Book Review: What Lies in the Dark, by C.M. Thompson

Synopsis:what lies

One murder can make a town nervous. Two brings fear.
Add three, four and even more, and watch neighbours turn on suspicious neighbours.
Victoria Bullrush  or Bullface, as she is called by fellow police officers,  is a stickler for rules. As she tries to maintain a faultless investigation, she can’t ignore the public’s growing anger.
But what lies in the dark is palpable, waiting.
Can anyone stay calm enough to catch the killer?

Amazon US|Goodreads|Amazon UK

Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Hookline Books
Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley , in excanged for my honest review. Thank you NetGalley, Hookline Books, and  C.M. Thompson.

My Review: What Lies in the Dark, by Thomson, is a mystery & thriller/crime novel, and Thompson’s first book. Many would recommend it for adults, but I think 16+ teenagers can read it as well. If they can watch horror films, they can handle this book, especially since there are no gore scenes, or anything like that.
 The book is fast paced, and the chapters are short. There are many plot twist, which is great. I had so many theories, and most of them proved to be wrong. At first I thought it was Robert, then Elisabeth, and so on. I liked the fact that the plot was unpredictable. It made me pay more attention to the story, and make mental notes. We find out who the killer is in the penultimate chapter. The author made certain hits that let the reader figure it out (finally!).
 One of my theories did prove to be right, though 😀 . I did guess what was the deal with the numbers. However, it wasn’t my only theory about them.  At first, I thought what Bullface thought. Then, I thought they were random numbers, and the killer was just messing with the officers. After I read the victim’s numbers side by side, I finally guessed. Obviously, I wasn’t 100% sure; my idea was confirmed by the killer.
 The novel has some humor in it as well. Thee jokes are not about the victims, or anything like that. Usually, it involves the officers (example: Bullface eating the plastic wrapper, and throwing away the chocolate). I think it was a nice touch. Loosen up the tension a little bit.
 The book is written in different points of view, including the killer’s, and it is a third person narrative. We see how Victoria Bullrush and her partner, Arron Fletcher, are trying to catch the serial killer, and then we read how the killer is watching them. There are also scenes from the victims’ points of view, dead or alive. Usually, when a random character has a scene, she/he ends up to be the next victim. I think the different points of view are very effective. They help paint a more vivid picture. A city plagued by a serial killer; everybody is afraid, and paranoid. The town’s folks have their own theories, and suspects. Usually, the outcasts are the ones on people’s lips. Typical.
 I think the novel has three main characters: Bullface, Fletcher, and the killer. We get to know them as the story unfolds. There are no physical descriptions, and we also don’t get to know their ages. However, it is not hard to guess their approximate age. For example, we find out that Bullface is married, and she worked as a policewomen for at least 20 years. Obviously, she’s over 40. I don’t think it matters that much anyway, since the book is not about their life story, even though we do get some insight in their personal lives. I actually felt pity for Bullface, and Fletcher. It is not easy to be an officer, and it does affect your life in major ways. In general, we do figure out what kind of persons they are, and what made them be that way; they’re not empty shells.
The killer’s point of view helps us understand him better. Why is he killing people, and what does he get out of it. I do think he is a realistic serial killer. There were some killers like him in real life, and there are documentaries about them. From a physiological point of view, it makes sense. Our killer is the type of person who feels powerful, and he wants to prove that he is better than the police officers. He is toying with them; he is toying with the whole city. From the outside, he appears to be a normal person. Nothing screams murderer when you look at him.
There are some scenes from secondary characters’ points of view as well.  At first they seem to not add much to the story. However, I think their purpose is to show how people would get when they’re afraid. In their eagerness to catch the killer, or to become heroes, innocent people are accused of murder, and they’re forced to deal with the press, and with the public’s outrage. Nobody trusts anybody, and they turn against each other.

The different points of view can be a little bit confusing. I am used to it, since I read many books with different POV. However, some people will find it hard to follow, especially if they don’t pay attention.

I don’t remember reading the city’s name. We just know it is a city, somewhere in United Kingdom. In a way it makes sense. There are crimes, and murderers in most cities, so it could’ve happened anywhere in the world.

The ending is open, and is not a happy one.( Or maybe it is a little bit happy; Bullface did not let the killer escape – I hope). Some people will like it, some will not. I personally like open endings, especially when they’re done nicely, like in this book. It makes you question the story, and think about the novel. I know the ending is connected a little bit with the first chapter, but I am not sure what it means. Did the killer come back? The last chapter gives you the impression that he was … . Or maybe it is someone else. Maybe it is not a killer, it’s a rapist. Or maybe it already happened, before the killer was discovered. The reader is free to come up to his/her own conclusions, and maybe choose the right ending for her/him.
Personally, I would’ve like to know more about Kain, and what happened to her. We get a general idea, but not many details.

There is no page about the author at the back of the book. I would’ve like to read a little bit about the her.

The cover is simple, yet beautiful. It does connect with the story.

Overall, a nice read. The novel pulls you into the story, and you’ll find yourself making theories while you’re reading it until the last two chapters. It was a nice break from the fantasy books. I recommend this novel to anyone who likes suspense and crime novels, or wants to try something different.


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