Saturday, March 14, 2015
Darkside by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published December 2010
Belinda Bauer's second volume in The Exmoor Trilogy is a psychological thriller even better than the first.
Four years after the events in Blacklands, Shipcott is shaken by the murder of an elderly invalid in her own home. Local constable Jonas Holly is pushed out of the investigation early on as DCI Marvel and his crack CID team arrive to take over.
Holly, whose wife Lucy suffers from advanced MS and needs his help, should be relieved. He is not, as he soon starts receiving intimidating notes, increasingly threatening, and is compelled to assert and insert himself in order to protect the village.
This novel is either a police procedural or a psychological thriller, depending on the reader. For me, the murderer was subtly revealed in the very early pages, and the tension developed from the progression of both the killer and the investigation. I doubted myself, I was convinced, I was brokenhearted. I didn't relax for a single page. It was beautifully constructed.
If the early and indirect hints elude, the reader is free to take on the role of the police as their frustration, fear, and anger build unrelentingly. It's a tricky little whodunnit.
Even if you crack the story, the ending is still surprisingly shocking. It's a top-notch crime story either way.
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