Title: After Dark (Abigail Boone #2)
Author: Dominic Nolan
Publication date: 5 March 2020
Number of pages: 433
Format read: advance reader copy
Favourite book alert 5 stars
A girl held captive her entire life
After a shocking discovery, the police must unravel a mystery that horrifies the nation.
A detective condemned as a criminal
Violently abducted while searching for a missing woman, D.S. Abigail Boone suffered retrograde amnesia – remembering nothing of her previous life. Defying the law to hunt those responsible, she now languishes behind bars.
A monster hiding in the shadows
In desperation, police turn to Boone – who fears a connection to the disappearance of a child three decades earlier…and a mysterious underworld figure whose name is spoken only in whispers.
Freed from prison, what will Boone sacrifice – and who must she become – to uncover the terrifying truth?
Tragic and lyrical. After Dark is an immersion into grey waters. Is it an enjoyable read? No. We crime fiction lovers, sometimes discover stories that are too dark to be enjoyable or fun. We get our escapism through the thrill of danger and the exploration of the depths of the human mind. My favourite mazes are the ones home to real-life monsters. To face them, writers must create protagonists strong enough to make their reader root for them, or at least, care. I often find one character whose side I’ll take. I usually appreciate intricate plots.
This time, I loved everything. And I almost hated loving reading this book so much. Conflicting emotions fought for over three hundred pages as I was drawn into a world that felt so close to mine it hurt.
When asked what you would consider the worst thing to happen, what would you choose? Having your life stolen and being left to the most horrendous fate? Being turned into a hunter after having faced one too many atrocities? Watch your life crumble when you become a collateral in a war you are not a part of?
To be honest, all answers are valid. Each bring their suitcase of pain that characters have to drag along.
You are probably wondering what I am talking about. Aren’t I supposed to be discussing After Dark, Dominic Nolan’s latest book? I AM. Here is the state I am in right after I finished reading. I won’t tweak my review, because I am a firm believer that throwing all your emotions onto paper (or a screen) is the way to convey your most honest feelings. No time to think too much about how to introduce an element. No over-analysis (I hope) Just the naked truth of how a novel has affected you. Well, I drowned in the waves of After Dark. I kept my eyes out for a light, was knocked out more than once, and left feeling my skin was raw and rough, salted by the sea and the tears. If you haven’t guessed it yet, After Dark wins the ‘crime masterpiece’ award.
‘Loneliness leaked from the shadows and light beat it back into dark corners’
A little girl is found – she can’t speak, she appears to have been abused, she barely understands the world around her. DI Bowen, or Barb for friends and family, quickly comes to the conclusion she has been held captive, and soon, this new case forces her to open old doors. Literally. When hints points to an old investigation, Abigail Boone is offered an out of jail card. Like a Joker, Boone has answers and connections. I should add she is a hunter. Like a dog with a bone, she will stop at nothing to right wrongs. Her past as a police officer is light on the balance of justice, and Boone is determined to dig with all her strength for truths, to hell with procedure.
After Dark is savage. The plot will eat you alive. The characters will rip your heart out. Friendships, family, colleagues, many ties link the pawns in this game, for better and for worse. Dominic Nolan has written an intricate and powerful thriller which won’t help you find sleep. It is plunged in darkness, and we are shown the way out by an author who knows what he is doing, not going for shortcuts. On the contrary, he throws the reader into a forest plagued with traps. Losing myself in it was extraordinary cathartic and absolute torture. I was so angry at the unfairness of life that several times I caught myself thinking ‘give me a break!’ but life doesn’t, and neither does Dominic! Yet, the story is like a punch in the gut, and you want to fight back. Reading After Dark was exhilarating. With an excellent prose and a magnificent characterisation, Dominic Nolan pushed me so far I ended up blurring the lines of good and bad, justice and revenge. No black or white. I wandered a land of beautiful greys and swam in an exquisitely cold sea of pure crime.
I freaking loved this book, and you will too.
I urge you to get your copy! Follow the link!
I would like to thank Rosie Margesson at Headline for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and honour the novel on publication day. This review is my unbiased opinion.