… captivating supernatural crime thriller …
Emily, my excellent bookseller, thought I might like this … and I was dubious as I’m more of an urban fantasy girl myself. But, what a read! This book is written in the present tense balancing the supernatural world of ghosts with the growing tension of a stalker about to pounce. Its charm builds slowly as the book starts with a boiler plate policeman, DI Dark, who is nursing a broken marriage and a serious drink problem – so what’s new? Well, quite a lot as it turns out.
AK Benedict deftly plays her stock characters and various strands: a blind mudlark, a vengeful spirit, a psychic funeral director, a criminal ring, and a taxi driving ghost around the main plot of a stalker planning to take his next victim. DI Dark has already failed to catch this stalker and a miasma of desperation and grief hangs around this story of murder victims, brutal coercion and fading ghosts. This is lightened by believable characters that linger long after you’ve stopped reading and a truly wonderful and intriguing Maria, the object of the stalker’s desire: “I’m a stalkee. He’s not MY stalker.”; and her guide dog, Billy who huffs.
AK Benedict also has great fun scattering potential candidates for the stalker liberally around the story : is it Denver, the computer whizz, or Martin, the would-be boyfriend or some one else in the Force? My mind started to jump with the possibilities.
This is a captivating supernatural crime thriller. I was rooting for DI Dark and Maria all the way and do I hope they return sometime soon.
AK Benedict lives in Hastings and writes in a room filled with teapots and the severed head of a ventriloquist’s dummy. Her debut novel, The Beauty of Murder, was shortlisted for an eDunnit award and is in development for an 8-part TV series. Her audio drama, The Victorian Age, was released as part of the Torchwood range at Big Finish while Outbreak, a full-cast Torchwood audio co-written with Guy Adams and Emma Reeves, will be released in November 2016.
Cover design moment: The designer of the smart UK cover is credited in AK’s blog. He is the lovely Patrick Knowles who is responsible for the hand lettering and cover design for Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London series.
Jonathan Dark was published in February 2016 by Orion Books. I was given a proof copy by A Festival of Books. Thanks, Em!