After Dark by Dominic Nolan #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After Dark, the stunning new novel by Dominic Nolan on my blog today.

BLURB

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?

MY THOUGHTS

When I first met Abigail Boone in Dominic Nolan’s previous novel, Past Life, she was one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across in crime fiction. The second book in the series, After Dark, follows on from events in the previous one, so I would recommend that you pick up the first one before diving into the second. Dominic Nolan writes these books so well, and the picturesque Kent landscape brings to life a haunting and atmospheric setting.

Abigail Boone is a former detective, but following a horrific accident during a previous investigation, she now has no memory of anything before that moment. She can’t even remember her own family. Abigail has had to rebuild her life and make the best out of a bad situation. This is what I think makes her character so unique. Abigail has had to start afresh, but you can see how painful this is for her, especially as she feels very little physical connection to her son and her former husband.

But aside from creating intriguing characters, the plot has a strong hook, and it opens with an explosive prologue which drew me into the story from the first page. In the opening chapters, a young girl has been found wandering. But what is shocking to the police and the doctors who examine her, is that she has no identification. She hasn’t developed as other children had, and there are strong suspicions that she has been kept in captivity since birth? But how has she managed to free herself? What sort of person would do something like this?

After the conclusion of the Past Life, Boone has since been in prison, but DI Barbara Brown seeks her help with the investigation as it may be linked to the case Abigail was previously involved in. But Abigail soon finds herself in even murkier waters as another woman seeks her help to find her son who went missing thirty years earlier, and it seems that the cases might be linked.

Boone is such a brilliant character who I am hoping is going to return in future books. I feel that there is a lot more to learn about her, and I’m interested to see how she will develop. I will certainly be returning to find out. After Dark is a gritty crime novel that will keep you invested in the characters and Dominic Nolan weaves together an utterly gripping plot.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 5th March 2020

Print length: 448 pages

After Dark is available to buy:

Amazon UK   Kobo   Waterstones

Past Life by Dominic Nolan #bookreview blog tour @NolanDom @headlinepg

Past Life: 'a dark crime fiction debut that feels fresh, smart and thrilling' by [Nolan, Dominic]

BLURB

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

MY THOUGHTS

Imagine having your past torn away from you and not being able to connect with your own family. That is the situation Abigail Boone is faced with in Past Life by Dominic Nolan, and it makes for an utterly engrossing read.

Abigail is a very intriguing character. We know she has suffered from a horrific accident leaving her with very limited memories from her past life, when she worked as a detective, specifically on missing person’s cases. But she doesn’t seem to want to go back to the woman who she was before, leaving her husband and son frustrated. There is one thing that is driving Abigail though. She knows that before her accident she was attempting to solve the disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still and she knows she was on her trail in the days leading up to her accident. Abigail is determined to find out what happened to the young woman, in the hope that it will answer some questions for her as well.

I think what intrigued me most about Abigail is the fact that she didn’t seem to want to try and connect with her family. It almost felt as though at times that she wanted them to remain strangers to her, and this did have me asking so many questions about her family life and her character. Was there anything that she was frightened of? I could easily imagine how her family must be feeling about this as I thought about how I would react in their shoes.

The mystery element here was so engaging. We know that Abigail was working on Sarah’s disappearance who has been a missing person now for six years. She decides to continue investigating, even though she is no longer a serving police officer, and her investigations take her close to some dangerous individuals who are intent on causing her serious harm. Dominic Nolan kept turning up the tension as she continued to try and find out what had happened to Sarah, and I feared that something terrible was going to happen to Abigail again and that this time she wasn’t going to get away.

Roo was another fantastic character in the book who is a firm friend of Abigail’s. It seems that Roo is the only person who she can rely on at times; I really liked their interactions with each other. All the characters in this book are well drawn and they are what made the story so engaging and especially the landscape which was described so well.

I’m not sure if this book is part of a planned series, but I would definitely like to return to find out how Abigail is getting on. Past Life is an absolutely riveting debut thriller. You won’t be able to forget about the characters once you have read it. It comes highly recommended from me.

Thank you to publishers for sending me an advance review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 7th March 2019

Print length: 432 pages

If you would like to purchase Past Life, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR

Past Life Blog Tour Poster