What Lies in Darkness
July 10, 2024

Book Review

What Lies in Darkness

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Just before Christmas last year, 16-year-old Alice Harper lost her entire family. She was found injured at the scene of a car crash on the dark, icy roads around Black Lake. Of her parents and younger sister Ella, who were also in the car, there was no sign. Neither they, nor their bodies, have been found since and the police have no clues about what could have happened to them.

Now, 12 months later Alice, living with her aunt Mel and uncle Jack, is still trying to come to terms with all she has lost and the changes her life has undergone. The investigation into the disappearance and whereabouts of her family has stalled, but is suddenly reignited when her sister Ella’s blood-stained backpack is found in the basement of an abandoned house. 

Detective Jess Lambert, leading the investigation, is trying to re-establish her career after the car accident that nearly ended her career and her life in the previous novel ‘These Still Black Waters’. As the driver and survivor of the crash that killed her young daughter Isla, she is still battling her own demons and understands what Alice has gone through. The accident left Jess with a painful, damaged leg and also the guilt she feels for Isla’s death and she not only sees Isla’s ghost everywhere, but also talks to her. Alice has also been seeing the ghost of her father Pete as well as that of a little girl who is trying to tell her something. 

Told through the eyes of multiple narrators in both past and current time lines, this intensely dark psychological suspense is full of tension. Centred around Black Lake and the adjacent dark, lonely forest in the depths of winter, it’s a very atmospheric tale with an overall feeling of darkness and the presence of ghosts adding a creepy supernatural element. 

Alice is an unreliable narrator, clearly holding something back from the police, while Jess is an amazingly tough, resilient woman, determined to find out what happened to the Harpers. There are quite a few secondary characters, many hiding secrets and lies for their own reasons. There is also a lot going on in a fairly complicated plot that will keep the reader guessing about what really happened. However, rest assured it does all come together, following some unexpected twists and revelations, by the superbly crafted ending. 

With thanks to Thomas and Mercer via Netgalley for a copy to read.

What Lies in Darkness is available at:

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