Kate Marshall – a former police detective and university lecturer in criminology now has her own private investigator business. Kate is a single mother in her mid-forties whose teenage son attends university. Though she has been sober for the past several years, she continues to battle against the alcoholism which almost derailed both her work and home life. Now she lives in a cottage overlooking the sea in which she swims every morning, no matter the weather. Thanks to an inheritance from Myra, her friend and sobriety sponsor, she was bequeathed an office near her home at the seaside.
Tristan Harper – is an intelligent and astute young gay man in his twenties. He works at the university part time and is Kate’s partner in the private investigation business. He is the perfect foil for Kate, and their relationship wields an admirable balance.
This time out the partners in their fledgling PI business are tasked with discovering what happened to a young journalist who disappeared without trace some twelve years ago – meanwhile trying to keep their new business solvent.
“That powerful moment just before death, when darkness falls in their eyes.”
Rich characterization and a page-turning plot makes for a fast-paced, and interesting story. This is the third in the Kate Marshall series following “Nine Elms” and “Shadow Sands”. Anyone who missed reading the first two novels in the series should have no qualms about reading “Darkness Falls” as enough background information is included that it reads very well as a stand-alone novel. However, I think it enriches the reading experience if you read the series in order to get the complete backstory of the characters.
I enjoyed Kate Marshall’s character and her relationships with her assistant, and her son. All were rich and believable. Kate has more baggage than most women in their forties and she is working hard to leave it behind her – including her longing for alcohol. A ‘day at a time’ battle that she is determined to overcome.
The atmospheric locale added greatly to my enjoyment of the novel.
The narrative is well-balanced between the ‘case’ and Kate’s home life. This time out the duo seek to achieve what the police have failed to do in twelve years. They want to find out what became of the journalist Joanna Duncan. Also, this story tells of their efforts to maintain the caravan park and dive shop that were part of Kate’s inheritance from Myra.
“Darkness Falls” probes themes of duplicity and crimes against gay men.
The ending was the perfect denouement to show how they solved the case and also as a lead-up to the next Kate Marshall title which is highly anticipated by me.
Highly recommended to all lovers of intelligent crime fiction.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley.
Robert Bryndza began his career training at the Guildford School of Acting. He spent six years as an actor, doing all kinds of strange jobs in between, which was the perfect training for being an author. He began to write during a long period of unemployment, first comedy sketches, a show which he took to the Edinburgh Festival, and then four romantic comedy novels which he self-published, and they became Amazon charts bestsellers selling over 250,000 copies.
His debut crime thriller The Girl in the Ice was the first book in his Detective Erika Foster series. It has sold over 1 million copies in the English language, and won the Dead Good Reader Award for best kick-ass female character at the 2016 Harrogate Crime Festival. Erika Foster has gone on to kick-ass in five further books; The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets. The series was twice nominated in Goodreads Choice Awards (Mystery and Thriller category) in 2016 for The Girl in the Ice, and in 2017 for Last Breath. Robert’s books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language, and have been translated into 29 languages.
Nine Elms, the first book in his new Kate Marshall private detective series was first published late in 2019 and was an instant Amazon USA no.1 bestseller, an Amazon UK top 10 bestseller and topped bestselling charts around the world. The second book in the series, Shadow Sands, will be published in November 2020. Robert is British and lives in Slovakia.