This is one of those books that I laid down several times and had to just keep plugging away at it to finish it. I found myself not really understanding the plot...maybe because the book moved so slow or I had difficulty connecting the different characters.
I enjoy a good book like most folks. What I don't enjoy is being made to feel illiterate, undereducated and generally stupid when I invest my time in leisurely reading. If those things do not bother you or you are just curious then go ahead and read Dark Lady. It will reference words few folks use in real sentences and plays and historical literature that ivy league school professors toss around to make themselves feel more important.
Early on the average reader can deduce the guilty. The fascinating part of the story is the intricate weaving the author uses to pull together all of his characters. However, the author tried so hard to make his story seedy and gritty that even for the time period in which the story was set the racial stereotypes are completely over the top. To cover for this the author even had the web of racism be central to each of the characters inner demons. But what did not work to me is that the stereotypes were so cliche' that maybe it exposes something about the writers perception of what racism is to himself.
I'm sad to say that each of the surprise and shocking moments read like something that has been written about time and again. Maybe someone can invent some newer and more lewd sex activities to make us shocked again. Maybe it is true that between just plain living, TV and Movies there are too few surprises that are left to be written about when it comes to trying to describe depraved individuals.
Otherwise the story is ok if you want to feel like a dark cloud is lingering nearby and following you along everyday and you care about a heroine that has the personality of a sock in a rock.