Hello Book Lover,
In 2019, I was fortunate enough to attend the #NewVoice2019 bloggers event in Liverpool held by the lovely folk at Headline, it was here that I came across writer Dominic Nolan and picked up his debut ‘Past Life’. I read last year, actually I devoured it and then couldn’t stop yacking on about it all year – you can find out why in my review here Review – Past Life by Dominic Nolan. In fact, I loved it so much that it was featured on my Top Reads of 2019 post which you can read here Top Reads of 2019.
So you can imagine how delighted I was when Rosie from Headline approached me and asked if she could send me a copy and invited me on the blog tour, it was dance around the kitchen excited. I couldn’t wait to get my fix of Boone and Barb again, two characters whom I found myself so explicitly drawn to.
I read After Dark in a little over 48 hours inhaling it in all it’s guts and glory, I laughed, cried, got very angry, fell a little bit in love with Abigail Boone, had to hide in down the sofa when it all got a bit too much and felt sad when I closed the final page. So, what’s it all about I here you ask.
See below the synopsis and my thoughts on this absolute cracker of a read.
After dark Synopsis.
A girl held captive her entire life
After a shocking discovery, the police must unravel a mystery that horrifies the nation.
A detective condemned as a criminal
Violently abducted while searching for a missing woman, D.S. Abigail Boone suffered retrograde amnesia – remembering nothing of her previous life. Defying the law to hunt those responsible, she now languishes behind bars.
A monster hiding in the shadows
In desperation, police turn to Boone – who fears a connection to the disappearance of a child three decades earlier…and a mysterious underworld figure whose name is spoken only in whispers.
Freed from prison, what will Boone sacrifice – and who must she become – to uncover the terrifying truth.
He has only gone and done it again!
A master at his craft Dominic Nolan takes noir to another level in his second novel, After Dark, firmly cementing him as one of the UK’s most exciting crime writers that I have had the pleasure of reading in recent years.
After Dark is the follow up to Past Life, which is an absolute cracker if you haven’t read it, definitely pick it up. In my opinion I don’t think that you necessarily need to have read it in order to enjoy After Dark as Dominic Nolan easily navigates the reader through Boone’s history, how she lost her husband, her son, her job and how she now lives in a transit/caravan on an ex criminals land with whom she has regular coffee chats. Now, that’s got you intrigued hasn’t it!?
Boone is a complex character, she is haunted by the death of her friend Roo, angered by the police who in her view continue to get things wrong and is seeking vengeance for the men who held her captive and robbed her of memory.
The narrative centres predominantly around the present day, and a current police investigation; a young girl is found by the side of the road, she has significant development delay and has clearly been in an abusive environment all of her life. Boone, who has been in prison for the past four years, is released in the hope that she will assist the police (namely her friend and ex colleague Barb) in finding out where this young girl has come from and the person who is responsible for the horrendous abuse she has suffered.
Boone finds herself unable to stand back, she is drawn to the investigation like a moth to a flame, feeling that she owes Roo and others answers. As she gets closer and closer to the seedy underworld, old names resurface, she finds herself in a difficult position and one which threatens her and those around her, but just how far will Boone go to seek justice for those who she has lost and what danger will she put those who have been left behind.
As well as the present day, the reader is also treated to a series of flashback chapters where we find out why and how Boone ended up in prison in the first place. I really enjoyed these chapters some of them were dark, really dark but you really find out a lot more about Boone, what drives her and how she becomes completely blind to everything around her once she sets her mind on something. I also learnt what sheep rustling was – who knew!?!
I think sometimes it’s easy to say a book is a page turner, After Dark really is but what makes Dominic Nolan stand out from his counter parts is that he is fantastic at not only creating a story that hooks you in but at also developing characters with depth and ones whom you actually care about. The dynamic between Boone and her ex police colleague Barb is once again perfectly executed, Barb is acerbic and has some cracking one liners with “Mary’s fanny” being a particular favourite. The relationships between Boone and Micky Box, Tess and Fitz, continued to evolve and change, throughout After Dark, responding namely to whatever Boone did or didn’t do.
This book is far from an easy read, Dominic Nolan writes gritty crime and After Dark is about as gritty as it gets, there were several parts where I had to take a few deep breaths and set it aside as it all got a bit too much for me. Without giving away any spoilers, Dominic Nolan went full George RR Martin in this book, at one point I did fear that there would be no one left by the end of it. However, these were necessary in order for the story to head in the direction that it did and also leave room for potentially another in the series (fingers crossed).
Dominic Nolan isn’t afraid to tackle hard hitting issues, he picks up where Past Life left off with affluent individuals being involved in abuse of young vulnerable people, however in After Dark he takes this one step further implicating social workers and other professionals in the abuse. So, please bare this in mind if you decide to pick it up, as these themes may not be for everyone.
After Dark is published by Headline and is published on 5th March. Once again thank you to the publisher for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.