Book review: The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 Permalink

I made certain assumptions as I read this book. Assumptions which – now I’ve had time to ponder them and actually check – don’t seem to be the case.

When we meet homicide detective Gavin Cain, for example, he’s concerned about his girlfriend Lucy, who he met in a previous case, and he’s assisted by a computer specialist he met during that case. We eventually learn it involved a school shooting and Lucy was a key witness… something that’s (understandably) impacted her psychological health. I was intrigued. “I’ll have to read the previous book in the series,” I thought.

And yet… when I later sought information, it seems Moore’s previous book The Poison Artist doesn’t seem to have involved Cain. At all. Hashtag: am confused.

Book review: The Dark Room by Jonathan MooreThe Dark Room
by Jonathan Moore
Published by Orion
on February 23rd 2017
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Police Procedural, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 9781409165026
Pages: 304

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.

It’s hard now to review this book in light of the missing backstory. I assumed gaps in my knowledge… why Cain has a new partner, issues with the previous medical examiner, Cain’s history with Lucy and the story of the school shooting all originated in The Poison Artist. But, unless I’m now looking at a different book, it doesn’t seem to have been the case. (Or am I going mad?!)

Having said all of that, it sounds as if The Poison Artist similarly includes a cold case of sorts. And… for the most part, I enjoyed this book. If I don’t mull too much over it in retrospect. And it’s a good sign that I am. It’s sticking in my head, though some of it isn’t making sense… such as the motives of one of the players. And their ultimate actions.

However… I very much liked Cain. And his work team and colleagues, including FBI agent Karen Fischer. And obviously I was hooked by the backstory about Lucy and how she met Cain. And the seemingly eccentric IT guru Matt Redding, who we meet but briefly, was also great.

The book’s well-written and the links between the ‘now’ and ‘then’ are clever. And kinda macabre. I’m not sure I was entirely convinced by the eventual whodunnit and why, particularly as they related to the final scenes. But again, that’s probably more about my post-completion over-analysis than the narrative itself, which kept me turning page after page.

The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.



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