Although I’m trying hard not to take on new blog tours because my TBR is threatening to bury me, I simply couldn’t resist taking part in this one for The Dark by Emma Haughton as I’ve visited Antarctica where the book is set. My enormous thanks to Jenny Platt at Hodder for inviting me to participate. I’m delighted to share my review of The Dark today.
Published by Hodder on 19th August 2021, The Dark is available for purchase through the links here.
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 of The Dark
Kate’s the new doctor at the research station in Antarctica.
I thoroughly, thoroughly, enjoyed The Dark. Emma Haughton has created an atmospheric, claustrophobic thriller that twists and turns in a chilling locked room style narrative. Despite the modern setting of an Antarctic research station that gives it a fresh appeal, The Dark has all the best hallmarks of traditional crime fiction so that it belongs very firmly within that body of work.
The sense of place is magnificent. The darkness, the relentless nothingness of the continent and the literal and metaphorical cold add a sense of danger and fear from the first page to the last that intensifies the reader’s own anxieties as they read. The Dark becomes chilling on many levels!
With the small number of characters that contracts as deaths occur, there’s a further sense of claustrophobia and Kate’s first person account heightens the intimacy of the narrative so that, despite the remoteness of the setting, The Dark feels very personal and immediate. I didn’t always agree with Kate’s attitudes and behaviour but because of Emma Haughton’s skilled characterisation, I still wanted her to triumph, be accepted and, above all else, escape being murdered! What I enjoyed so much was that I guessed the killer’s identity several times – until, of course, they became a victim, thereby wrong-footing me and adding to my engagement with the writing.
I found the plot fast paced and exciting, but as well as a completely engaging and entertaining story in The Dark, Emma Haughton makes the reader wonder just how they might cope in a similar setting. She weaves in themes of human interaction and relationship that could quite easily be studied in the very setting of the book, giving it an extra authenticity too. Add in addiction, truth and lies, guilt and forgiveness, authority and abnegation amongst other themes and The Dark becomes even more interesting and multi-layered. The narrative works brilliantly on so many levels.
I found The Dark deliciously menacing from the first line. It is a cracking thriller and I recommend it completely.
About Emma Haughton
Emma Haughton grew up in Sussex, studied English at Oxford and worked as a journalist for several national newspapers, including The Times Travel section. Emma has written several non-fiction books for schools as well as YA thrillers. This is her first crime novel.
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