The Dark Room by Steve Mosby – a review

I first encountered Steve Mosby at last year’s festival, however this is the first of his books I’ve read which was actually a bit of a surprise. For some reason I’ve always assumed I’ve read his books but can’t find any evidence of it. It was one of the first books I bought at the festival this year.

After hearing the first round of ‘twittergate’ last year at the festival I must confess to having a bit of a soft spot for this chap. That means it’s always a gamble in case the book is a disappointment. Therefore I’m very pleased to say that the Dark Room was far from a disappointment.

The book starts with Detective Andrew Hicks and his partner Laura going to the scene of a crime where a woman has been murdered. To the Detectives it seems a simple case of a crime of passion and the first port of call is the ex-husband. However when a homeless person then turns up having been murdered in the same way things start to get more complicated. As far as Hick’s can tell people are being killed seemingly at random and with no links which goes completely against his belief that most murders are easily explained.

As the story progresses, alongside the other victims, we are introduced to a grieving candle-maker Levchenko and his wife Jasmina, the strange General and Hick’s pregnant wife Rachel. Hick’s has to solve these apparently unrelated murders as well deal with his own personal issues around family and impending fatherhood.

I really enjoyed this book. One of the elements that I thought stood out in this novel, and may indeed be a theme throughout the authors other works, is the anonymous setting. The author is from Leeds, a nearby city I’ve come to know better recently (although won’t be moving there!) but there is no indication that the story is based here. It could be set in any dark northern city. This gives the writing a certain blankness unusual to a lot of novels which nowadays often have the setting playing a key part to the stories.

The stories of the different characters were cleverly interwoven and the different viewpoints they were told from helped to make the switch between characters clearly identified. Overall I thought this book was very interesting, although I was a little disappointed by the perpetrators motive in the end. However that didn’t detract from what was a dark and disturbing tale. It was a great story, that keeps you gripped until the end. I’ll definitely be looking out for more Steve Mosby books in the future and am very pleased to hear he is going to be chairing the programme committee at next year’s festival.

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Filed under book review, Theakstons Festival

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