netgalley and Del Rey Publishing for sending me an early copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher in exchange for an honest review.The Plot: Eleven and Hopper are alone together on dreary day, all El's friends have gone out of town so she's stuck alone with Hopper. Hopper makes a reference to the Vietnam War which makes Eleven ask questions, that he refuses to answer or talk about. Eleven ask about New York, which he starts telling her about then, she brings a box down with files, that has New York on it, and he proceeds to tell the story of New York in the Summer of 1977. There's a big serial killer making the news called the Son of Sam, and Hopper and his new partner Delgado, one of the first female detectives, are busy trying to solve the Card Killer a new serial killer, they're trying to keep out of the press. Detective Hopper finds a connection to gangs that could lead to solving it when he's taken off the case and the FBI takes over. Hopper and his partner are upset. Then a clue walks in, a gang member that knows things and wants to save his sister from the gang, Hopper and Delgado the only people who know about the gang connection decide to follow the connection, and it leads to cover up, murder, Hopper framed as a cop killer and a whole lot more.What I Liked: Seeing Hopper as a true family man with his wife and kid, not the broken man we meet in the first season. There still is a stranger things vibe to the story, but not copying on the show. The Eleven and Hopper relationship is a fun one and often unintentionally funny. The villain was really good and terrifying in his conviction and goals for New York. Delgado was a good character. I liked the way the story was told flipping back to Hopper telling the story to Eleven.What I Disliked: Eleven had no teenage angst she had in Season 2 so it felt like Eleven from Season 1. We didn't get the closure I wanted on how Hopper came back to Hawkins. There's an action scene that goes on too long, and a got lost in where the characters were in the action.Recommendation: if you're even a casual fan of the show, there's a lot to get out of it, so I do recommend it. If you've never seen the show the Eleven and Hopper relationship is going to be a little weird and you will probably be lost with all the show references, but you can totally understand Hopper's story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect light read to kick off summer. I was annoyed that this covered only a tiny part of Hopper’s backstory. Still fun though.
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    What a fabulous book. It took me back to characters met on Stranger Things. Hopper tells Eleven about a case he worked when he was a New York homicide detective. I enjoyed learning more about Hopper’s past, and seeing the interactions between him and Eleven as he navigates being a father again is wonderful.If you love Stranger Things and want to learn more about theses characters, you won’t be disappointed.
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  • Renee M. P. T. Kray
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.Dad Hopper and Sassy El are still the greatest teamup ever.The rest of it was just ok. Not great, but entertaining.
  • Michael Cook
    January 1, 1970
    Stranger Things is returning to screens this summer for its third season and it seems that Netflix is pulling out all the stops to promote it. With multiple novels and comic mini-series, the Stranger Things universe just seems to be growing and growing. And, here's the thing: these Stranger Things novels are really turning out to be pretty enjoyable reads. I loved the first one, Suspicious Minds (written by Gwenda Bond) and I quite enjoyed this second one, Darkness on the Edge of Town. It's not Stranger Things is returning to screens this summer for its third season and it seems that Netflix is pulling out all the stops to promote it. With multiple novels and comic mini-series, the Stranger Things universe just seems to be growing and growing. And, here's the thing: these Stranger Things novels are really turning out to be pretty enjoyable reads. I loved the first one, Suspicious Minds (written by Gwenda Bond) and I quite enjoyed this second one, Darkness on the Edge of Town. It's not quite as spectacular as the first one - and it doesn't quite reveal anything as shocking or interesting as that book - but it ends up being a pretty solid crime novel with a Stranger Things twist. This novel, like Suspicious Minds, focuses on the backstory of one of the characters of Stranger Things. This time, it's James Hopper (played by David Harbour in the series). The novel opens on the day after Christmas, 1984, with Eleven asking Hopper to tell her a story about his past. After some persuasion, he eventually relents and tells this story. The majority of the novel is the story itself, a case that Hopper worked on while in New York, and the case ends up being pretty interesting. It starts out as a serial killer committing oddly ritualistic murders and quickly morphs into something much bigger and a bit weirder.Don't go into this novel expecting any grand revelations about Hopper's past. We don't learn what happened to his wife or his daughter in this book, two characters noticeably missing from the TV series but given decently-sized roles in the novel. Unlike Suspicious Minds - a novel that set out to reveal all the secrets behind Eleven's mom's past, Darkness on the Edge of Town is content with simply telling the story of one of Hopper's past cases and this isn't really a bad thing because the case it tells is a damn interesting one. Written like a crime novel, the mystery at the heart of Darkness on the Edge of Town unfolds at a decent pace. The audience is thrown into the case several weeks after it began - a wise decision from author Adam Christopher - and the pace never slows down from there.This mystery isn't really one that could be figured out by readers as they read it. It's less of a whodunnit and more of an insight as to how Hopper operated as a detective. Even so, it's a lot of fun watching the various elements of the case come together at the end, with everything getting explained in a pretty satisfying way. I do wish the mystery had done a bit more with some of the weirder elements that were initially introduced - this is a serial killer who kills people in a ritualistic manner in order to bring about something called "The Day of the Serpent" and then the book never really goes as far as you'd like it to with that element of the story - especially when considering it's set within the Stranger Things universe. This isn't really a big problem, though; just more of a personal taste. Overall, it's a well-written mystery that unfolds in an engaging, surprising, and satisfying way.As previously mentioned, the novel sets up a framing story in which Eleven asks Hopper to tell her something about his past and we're reading the story he tells her. However, the entirety of the novel is written in a third-person point-of-view, which does break that illusion a bit. I feel like it was a missed opportunity to not have the majority of the novel told in a first-person point-of-view to better tie in the bulk of the story with the framing device but, again, it's a minor nitpick. The writing is superb, with plenty of time being spent on taking us into Hopper's head and allowing us to see how he's feeling and how he thinks his way through situations. Christopher should be pleased with how well-executed the writing in this novel is.Mystery novels live and die off of the strength of the main character and the mystery. As we've already discussed, Darkness on the Edge of Town has a pretty good mystery, so it all comes down to how good the main character is. Hopper was always one of the more interesting characters on the show because of his mysterious past and that remains true here. While I wish the novel had gone a bit further into revealing some of Hopper's mysteries (like what happened to his wife and daughter!), it's extremely nice getting to see a younger version of Hopper who still has some kind of hope in the world left. He's cynical, but not quite as cynical as he was in the first season of the show. Here, we get to see him in his element, solving a huge case and risking everything in order to do so. Christopher captures Hopper's voice extremely well and nails the characterization just as well. Hopper is the obvious main character here, but the other characters are just as well-written, even if they don't play a particularly big role in the story. Christopher is great at writing his characters and all that work definitely pays off.All in all, Darkness at the Edge of Town is another deeply enjoyable entry in the growing series of Stranger Things novels. While it's significantly more grounded in reality than the previous entry and doesn't contain as many massive revelations as that first book, it's still a great exploration of a fan-favorite character. At the heart of the story is an interesting, well-written character in James Hopper and an engaging, surprising, and satisfying mystery. It's a well-written, well-paced, fast read and it should easily please fans of the series who are craving any new Stranger Things stories.4 out of 5 wands.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    This heart-pounding mystery (sort of - you'll see) is a tie-in to the wildly popular Netflix hit Stranger Things. This was my first time ever reading a book that was written about characters from an already built world, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into it. Have you ever watched a movie that was based on a book, and then tried to read the book, but because you knew the ending it was spoiled for you? Probably not. I'm weird; I know. But this is why I ALWAYS read a book before I wat This heart-pounding mystery (sort of - you'll see) is a tie-in to the wildly popular Netflix hit Stranger Things. This was my first time ever reading a book that was written about characters from an already built world, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get into it. Have you ever watched a movie that was based on a book, and then tried to read the book, but because you knew the ending it was spoiled for you? Probably not. I'm weird; I know. But this is why I ALWAYS read a book before I watch the movie or TV show. And I am not generally one to be massively disappointed, because I compartmentalize (thanks therapy!) and keep the book separate from its on-screen counterpart. Darkness on the Edge of Town is different, though. It isn't a retelling of the show we have already seen. What's more, we get some really fun backstory of one of our beloved secondary characters, Jim Hopper.The story takes place after season two. It is Christmas, and El finds a box with old files and evidence from one of Hopper's cases back in New York. So, the story takes place in the "current time" (Christmas in Hawkins in 1984) with Jim telling her the story about this particular case back in New York (Summer 1977), during a disgusting heat wave with residents already on edge because of the Son of Sam.The title of the book shares the title of Bruce Springsteen's 4th album that was recorded during the summer of 1977. Not sure who all noticed that, but felt it deserved mentioning. Adam Christopher DID HIS RESEARCH for this book. As an editor, I am in the habit of Googling random things I come across in books if I don't already have a base knowledge of them, just to be sure it is accurate. Sure, this is fiction, but it also needs to be believable. You can't just use a rag with chloroform to knock someone out, contrary to what people think based on shows and movies showing that for dramatic effect. I actually spent an hour one evening searching how to quickly knock someone out to effectively kidnap them. I don't even want to know what kind of watch lists I'm on. I randomly Google the phrase "I'm researching for a book" and hit search, just in case.First, Christopher nailed Eleven. Her mannerisms and quirkiness - perfection. I can't say whether he fully grasped Jim Hopper as he's seen in Stranger Things, because he is technically a secondary character, but I have to say I adore this version and hope he is portrayed similarly in July when season three drops on Netflix. I think I just have this still-grieving father stuck in my head and that's all I can associate with him. So I'm actually really thankful Adam Christopher was given this opportunity to shed more light on who Jim Hopper, The Man, actually is.The flashbacks were good, but I have to say I preferred the scenes with Detective Rosario Delgado. That isn't to say it was only a sub-par story, I just really like the procedural aspect of mysteries/thrillers. Because we know that Jim and Rosario (though we weren't sure about her until about half way through the story) make it through okay, or at least alive, it was hard for me to stay focused through certain parts of the story - that knowledge takes away from the mystery for me. I caught myself skimming some of Jim's repetitive inner monologues.Now what I want to know is, are we allowed to have another book with Rosario as our main character, after she leaves for D.C. to work for Special Agent Gallup? Because that would be a fun book (or three). I mean, she isn't technically a Stranger Things character, so... Probably just wishful thinking. But I'm sure I won't be the only one wanting some more Detective Delgado in our lives come Tuesday, when this hits the shelves.All-in-all, this was a very fun whodunit that was easy to read in one sitting, and managed to give me all the feels about Hopper and El as a family unit. Now excuse my while I go raid the bookstore for some of Christopher's backlist, because I really enjoyed his writing style and story-telling.
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  • Liz (Quirky Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is the second novel written as a tie in to the Stranger Things Netflix series. Like the first novel (Suspicious Minds) Darkness on the Edge of Town is a prequel. Unlike the first novel, it doesn't occur in Hawkins. Well, most of it doesn't at least. Darkness on the Edge of Town tells the story of Jim Hopper. Everything take I received a copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is the second novel written as a tie in to the Stranger Things Netflix series. Like the first novel (Suspicious Minds) Darkness on the Edge of Town is a prequel. Unlike the first novel, it doesn't occur in Hawkins. Well, most of it doesn't at least. Darkness on the Edge of Town tells the story of Jim Hopper. Everything takes place well before the adventures in the TV series yet. In fact, this happens before Hopper settles back in Hawkins. Before that he was a homicide detective in NYC. Yes, you read that right. This novel occurs after Hopper's time in Vietnam, but before his daughter became ill. Just to give you an idea of where this fits in the timeline. Don't go into Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town expecting it to read exactly like an episode of Stranger Things. Jim Hopper is there, yes, and there are even cameos from Eleven. But that is the extent of the connection. This novel could be best described as a procedural crime novel, with hints towards the supernatural (but even then they're fairly slim, as they would be in any crime novel). If you go into this book expecting a crime drama, I think you'll enjoy the read. Or if you're hoping to learn more about Hopper. But if you're hoping for more along the lines of Stranger Things (or even Suspicious Minds), I think you'll be disappointed. (view spoiler)[ Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town was a fun read, on the whole. I really enjoyed learning more about Hopper's past. I knew that he had gone through hell, but I don't think it really hit me just how much he had actually gone through. So this novel did a great job of reminding me that this character had a life and past well before the events in Hawkins. I enjoyed seeing Hopper back in the days where he seemed to still be truly invested in doing good. When he still had hopes and dreams for his career. It's a refreshing change (though one can argue that this spark was reignited for Hopper as the Netflix series went on). The way they tied Hopper's past and present was really quite clever. This whole novel was essentially Hopper telling El about his past. Which is cute, when you stop and think about it. Though admittedly sometimes the breaks for El to talk did break the immersion. The crime elements in this novel were fun and made me realize I should read more along the lines of this plot. I'm not sure if somebody that read a lot of crime novels would love or hate this novel. But I think it held up. My only complaint would be that it got a little meta in places – bringing real life events into the plot and trying to take credit (or blame?) for them. I really liked Hopper's partner. In a way I think I would have loved to see the whole novel from her perspective. Okay, not really. I enjoyed Hopper's side of things. I just mean that she was a really interesting character, and a good mirror for Hopper's character. I still maintain that you need to be aware of what type of novel Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is. Because your expectations will set your experience, especially here. So please keep that in mind before picking this one up. (hide spoiler)]For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
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  • John Stanifer
    January 1, 1970
    If I had to choose a favorite, I'd say Darkness on the Edge of Town is even better than the first Stranger Things tie-in novel, Suspicious Minds, which told the backstory of Eleven's mother, Terry Ives.There are a few reasons for that judgement. Among them:- Terry is a supporting character, so aside from her being Eleven's mother, we haven't had as much onscreen time to get attached to her as we've had with Hopper. Hopper is one of the stars, so being able to spend over 400 pages diving into the If I had to choose a favorite, I'd say Darkness on the Edge of Town is even better than the first Stranger Things tie-in novel, Suspicious Minds, which told the backstory of Eleven's mother, Terry Ives.There are a few reasons for that judgement. Among them:- Terry is a supporting character, so aside from her being Eleven's mother, we haven't had as much onscreen time to get attached to her as we've had with Hopper. Hopper is one of the stars, so being able to spend over 400 pages diving into the backstory of one of the show's best characters is quite a treat for fans.- Suspicious Minds really made me feel like I was reading a story set in the '60s. I was so intrigued by certain details that I had to look them up to find out if they were true (most of them, like the first date chosen in the Vietnam war draft, were). Darkness on the Edge of Town does the same thing, only with a '70s NYC setting. The NYC blackout is incredibly scary, and I can't believe I had never heard of it (as far as I can remember). BONUS POINTS FOR HOPPER AND HIS WIFE GEEKING OUT ABOUT SEEING STAR WARS!!!- I love, love, love the frame narrative here. The story switches back and forth between the "present" (Christmas in Hawkins, 1984) and the past (Summer, NYC, 1977). The whole story is essentially set up as Hopper revealing a major piece of his past to Eleven. They have some fairly deep conversations here on topics like heroism, racism, good and evil, etc. And the author, Adam Christopher, absolutely gets the characters. It all feels completely natural.- LOTS OF REFERENCES TO HOPPER DRINKING COFFEE!!! And contemplating. There's even an important scene, near the end, that involves reading a book.If there's anything I can criticize about the book, I kind of expected there to be more of a tie-in between the events in NYC and the events of the show. The tie-in with the show is mainly in the themes (creepy experiments, government overreach, etc.) and in the frame narrative, in the development of the Hopper / Eleven bond. I was waiting for there to be a more explicit statement of why Hopper moved back to Indiana . . . but that's largely left to our imaginations.Still, there isn't much to complain about here, and there's PLENTY for fans of Hopper and of the show to enjoy. I can't help wondering if we'll get a continuation of Hopper's story at some point that answers some of the questions I still had after finishing this. This is, after all, the second tie-in novel in less than five months, so something tells me we're in for a few more . . .
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  • Elle Rudy
    January 1, 1970
    Wasn't sure what to expect from this Stranger Things novel. The only other one, Suspicious Minds, received mixed reviews from fans of the TV series. Darkness on the Edge of Town, however, is a backstory of one of the most beloved characters from the show, Jim Hopper, as a detective in the NYPD, seven years before he first meets Eleven. The majority of the text is set in 1977, but there are several intercut scenes in 1984, where Hopper is recalling the events of the story to Eleven. It's kind of Wasn't sure what to expect from this Stranger Things novel. The only other one, Suspicious Minds, received mixed reviews from fans of the TV series. Darkness on the Edge of Town, however, is a backstory of one of the most beloved characters from the show, Jim Hopper, as a detective in the NYPD, seven years before he first meets Eleven. The majority of the text is set in 1977, but there are several intercut scenes in 1984, where Hopper is recalling the events of the story to Eleven. It's kind of like a Princess Bride thing.It starts as any by-the-book police procedural. Hopper investigating multiple homicides, a rookie cop, Feds vs local police conflict, etc. Don't expect much in the realism department here. He's a rogue cop who plays by his own rules & that's miraculously always in the right. Hopper in the book doesn't really seem to have the temperament to be a detective, and it didn't do much to make his character more sympathetic. A lot of the stakes for him seem melodramatic. Someone threatens his family in a completely unnecessary and cartoonishly villainous way. The bad guys don't seem coherent, and law enforcements eventual solution makes no sense. There's several cliches, my least favorite is the "I can't tell my wife what's going on because reasons." The back half of the book, though, picks up and gets pretty exciting. I'd just set both your expectations from the franchise and how police officers work aside before jumping in.I did really like the portions with Eleven, though, and wish there were more of them. Hopper at one point was explaining to a young girl in the 80s about sexism and racism in the 70s (for an audience in 2019). I get why they can't really put more of 1984 Hawkins in a novel while the show is still coming out, but this book feels like filler. Entertaining filler, but pretty disconnected.*Thanks to Random House - Ballantine & Netgalley for an advance copy!
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  • Jason S Wrench
    January 1, 1970
    I had the opportunity to read Adam Christopher's new book "Stranger Things - Darkness on the Edge of Town" prior to its publication. Although I am grateful to the publisher for allowing me this opportunity, my review is my own opinion and not influenced by the publisher or the author.I should start by saying that this book has little to do with the Netflix television series Stranger Things. If you think you are going to get a story similar to those seen in Stranger Things, you will be very disap I had the opportunity to read Adam Christopher's new book "Stranger Things - Darkness on the Edge of Town" prior to its publication. Although I am grateful to the publisher for allowing me this opportunity, my review is my own opinion and not influenced by the publisher or the author.I should start by saying that this book has little to do with the Netflix television series Stranger Things. If you think you are going to get a story similar to those seen in Stranger Things, you will be very disappointed. Instead, this book looks at the early life of Hopper when he was a detective in New York City. The story starts out as Hopper and Eleven are celebrating Christmas alone in his cabin. Eleven wants to learn more about him and she brings Hopper a box she found under the floorboards containing information about a case of Hopper's when he lived in NYC. The bulk of the novel is basically a police procedural novel. If you like police procedurals, then this book is definitely going to be right up your alley. If, however, you were hoping for something that is more in the Science Fiction genre of the television series, then this would not be a book I would recommend. Personally, I enjoyed the book, but then I enjoy a good police procedural. The book moves at a pretty clear clip with the occasional flashforwards to Hopper and Elven talking in the cabin in between major pieces of action in the flashback police procedural. In fact, you could probably cut out the Hopper and Eleven interactions and the story wouldn't be altered too much.
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  • Mark Adkins
    January 1, 1970
    This book will mostly appeal to fans of the show "Stranger Things", but non fans can still enjoy the book as the references to events in the show are fairly minor and more like Easter Eggs for the fans.The books takes place in two time periods, modern day (for the show) December 1984 and spends most of the time in flashbacks to 1977. The modern scenes are of Sheriff Jim Hopper telling Eleven a story of when he was a New York city Detective in 1977. The scenes in 1977 are that of then Detective H This book will mostly appeal to fans of the show "Stranger Things", but non fans can still enjoy the book as the references to events in the show are fairly minor and more like Easter Eggs for the fans.The books takes place in two time periods, modern day (for the show) December 1984 and spends most of the time in flashbacks to 1977. The modern scenes are of Sheriff Jim Hopper telling Eleven a story of when he was a New York city Detective in 1977. The scenes in 1977 are that of then Detective Hopper as he is involved with a major case and his interactions with his family.The actual case that he is involved with in 1977 is fairly interesting and will appeal to fans of detective stories, they just jump back to 1984 a few times to remind the readers that this is a "Stranger Things" novel.For fans of the TV show there is nothing new really reveled during this novel that viewers don't already know about either Hopper or Eleven. They other characters from the show are not in the novel, with Mike and Joyce getting mentioned in passing. I found this to be a fairly easy read and much like the TV show it is family friendly, so no coarse language or excessive violence.If you are a fan of the show and a looking for a fairly light read to tide you over till season three starts I recommend this book.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Just after Christmas 1984, in Hopper's cabin, Eleven finds a box labeled "New York." Within this box contains Hopper's memories from a particular time in his life when he worked for NYPD as a homicide detective. Eleven begs Hopper to tell her the story behind it and he reluctantly agrees to. The story takes place between the kitchen table in 1984 in Hopper's cabin and his time in 1977 solving a bizarre string of murders in New York and hops back and forth as Hopper relays the story to Eleven.Whe Just after Christmas 1984, in Hopper's cabin, Eleven finds a box labeled "New York." Within this box contains Hopper's memories from a particular time in his life when he worked for NYPD as a homicide detective. Eleven begs Hopper to tell her the story behind it and he reluctantly agrees to. The story takes place between the kitchen table in 1984 in Hopper's cabin and his time in 1977 solving a bizarre string of murders in New York and hops back and forth as Hopper relays the story to Eleven.When compared to Suspicious Minds, I feel this is a stronger, original story. It doesn't feel like an already existent episode of Stranger Things drawn out over 400 pages. There is mystery, crime, and quite a bit of action. The middle does feel a little like it is filled with some fluff. I lost some interest in the middle.There is also an attempt to bring in some of the supernatural elements and science fiction that Stranger Things is known for but I feel like they don't totally commit to it. They mentioned a few odd things that happen, and mention the MK Ultra project in one conversation, and suggest that the main antagonist may have some special powers, but that idea is completely forgotten by the end. Sooo.... did he have abilities like Eleven? Or was he just suffering from PTSD and had delusions and formed a cult? Kind of unclear.Overall I would probably give it a 3.5 because I thought it was better than Suspicious Minds but felt a little forced to fit into the Stranger Things world.Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read and advanced copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the first Stranger Things novel but I’ve been really looking forward to reading this one because Hopper. I really loved how this book started in Hoppers cabin, with Hopper and El, in Stranger Things present day and while mostly in the 70’s due to Hopper relaying his story, we got regular glimpses of them and their interactions.I thought Hoppers life, before Stranger Things, as a homicide detective in New York was fascinating. I kept waiting for a demogorgon to pop up and although it was I liked the first Stranger Things novel but I’ve been really looking forward to reading this one because Hopper. I really loved how this book started in Hoppers cabin, with Hopper and El, in Stranger Things present day and while mostly in the 70’s due to Hopper relaying his story, we got regular glimpses of them and their interactions.I thought Hoppers life, before Stranger Things, as a homicide detective in New York was fascinating. I kept waiting for a demogorgon to pop up and although it was humans who were monsters it’s clear to see why Hopper handles everything that happens in Hawkins so well. Like El, I was rapt as Hopper recalled his experiences. Hopper was my favourite from the get-go of ST and this novel has only fuelled my feelings for the loveable grump. Three words “coffee and contemplation”. I am tempted to immediately reread the chapters in Hoppers cabin because Hopper and El together absolutely slays me every time. This was fantastic addition to the Stranger Things world and I can’t wait for the next book.
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  • Jacquelyn
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this. Hopper is such a mystery in Stranger Things. Sure, we get glimpses of his past and life before becoming Cheif of Hawkins but there is still so much we don't know. This book delves into his past. We get to see him at his prime (as a detective in NYC with a loving wife and daughter). It was interesting to see this side of Hopper. The book is set up as Hopper telling his past to El one winter night and I didn't mind that set up at all. We got short little breaks with El picki I really enjoyed this. Hopper is such a mystery in Stranger Things. Sure, we get glimpses of his past and life before becoming Cheif of Hawkins but there is still so much we don't know. This book delves into his past. We get to see him at his prime (as a detective in NYC with a loving wife and daughter). It was interesting to see this side of Hopper. The book is set up as Hopper telling his past to El one winter night and I didn't mind that set up at all. We got short little breaks with El picking apart his "story" and relating it to what she has gone through. We got to see a softer side of Hopper in the form of his past interactions with his family as well as his interactions with El (he was worried telling his past would change her opinion of him).I am loving this Stranger Things books. I can't wait to pick up book 3 when it comes out and delve more into the character of Max.
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  • Unseen Library
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town from Penguin Random House Australia to review.With the third season of the sensational and entertaining television show Stranger Things fast approaching (4 July cannot come fast enough), another tie-in novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher, has been released and offers another intriguing look into the wider Stranger Things universe. This story heads back into 1970s and focuses on the life of Hawkins police Chief I received a copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town from Penguin Random House Australia to review.With the third season of the sensational and entertaining television show Stranger Things fast approaching (4 July cannot come fast enough), another tie-in novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher, has been released and offers another intriguing look into the wider Stranger Things universe. This story heads back into 1970s and focuses on the life of Hawkins police Chief Jim Hopper, portrayed in the show by David Harbour, and presents a thrilling and curious new adventure.Darkness on the Edge of Town’s story starts in December 1984, around two months after the end of the second season of Stranger Things. While enjoying a quiet Christmas with his adopted daughter, Eleven, Jim Hopper is suddenly brought back to his past when Eleven pulls out a cardboard box marked “New York”. Despite his reluctance, Hopper begins to tell Eleven the story of the greatest case he solved before tragedy forced him back to Hawkins.On Independence Day in 1977, after returning from the Vietnam War, Jim Hopper is living in New York City with his wife, Diane, and his daughter, Sara. While the city deals with bankruptcy and a heatwave, Hopper, a rookie NYPD detective, finds himself investigating a series of brutal, ritualistic murders with his new partner, Rosario Delgado. The murderer has already killed three people, leaving a mysterious card at each crime scene. Before Hopper and Delgado can make any progress, their investigation is shut down by shadowy federal agents who order them off the case. Disobeying orders and putting his career on the line, Hopper continues to investigate the murders and is able to connect the deaths to the mysterious leader of the Viper gang, who is reputed to have paranormal powers. Going undercover to infiltrate the Vipers, Hopper makes some startling revelations about the scope and devastation of the gang leader’s sinister plans, and he must do everything he can to protect his city from an upcoming evil.View the full review at:https://unseenlibrary.com/2019/05/21/...An abridged version of this review ran in the Canberra Weekly on 6 June 2019:https://unseenlibrary.com/2019/06/06/...For other exciting reviews, check out my blog at:https://unseenlibrary.com/
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  • Chris Wermeskerch
    January 1, 1970
    One thing I loved about Gwenda Bond's Suspicious Minds was that it played up some elements of the Stranger Things franchise really well - it stayed within the familiar Hawkins, IN, using the same psychic phenomena, alluded to the Upside Down, etc. etc. Darkness on the Edge of Town uses familiar characters, Hopper and Eleven, to tell a crime story. On the face of it? The story is fairly well done, and the ambiance feels at place in the Stranger Things universe. You feel the weird stuff going on c One thing I loved about Gwenda Bond's Suspicious Minds was that it played up some elements of the Stranger Things franchise really well - it stayed within the familiar Hawkins, IN, using the same psychic phenomena, alluded to the Upside Down, etc. etc. Darkness on the Edge of Town uses familiar characters, Hopper and Eleven, to tell a crime story. On the face of it? The story is fairly well done, and the ambiance feels at place in the Stranger Things universe. You feel the weird stuff going on could be supernatural, even when the characters don't. Unfortunately, most of the novel is a typical crime story using Stranger Things as wrapping paper, so it doesn't get a full five stars from me. That being said, the crime novel aspect is well done and I would recommend this for someone looking for some fiction to read.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Now, to be fair, I came into this book already loving Hopper, so I may have a small bias when it comes to actually reviewing it. All of that considered, I did enjoy reading about Hopper's New York days and learning more about how he came to be the Hopper we know from Stranger Things. Adam Christopher writes as if he's creating an episode of Law and Order, and I'm not upset about it. This book has a compelling plot and is incredibly well paced (albeit a bit predictable). I do feel that the tie ba Now, to be fair, I came into this book already loving Hopper, so I may have a small bias when it comes to actually reviewing it. All of that considered, I did enjoy reading about Hopper's New York days and learning more about how he came to be the Hopper we know from Stranger Things. Adam Christopher writes as if he's creating an episode of Law and Order, and I'm not upset about it. This book has a compelling plot and is incredibly well paced (albeit a bit predictable). I do feel that the tie back to being in the cabin with Eleven is a little unnecessary, but regardless, this is a must read for Stranger Things fans. Love live Hop!
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  • Melinda Anders
    January 1, 1970
    If you are a fan of Stranger Things like I am you need to get this book. This is my fix until the next episodes come out in July. While I was reading it was like I was watching an episode. I hope this is just the first of many of these books. Hopper is telling Eleven about his past when he was a detective in New York City. He knows the subject matter is too advanced for Eleven but she is no normal girl. His story helps Eleven better understand Hopper and his past. It helps her understand his ded If you are a fan of Stranger Things like I am you need to get this book. This is my fix until the next episodes come out in July. While I was reading it was like I was watching an episode. I hope this is just the first of many of these books. Hopper is telling Eleven about his past when he was a detective in New York City. He knows the subject matter is too advanced for Eleven but she is no normal girl. His story helps Eleven better understand Hopper and his past. It helps her understand his dedication to his job.
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  • Phil
    January 1, 1970
    This was a "Stranger Things" novel which, strangely, had nothing to do with Stranger Things except for a static, one-dimensional Hopper and an underutilized, interstitial Eleven. Adam Christopher's prose reads like watered-down Stephen King. The pace of the uninspired plot is broken too often by chapters that are too short, and the longer chapters do not end quickly enough. I don't want to be mean, but this one made Gwenda Bond look like Claudia Gray.
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  • Nathaniel Darkish
    January 1, 1970
    An uninteresting police procedural serial killer story with a thin gene of Stranger Things on top of it, as tonally convincing as cheap laminate wood. This is the kind of tie-in book that makes people hate tie-ins.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I'm setting this one aside for now. I've been reading it for a week, and not having much luck with getting invested. I read a little over 100 pages, so I gave it a shot, but it's not working for me. I adored the first Stranger Things novel, though, so it sucks I'm having a hard time with this one.
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  • Elizabeth Fensin
    January 1, 1970
    Much better than “”Suspicious Minds”— probably because Hopper is such a great character. Only slightly paranormal. Hopper tells Eleven about the time he investigated a cult behind the 1977 NYC blackout.
  • Del
    January 1, 1970
    DNF around 35%. It’s just a boring serial killer story in the 70s, wrapped in a Stranger Things label with a very weak excuse. There’s nothing remotely linked to the mysteries or moods of the show. It’s just a money grab, and not a fun one.
  • Jennifer D.
    January 1, 1970
    Love the Netflix series! Hopper is one of my favorite characters. Great story about his time in New York. It still leaves questions though.
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    **I received a copy of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**Jim Hopper is one of my favorite characters on Stranger Things, so I was immediately drawn to this story. Anything about his background and life before he became the grizzly grump we all know and love is right up my alley. It was so interesting reading about his life outside of Hawkins, and I would love it if the show touched upon it as well. What I loved most though were the little snippets in between the story of Hopp **I received a copy of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**Jim Hopper is one of my favorite characters on Stranger Things, so I was immediately drawn to this story. Anything about his background and life before he became the grizzly grump we all know and love is right up my alley. It was so interesting reading about his life outside of Hawkins, and I would love it if the show touched upon it as well. What I loved most though were the little snippets in between the story of Hopper and Eleven. I absolutely love these two together. Their dynamic works so well, and you can really feel the fatherly love Hopper has for her. This was such a fast paced, action packed glimpse into Hopper's backstory and a must read for any fan of the show.
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