January 7th, 2021 by Jane Turner
This review of The Dark Room by Sam Blake came through a Blog Tour by Random Things. I was sent an ARC paperback. The Dark Room is published today, 7 January 2021, by Corvus Books.
Hare’s Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery…
Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing.
New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner.
As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…
I must admit that this one took me a while, and I’m not really sure why. It flows well, the characters are believable and engaging. It just seemed like not much really happened until the last third. And I finished that last third in 2hrs – stayed up late to do it!
Rachel’s houseboat is broken into and her partner hit by a car on the same day – it doesn’t take long to think there’s a connection. She needs somewhere quiet to stay for a while. Caroline is under threat from a lawsuit, not supported by her boss and needs a break, alone and uncontactable. Country house hotel, Hare’s Landing, seems to suit them both, and they meet in the lounge – under the watchful eye of a painting of Honoria, the grand house’s tragic former owner.
As the only guests during a bleak January, of course they chat. And, of course, Caroline’s reporter instinct is triggered by the grand house’s mysteries: tales of disappearances, lost loves and sheds full of beautiful antique furniture.
When Caroline finds an undeveloped roll of film in a piece of furniture not touched for 30+ years, things start to get interesting, and they realise there might be even more connections between their cases…
I did enjoy The Dark Room. Ms Blake is a talented author, no doubt. I just wish there was a little more action – this one flows more like an Irish stream, slow and gentle, than rages like a great storm. Until that last third…
Give it a go. The mystery is intriguing, the writing style engaging and the mysteries themselves… well, they do make you wonder!
It all starts with a homeless man…
Sam Blake is a pseudonym for Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, the founder of The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and the hugely popular national writing resources website Writing.ie. She is Ireland’s leading literary scout and has assisted many award-winning and bestselling authors to publication. As Sam Blake, she has written four previous novels and has topped the Irish bestseller chart.
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