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Murder on the First Date: Christina Bergling’s The Rest Will Come Turns Online Dating into a Nightmare

Christina Bergling’s novel, The Rest Will Come, tells the forlorn (and ultimately gruesome) tale of Emma, a divorced woman struggling to rediscover love in the treacherous and often pathetic world of online dating.

Every man whom Emma meets lies to her, uses her, abandons her, or outright rejects her. During a seemingly endless string of bad (and often sadly humorous) dates, Emma can’t help but be reminded of her former marriage to Justin, a seemingly nice guy who turned out to be a liar and an adulterer. Her best friend, Ronnie, encourages Emma to continue dating and does her best to buoy Emma’s spirits.

But what Ronnie fails to understand is that there is a festering darkness lurking within Emma, a distant homicidal pulse; a violent experience from Emma’s youth haunts her and reminds her of certain urges and tendencies dwelling within her soul. These desires soon manifest themselves in delightfully gory scenes of murder and dismemberment.

The Rest Will Come is a well-written black comedy of violence, revenge, and pathological madness — all set within an online-dating universe.

The text messages peppered throughout the story add to Emma’s plight, as do the snippets from her online dating profile and her message exchanges with possible paramours. There’s a lot of repetition in the novel (for example, Emma will experience an awful date, then tell Ronnie about that awful date, providing details that readers already know), and after a while it’s hard to distinguish, really, one bad date from another.

But the repetition might have been intentional on Bergling’s part, for slowly does Emma’s mind begin to crack under the constant and never-ending strain of ugliness, cruelty, and sexism. In this way, when the violence and bloodshed do erupt, readers are more likely to empathize with Emma and, perversely, cheer on her path of destruction and terror.

The Rest Will Come contains few surprises, but the novel is a fast and macabre read, and Emma is at her moody best when contemplating her own pathology and questioning her innate nature. In an interesting choice, Bergling rarely suggests that Emma is ever close to being caught for her crimes, which again firmly plants the book in dark comedic territory rather than in the suspense or thriller genres.

The only real misstep, for me, was the somewhat predictable plot device that’s used to neatly tie up the book’s conclusion. It certainly works, but I would have liked it to be a little less telegraphed.

Available now from Limitless Publishing, Christina Bergling’s The Rest Will Come will appeal to those who have endured the horrors of online dating…and for anyone who has discovered love in all the wrong places.

A fast-paced read, the novel gets bloody, too, so horror fans will find something of great merit as well.

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