Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in July 2016 and immediately developed a cult following due to the ingenious idea of setting an eerie disturbing mystery in a small uninspired Indiana town in 1983. Yep those nostalgic references are all there, ripe for the plucking.

When a series achieves success on the level of Stranger Things and with a cast of characters just oozing ‘back-story available here!’ with every knowing sly look at the camera, it surely wouldn’t be long before the novels focussing on some of the quirky characters came along.

Thus Darkness on the Edge of Town is Adam Christopher’s entry into all things Strange. Christopher is no stranger to the tie in novel having written two based on the series Elementary. Set in between series two and three Darkness on the Edge of Town begins with one of those cosy fireside chats that we all dream of in an It’s a Wonderful Life-type of way.

Jim Hopper’s adopted daughter Eleven finds a box marked ‘New York’ in Jim’s basement and through a series of flashbacks to 1977 when Jim was a NYPD detective and married with a young daughter. His domestic bliss is challenged when he has to go undercover amongst New York’s violent and uncompromising street gangs.

For insights into the complexity of Stranger Things and what is to come, prepare to be disappointed. But to gain an insight into Jim Hopper and the man he has become since 1977 prepare to raise a glass of Dr Pepper. By the fireside you learn a little and understand a great deal into the insights of a proud man who has rebuilt his life.

Released: May 2019

Publisher: Century

Review by Russell Cook