FORECAST FRIDAY: DARKNESS FALLS by Robert Bryndza
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, most of the ‘big’ crime book releases have already occurred, or will be hitting the bookshop shelves next week. One book that you are going to have to wait a little longer for is Robert Bryndza’s Darkness Falls (Sphere, 7 December 2021). Fortunately, it is worth the wait!
Robert Bryndza first gained attention with his series of books about London detective Erika Foster. The series had a strong serial killer theme to it and attracted a strong following, especially in the United Kingdom.
In 2019 Bryndza shifted to a new character, former police detective Kate Marshall who was eking out an existence as a lecturer at a small coastal English university and trying to forget the traumas of her past. Containing hints of Silence Of The Lambs, Nine Elms was a significant step-up for Bryndza and was a gripping tale that held attention till the end.
Darkness Falls is the third book in the Kate Marshall series and once again Bryndza has produced a
well-crafted tale that entertains and surprises. Kate, and her work partner Tristan, now manage a small local private detective agency and are struggling to stay afloat when they are offered a substantial job. Young female journalist Joanna Duncan went missing twelve years ago after exposing a political scandal. She was never found and while the police appear to have given up on the case, Joanna’s mother is desperate to find out what really happened. Kate and Tristan go back over the old files and find some unfollowed leads that suggest that Joanna was onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed.
Bryndza has really matured as an author, and Darkness Falls unfolds with clockwork precision as Kate and Tristan convincingly work their way through old clues and well described suspects. Some more recent murders add a good touch of suspense to the proceedings and the book has a really nice flow to it. The characterisations are rich and interesting, and the descriptions of the southern English coast add good texture to the book.
Red herrings and false leads are adroitly woven into the story, and while I correctly identified some of the key clues, I could not work out what they meant. After some clever detection by Kate, the story builds to a good and surprising ending, and there is plenty of tension in the closing chapters.
A very enjoyable British crime novel and my favourite of the Bryndza books so far.
Four to four and half stars out of five!
Darkness Falls will be released in Australia by Hachette on 7 December 2021 and in the United Kingdom on the same day. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for an advanced copy of the book.