**** - The Dark
THE DARK EMMA HAUGHTON
In the most inhospitable environment - cut off from the rest of the world - there's a killer on the loose.
A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she's offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.
The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc's death wasn't accidental at all.
And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .
MY REVIEW ****
I love reading books with interesting and unique settings. The setting of a novel can really elevate even a very simple plot to new heights. The Dark executes this extremely well as Doctor Kate North tries to put her demons behind her by going to work at a UN research station in Antarctica. There seems to have been a lot of research gone into this book with the equipment and base setup as well as the hierarchies and job roles of the characters on the base and the medical conditions which might present themselves after a long period of isolation and no sunlight. Although on the one side this story is a simple crime thriller – the setting allows for some really interesting dynamics. There’s a small cast of characters, each from different countries and with secret backstories, there’s a claustrophobic atmosphere and a feeling of ever-present danger, not just from the ice outside but also the precarious nature of the base and how it operates.
The Dark for me was a really engaging read, I felt compelled to keep picking it up to find out what would happen next. Its very action packed and there is a lot going on – particularly towards the end when it suddenly gets very fast-paced. Although there’s a small cast of characters, I didn’t feel that it was obvious who the culprit was – in fact I kept changing my mind from character to character as I tried to guess. With hindsight though a few of the decisions the killer made were a bit confusing – I didn’t understand why they cut the power, putting themselves at risk for example.
Kate is an interesting main character although I found it was hard to warm up to her. She makes some questionable decisions, and I did want to yell at her for the way she spoke to certain people and the way she was acting. It was nice to have a flawed main character though and her addiction to pain medication was a nice touch. I do think that her withdrawal could have been explored more as that very much took a back seat to the main action towards the end. I also liked how her whole backstory was only hinted at throughout, with you only getting snippets about ‘the accident’ until the full story was revealed right at the end.
Overall, The Dark is a claustrophobic read in a fascinating setting – engaging and well written. Thank you to NetGalley & Hodder and Stoughton for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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