Darkness at the Edge of Town does have an interesting premise, but the story is a bit drawn out and slow at times. I haven't read the first Iris Ballard novel, and there were things mentioned in this one that were confusing. The author does eventually explain some things as the story progresses, but I spent most of the book feeling like I was behind on the characters and what led them to this point in their lives. The book is well-written and even with the slow pace, it was a compelling and suspenseful read. However, I wouldn't call this one a thriller by any means. It does pick up in the end, but while there is suspense surrounding the cult and its leader, and Iris' snark was entertaining, the book lacks that heart-pounding element that I look for in a thriller. I did find some things a little hard to swallow, especially when Iris attempts to infiltrate the cult to find her brother. From the beginning of the story, we know that Iris is quite well-known and her face has been splashed all over the media, plus being so close to her childhood home. Good or bad, publicity is talked about, especially in a small town. I find it hard to believe that it takes as long as it does for anyone to recognize this woman who is so prevalent in the news. As I said, I haven't read the first book, so maybe that would've put a different spin on this for me, but in the end, the stretch of imagination required combined with the slow pace made it just an okay read for me.