The Dark by Emma Haughton #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping debut novel by Emma Haughton, The Dark.


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.


I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read The Dark by Emma Haughton. This is definitely one of my favourite psychological thrillers of the year. It is the perfect time to read it, as the winter months are setting in. Set in Antarctica, Emma Haughton brings the setting to life so well, and Emma Haughton creates such intensity in her writing, and she uses this to help raise the stakes for the characters higher and higher.

At the base where the characters are living, they are cut off from the wider world. It can take a long time for emergency services to reach them if anything goes wrong. It makes it more important than ever that they work as a team. When Doctor Kate North arrives, she turns up shortly after one member of the group she has been assigned to, has been killed. There is already a tense atmosphere, and everyone, of course, is still upset because of what has happened to their team member. Kate feels as though something isn’t right, and there are murmurings among the group, that there might be more to the death than first meets the eye. One member of the group isn’t prepared to let it lie. But is it possible there is a killer amongst them? If so they could all be in danger.

Emma Haughton paints a vivid picture of how dangerous the setting is for the characters. We already know that someone has died out on the ice so this adds another layer of fear for the characters. I really liked Kate and how Emma developed her character over the course of the novel. There were some aspects to her character that made me want to find out more about her and what had happened in her past. I liked her interactions with the rest of the team, and she comes across as warm and friendly, although she does make some mistakes, even as she is still settling into life at the base. I really didn’t warm to Sandrine, who is the person in charge. I could picture Sandrine clearly in my mind and I thought the moments, when it was just her and Kate together in the book, were really tense.

The Dark is the perfect title for this novel, it’s a haunting read. The writing is taut and it makes it very hard to put the book down. I highly, highly recommend The Dark to psychological thriller lovers. I’ll be reading Emma’s next book as soon as possible. You can definitely label me an Emma Haughton fan.

Publisher: Hodder & Staughton

Publication date: 19th August 2021

Print length: 384 pages

The Dark is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones