Thursday 21 September 2017

Review: Dark Side by Belinda Bauer

Bantam Press, €12.99, Paperback

Jonas Holly is a conscientious young police constable assigned to a deeply rural beat in the Avon and Somerset district in England. In another life he was an ambitious metropolitan detective, but when his wife Lucy developed MS and became an invalid, he settled for the much more mundane job of being the only local bobby to seven scattered country villages.

But in the depths of winter a serial killer strikes terror into the isolated community by murdering vulnerable old people. Jonas, who feels he's best equipped to track down the murderer, is contemptuously sidelined by the sour and embittered Inspector Marvel.

As the body count rises, the killer starts leaving him personal notes suggesting he's not up to the job of catching him. Compounding his distress is the fact that Lucy's condition is worsening. Humiliated professionally and personally, Jonas decides to run his own parallel investigation.

This is Belinda Bauer's second book. Her first, Blacklands, won a raft of awards. With it's well-drawn characters and its claustrophobic setting in a snow-bound village, Dark Side is an impressive follow-up.

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