“They thought they’d buried their secrets
Homicide inspector Gavin Cain is standing by a grave when he gets the call. Cain knows there’s something terrible in the coffin they’re about to exhume. He and his team have received a dying man’s confession and it has led them here.
But death doesn’t guarantee silence
Cain is summoned by Mayor Castelli, who has been sent sinister photographs of a woman that he claims he doesn’t know and a note threatening that worse are on their way.
And now light will be shone on a very dark place…
As Cain tries to identify the woman in the pictures, and looks into the mayor’s past, he finds himself being drawn towards a situation as horrifying and as full of secrets as the grave itself.”
Welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted today to be sharing my review of The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore which I have selected as one of my #15BooksofSummer challenge reads. The Dark Room was published by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats. I received an eARC of The Dark Room but this has in no way influenced my review.
I read Jonathan Moore’s The Poison Artist back in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was whilst sharing that review that a fellow book blogger, someone whose opinion I really respect, suggested I give The Dark Room a go. Unfortunately, due to being the slowest of readers and having a burgeoning NetGalley TBR, I have only recently gotten around to it. The Dark Room felt a little different to The Poison Artist in tone but is still a very enjoyable read.
Inspector Gavin Cain of the San Francisco Police Department is about to get some answers as he stands by the recently exhumed grave of a thirty-year-old corpse. That is until his Lieutenant calls and orders him to the Mayor’s Office – she’s sending a chopper and there’s no time to waste. Cain arrives, is introduced to Mayor Castelli and takes what seems like an instant dislike to the man. The Mayor confides that he has received a number of potentially incriminating photographs in the post along with a threatening note. These are the first four snaps. There are another eight to come. The note suggests that maybe the Mayor would like to commit suicide before the photographs fall into the wrong hands and he is exposed. Castelli claims to not know who the woman is and wants Cain to discover her identity. But the Mayor is hiding something and the further back into the Mayor’s past Cain digs, the more secrets he uncovers…
This is a slow burn, noirish thriller set in San Francisco. The slow drip of information as you watch the case unfold and as Cain joins the dots makes it an enjoyable read. Helped along by the wonderful setting and the fascinating characters. And, having read this author before, I can safely say he likes to throw the odd shock twist into the story to give his readers a bit of a start. Cain is an interesting chap and one I would happily read more of if this were a series (it’s not, it’s a standalone). He’s a very experienced SFPD Inspector and takes no bull (not even from the Mayor or his Lieutenant). I don’t feel the reader really gets to know him though. You learn so much more about his partner, piano teacher Lucy, than you do about him. Maybe he’s meant to be more of an enigma – after all, there’s only so far you can go with a character when they feature in only one book. Other characters in the book are well drawn, particularly the Mayor’s daughter, Alexa, who drove me crazy.
The ending absolutely fitted the story and it was the right way for the author to go but I was left feeling a little disappointed. I think that says more about me than the writing though. I wanted something a little more showy, more of a BANG than what we’re given.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. It’s an absorbing police procedural which pulls you in from start to finish – you just HAVE to know how this one is going to end. If you’re a fan of a slower paced crime read with a cast of intriguing characters then absolutely, you will enjoy this book. Recommended.
I chose to read and review an eARC of The Dark Room. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore was published in the UK by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |
Jonathan Moore is a Bram Stoker Award nominated author of five novels. His third novel, THE POISON ARTIST, was a selection of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. His novels have been translated into seven languages.
Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years, guided whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande, and worked as an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also been an English teacher, a bar owner, a counsellor at a wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and a textbook writer.