22 January 2024

Review: DARKNESS FALLS, Robert Bryndza

  • this edition published by Sphere 2021
  • ISBN 978-0-7515-7280-3
  • 356 pages
  • #3 in the Kate Marshall series

Synopsis (publisher)

Kate Marshall's detective agency takes off when she and her partner Tristan are hired to investigate a cold case from over a decade ago. Twelve years previously, a determined young journalist called Joanna Duncan exposed a political scandal that had major repercussions. In the fallout she disappeared without trace and was never found.

When Kate and Tristan examine the case files, they find the trail long cold, but they discover the names of two young men who also vanished at that time. As she begins to connect their last days, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer preying on the people who few will ever miss.

But the closer Kate comes to finding the killer, the darker things become . . . 

My Take

Well constructed layered plot with an unexpected twist at the end.

We are unexpectedly introduced to the serial killer early in the novel. He sees himself as exacting revenge for various beatings he has suffered throughout his life from bullies and homophobes because of his sexuality. But Tom leads a double life and only towards the end of the story do we learn his real identity. By then he has been responsible for the deaths of a number of young men who have vanished without trace.

But the story begins with a cold case - a young female journalist who disappeared after work, whose mother is looking for closure. The police have declared her disappearance a cold case and have handed all their files over to the family to be shared with an investigator. As they begin to go through the papers and boxes Kate and her partner Tristan come across some names and a phone number that the police do not seem to have followed up on. 

As Kate says several times, she and Tristan have nothing else to occupy them or distract them, whereas for the police this was just one case among hundreds. So following leads is really important to them, although I found the detail that many of their contacts remembered quite surprising. Also was their willingness to share information with private investigators.

A good story. This series is recommended.

My rating: 4.6

I've also read

4.6, DARK WATER - #1
4.8, LAST BREATH - #4
4.7, COLD BLOOD - #5
Kate Marshall
4.7, NINE ELMS - #1
4.7, SHADOW SANDS - #2 

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