By Dominic Nolan
Publication Date: 05th March 2020
Format: ARC (433 pages)
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?. (Goodreads)
I was fortunate to receive a review copy of After Dark from the publisher. All that I knew about the book was the brief synopsis that was sent with the book and the words that were printed on the back “People are Born. Monster are Made”. This all seemed very ominous and as I finished the first chapter, I knew that this book was going to be the type of book that it wouldn’t let me go until I reached the final act.
To say that this book is dark, is an understatement, but Nolan guides you though the dark and seedy world of the underworld in a way that, though at times is uncomfortable, you can’t help but root for the main characters to bring the perpetrators to justice, in what ever way fate sees fit.
The two characters who have taken up this difficult challenge are Abigail Boon, a former police detective who lost her memory and ended up on the wrong side of the law, while investigating a case; and Detective Inspector Barbra Bowen, who is investigating the mysterious appearance of a girl who is little more than feral. Barb brings forward Boons early release as she suspects that the case that Boon was involved in may be related to the unnamed girl.
This case is the first piece of a complex puzzle, with each piece only uncovering more murky under-currents. Nolan knows how to keep you on your toes and when you think you know where the plot is going, he pulls the rug out from under you and you end up staring at the pages in shock at what you are reading.
I will admit, there was a couple of instances where I thought I had missed something, only to go back and re-read the last couple of pages. It is a masterclass in misdirection and it allows you to experience what the other characters in the book are feeling at the time.
Nolan doesn’t pull any punches, but he takes care not to be gratuitous with the subject matter the book deals with. He manages to convey the horrors of these despicable crimes without actually describing them. It is clear he has decided to allow the readers imagination to fill in the blanks, which can be worse than anything that the author can put on paper.
The ending of the book has a very bittersweet feel to it and though there is a small glimmer of hope, you can’t help but sense that Boons hunting days are far from over. Though this case is closed, you know that she is itching to get back out there and hunt.
Both Boone and Barb have the same goal, their methods are far apart. Though Barb isn’t scared to skate the grey areas at times, she still believes in justice taking its full course. While Boone is more of a vengeance is the best justice person, which is understandable due to her belief that the law and authorities have failed not just her, but others that she has ended up coming into contact with.
Both women end up paying a high price in achieving the end result, but even then it wasn’t the ending that I expected. With the last few chapters, I truly appreciated the words on the back cover and Nolan wasn’t finished with me as a reader as he pulled out one final twist that there was no hint of at all.
What should be noted is that this is the second book in the series, but it really can be read as a standalone. However, since I now know that this is the second book, I am going to read the first book, Past Life, in order to find out about Boone’s origins.
If you do decide to pick up this book, prepare to loose all sense of time…. In fact, I would recommend booking the next day off because you won’t want to put this book down. Just know this, After Dark has entered the prestegious “Gemma was so engrossed in this book that she didn’t realise it was 1:30am in the morning when she finished the book and she had work the next day” club.
DOMINIC NOLAN ONLINE
ABIGAIL BOONE SERIES IN ORDER
1 Past Life
2 After Dark