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We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

For me, the marker of a great psychological thriller is when I don't feel 100% comfortable walking down a dark hallway or turning off the light to go to sleep. It doesn't happen all the time but I felt it this time when I read We Are All the Same in the Dark. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


While not everyone will be as creeped out as I was by it, it got under my skin in a different way than other mystery/thriller books I've read recently. I have a feeling that's because this story was not only very well told (in my humble opinion) but it was realistic. It felt like it could have been me and is there anything creepier than that feeling?


Whether you're looking for spoilers about who the killer is or are looking for books like We Are All the Same in the Dark to read next, then you've come to the right place because you will find all of that below. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

What Is We Are All the Same in the Dark About?

Five years after moving back to her hometown in Texas, the place of her nightmares, Odette Tucker is obsessively investigating the disappearance of her childhood friend, Trumanell Branson. While the town wants to blame Wyatt Branson, Trumanell's brother, Odette has different opinions about whose to blame. But when Wyatt Branson finds an abandoned one-eyed girl in a field by a highway, Odette fears what the town might think about the unusual circumstances and Wyatt's role in it. Will she be able to get the girl to tell her the story of how she got there? Will she be able to prove Wyatt Branson's innocence and prove who really did it without getting herself hurt, or worse, in the process?


Is We Are All the Same in the Dark Based on A True Story?

No -We Are All the Same in the Dark is not a true story. This is noted at the beginning of the book: "This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental."


Is We Are All the Same in the Dark Appropriate?

Given that the book deals with murder and violence, We Are All the Same in the Dark is not appropriate and should be reserved for mature readers.


How Long Does It Take to Read We Are All the Same in the Dark?

According to How Long to Read, it should take the average reader approximately 5 hours and 26 minutes to read We Are All the Same in the Dark.


Who Narrates We Are All the Same in the Dark?

We Are All the Same in the Dark offers a dual POV. The first half of the book is told by Odette Tucker but after she is murdered, it fast forwards five years the narrator for the second half is Angel, the girl Odette saved right before she disappeared.


Who Are the Main Characters in We Are All the Same in the Dark?

There are quite a few characters to keep track of in We Are All the Same in the Dark. If you're like me and have a hard time keeping them all straight, here's a list of the main characters:

  • Odette Tucker - Police officer

  • Angel aka Angelica Odette Dunn (formerly Montana Shirley Cox) - Girl found by Wyatt, runaway from her murderous father, helped by Odette and Maggie Tucker

  • Marshall Tucker - Former police chief, father of Odette, brother of Reverend Rodney Tucker

  • Maggie Tucker - Odette's cousin, daughter of Reverend Rodney Tucker, the biological daughter of Frank Branson

  • Frank Branson - Father and abuser of Trumanell and Frank

  • Trumanell Branson - Sister of Wyat, daughter of Frank, presumed murdered

  • Wyatt Branson - Brother of Trumanell, son of Frank

  • Rusty Colton - Police officer, Odette's partner

  • Finn Kennedy - Odette's ex-husband


What Happened on June 7, 2005?

On June 7, 2005, in We Are All the Same in the Dark Trumanell and Frank Branson disappear, both presumed dead. When the police arrive, Wyatt is found with blood on him and is frantically talking to himself. He becomes the prime suspect in both disappearances.


What Happened to Odette Tucker?

As she is investigating Trumanell's disappearance, Odette has a hunch about where you to look for evidence. When she arrives where she met Wyatt mending fences a few days prior, she begins digging where one post looks like a cross. Just as her shovel hits something, she hears a gun cock behind her and is murdered.


Who Is the Killer in We Are All the Same in the Dark?

The killer in We Are All the Same in the Dark is Reverend Rodney Tucker, Odette's uncle.


On June 7, 2005, his wife confesses that he is not their daughter Maggie's biological father. Her biological father is Frank Branson. Upon hearing this, he goes to the Branson property and holds the family at gunpoint. Wyatt tries to disarm him but as he does, the gun goes off and hits Trumanell, who Frank had been using as a human shield. The Reverend then calls his brother the police chief, Marshall Tucker, to help him clean up the crime scene. When he arrives, Marshall takes Frank out of the house and fires a shot. It is not revealed whether he killed Frank or let him go. Afterward, the brothers blackmail and convince Wyatt he is guilty and that if it hadn't been for him, his sister wouldn't be dead.


Reverend Rodney Tucker is also Odette's killer. He did so because she was getting too close to uncovering the truth about the brother's past crime. After shooting and killing her, he buries her in the same grave the brothers buried Trumanell years before.


He is also the one who attacks Angel in Odette's home. Thanks to Angel though, he does not get away and eventually hangs himself.


5 Books Like We Are All the Same in the Dark

There's something about getting scared or creeped out by a psychological thriller that's addictive. It makes me that much more eager to dive into another like it. If you feel the same, then you should appreciate this list of five similar books to We Are All the Same in the Dark to read next:


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacey Willingham

1. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacey Willingham

I originally read We Are All the Same in the Dark because it sounded like another psychological thriller I enjoyed - A Flicker in the Dark by Stacey Willingham. Now that I've read the two I can confirm they feel quite similar. In A Flicker in the Dark, six girls disappear from a small town and are presumed dead. A local man, the father of the main character, gets sent to jail for the crimes. However, when it starts happening again years later while he's still in prison, his daughter suspects a copycat and attempts to investigate on her own - even if it puts her in harm's way.


Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

2. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Not only does Karin Slaughter's book, Pretty Girls, share similarities with We Are All the Same in the Dark, but it also has fantastic reviews - a 4/5 rating on GoodReads and a 4.3/5 on Amazon. The description of the book reads: "More than 20 years ago, Claire and Lydia’s sister Julia vanished. The two women have not spoken since - that is until Claire's husband is killed. The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago."


The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

3. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

Ever since Riley Sager's latest book, The House Across the Lake, was released it has been popping up on BookTok. But now that I've finished We Are All the Same in the Dark, I can see definite parallels between the two that have my interest piqued. If you haven't heard of it yet, here's the idea: A recently widowed actress flees to her family’s lake house after some bad press where she passes the time drinking and watching the couple in the house across the lake. Eventually, she gets to know the couple but when she does she realizes they aren't as perfect as she thought. So, when the wife disappears, Casey immediately points fingers at the husband, only to learn there might be more to the story than she ever imagined.


Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

4. Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

Not only does Jennifer Hillier's book, Things We Do in the Dark, focus on a murder suspect who we're not entirely sure is guilty or not, but it also ties back to an old crime, just like We Are All the Same in the Dark did. With over 32,000 GoodReads reviews and an average rating of 4/5, it seems to have a chance of stacking up against We Are All the Same in the Dark, especially if it actually is "impeccable, gripping, nail-biting, emotional, unputdownable."


The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

5. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water and We Are All the Same in the Dark have one big thing in common - a main character who may or may not be guilty of murder and a friend of theirs who has reason to believe they're innocent. However, there are some obvious differences that should make it an interesting reader including that it takes place 400 years ago on a ship at sea and has elements of "supernatural horror, occult suspicion, and paranormal mystery."



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