Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins is the fourth book I’ve read by the English author and she certainly does domestic noir brilliantly. I was fooled here for much of the novel and quite surprised by the direction it takes. I note in my review of When I Was Ten I commented on her adding in a few twists when we assumed we had all of the answers and she does the same thing here. It takes a clever writer to keep secrets from her readers when her narrators are seemingly telling us everything we need to know.
Into the Dark
by Fiona Cummins
Published by Macmillan
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.
THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family - Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie - has vanished from the house without a trace.
THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.
One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.
In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:
MAKE THEM STOP
There’s a bit happening in this novel, but not to the detriment of the plot. The book opens with Julianne arriving at Piper’s for their regular run… only to find no one home and signs of the family having departed – perhaps against their will – suddenly.
Cummins then flicks back and forth in time – hours, days and weeks before the Holden family’s disappearance. Cummins adds in a bit of texture as we learn about potential marital issues, dodgy business dealings and a daughter who’s less-perfect than she comes across. Not to mention Piper’s relationship with best friend Julianne who seems to have her own secrets… including a funeral-going fetish it takes time to understand.
And then there’s Anguish. Not the emotion (!!!) but newly appointed Detective Constable Saul Anguish who appeared in the Bone Collector series. This isn’t billed as part of that series (however) and Cummins gives us enough backstory that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read Rattle or The Bone Collector. We’re easily put in the picture of someone who’s not bound by the rules and believes in right and wrong more than ‘justice’.
I very much enjoyed this book and loved its pacing. It’s initially intriguing and I wondered what became of the Holden family; but by the midpoint, we get an entirely different picture of events and this is where Cummins excels via cleverly-concealed details and timely reveals. Each time I thought we had the entire story, she mixed it up again and in some ways it’s quite shocking. For the easily shocked. Or you know…. the non-sociopaths.
Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.