I’m so excited to be posting this review! Today is my stop on the After Dark blog tour and my first ever contribution to a blog tour. Headline have organised this blog tour to celebrate the release of Dominic Nolan’s second novel, and the latest appearance of D.S. Abigail Boone, After Dark following Past Life published in 2019.
D.S. Abigail Boone has suffered already. She was violently abducted while searching for a missing woman and suffered retrograde amnesia – remembering nothing of her previous life. Not her husband. Not her son. She now languishes behind bars for defying the law to hunt those responsible. However, the police now turn to Boone in desperation, attempting to unravel the childhood of a mysterious girl held captive her entire life. Boone fears a horrifying connection between this girl, a child’s disappearance unsolved for three decades and a shadowy underworld figure spoken of only in frightened whispers. Freed from prison, who must Boon become to uncover the terrifying truth?
Boone is as gritty, complex and unpredictable as the synopsis promises. As she connects two groups, even three if you count those she would rather see dead, each representing a different method of justice she perfectly synthesises the narrative, connecting all the dots but never too soon, for the reader. After Dark intricately supplies both methodical police procedure and ominous, high-pressure action depicting the very activities the police procedures are attempting to uncover. Whereas this could easily lead a reader to prefer one over the other, Nolan ensures Boone’s connections to each character are so embedded and interconnected that they overlap far more than initially expected. This is my first suspenseful mystery to incorporate aspects of a crime narrative, and I truly enjoyed it far more than I expected to and it brought me straight back to watching ITV police dramas like Midsummer Murders. After Dark offers the perfect transition for thriller fans into crime, crime fans towards straight thrillers or a recommendation for those wanting to try reading after loving crime dramas.
Speaking of Boone’s intricate web of connections with the other characters. Kate Porter, Tess, Storm, and another character whose appearance I won’t spoil are just so genuine, and their care for Boone allows for some touching interludes not included as often as they perhaps should be in crime thrillers, on the small screen or in book form, such as this one. Therefore, their inclusion here offered moments of relief regardless of the difficulties of Boone’s situation or the complexities she’s going to, inadvertently, inflict on others. However, the ending is genuinely heartbreaking, and that’s all I’m going to say.
Barbra stole the show for me. She’s simply trying to keep all of her plates, relationship, job, sanity, spinning despite every curveball thrown her way most in the form of Boone. She also tries to do the best she can within each situation and, most importantly, to her, in the remit, her job allows, unlike others who flirt with the line. Barb’s relationship with Barry doesn’t need too much page time, and it is quickly established to be a genuine one there but not at the forefront of the working relationship of two professionals. Also, her relationship with Boone, after many turns, culminates excellently in mixing the letting of frustrations with a stiffness suited to the sheer extremity of their shared events.
Oh, the twists and turns in this book, how they keep the reader on their toes! Each piece of information was realistic, well connected and fascinating. Still, the shock value, to the credit of Nolan’s writing, comes in the skill of the simple drop during dialogue or narrative. Again, as a mix of crime and thrills, I loved it, and I’m intrigued to try the crime genre more in the future.
These twists were successful due to the intricate set-up and fascinating mysteries introduced in the opening of the novel. I loved each of these mysteries, where is Kate Porter’s son, why is Boone in prison but most of all the sheer lack of information surrounding the small girl found after being kept captive her entire life named Molly by police. The descriptions of her injuries and suffering are confronting and complex but fascinating. However, this brought about my only snag with After Dark. I felt that across the 400+ pages of After Dark, and despite consistent checks, the mystery surrounding Molly was shifted to the side of the narrative. It was overwhelmed by another mystery, utterly deserving of the page time and equally intricate and fascinating, but this led to a simple summarising revelation to conclude Molly’s narrative. Whereas I enjoyed the cast of characters, I would have also liked to see more of the public reaction to Molly’s case and see the revelations and details explored to the fullest extent it deserved.
Overall, Nolan’s After Dark is a page-turner providing fascinating aspects all round from characters to plot and action. Whereas Barbra stole the show for me and I feel I preferred the police procedural aspects the inclusion of both action and intricacy, again incorporated in both plot and character, ensures there is something here for each reader and their preferences.
Headline published Dominic Nolan’s After Dark on the 5th of March 2020.
I was fortunate to be sent an advanced reader’s copy of After Dark in exchange for this review as part of the blog tour. All views expressed in this review are my own, and I clarified to my contact at Headline that my reviews will always be honest. No links in this review are sponsored or affiliate links.
Thank you to Headline and Rosie Margesson for sending me my copy.
Goodreads: Vicky Lord