Shipcott in bleak mid-winter: a close knit community where no stranger goes unnoticed. So when an elderly woman is murdered in her bed, village policeman Jonas Holly is doubly shocked. How could someone have killed and left no trace?
Jonas finds himself sidelined as the investigation is snatched away from him by an abrasive senior detective. Is his first murder investigation over before it’s begun?
But this isn’t the end of it for Jonas, because someone in the village is taunting him, blaming him for the tragedy, and watching every move he makes. Someone thinks he’s not doing hisjob. And when the killer claims another vulnerable victim, these taunts turn into sinister threats.
Blinded by rising paranoia, relentless snow and fear for his own invalid wife, Jonas strikes out alone on a mystifying hunt. But the threats don’t stop – and neither do the murders . . .
I read Belinda Bauer’s debut novel Blacklands last year and loved it so I couldn’t wait to get started on reading her new book. Set in the same community as Blacklands but a few years on Bauer again weaves a tense thriller that had me gripped from start to finish.
On first look the plot line looks like something you’d find in a typical British murder drama; a small community, a series of shocking murders, people who are hiding secrets and an incoming detective who thinks he knows it all. There is so much more to the book than this however, I found that each time I started to think I knew where it was going the rug was pulled from under me as another thread of the plot fell into place. When I got to the last few chapters I sat reading with my mouth wide open, the skillful conclusion of all of the threads left me thinking about the book for days.
One of things I love about Bauer’s writing is the way that every character is treated with such care and attention. I really felt like I knew so many of the characters that were popping up, whether they were vital to the plot or just part of the background. Whilst DCI Marvel was fairly obnoxious I felt he was probably pretty true to life, and at times he had me laughing out loud. It was also lovely to see Steven Lamb return from Blacklands, and see what life had brought him next.
Blacklands was a great book, Darkside is even better. If this is the way Belinda Bauer is developing I can not wait to see where she goes next.
“Darkside” is published in hardback by Transworld books in the UK priced £12.99 from 6th January 2011. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.