Today it is my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Dark Sky Island, the second book in the Jennifer Dorey series by Lara Dearman. Thanks to publisher Trapeze Books for providing an advance copy for review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me to join the tour. Here is what the book is about:
About the Book
There’s a killer on the island – and someone knows who…
When human bones are found in a remote bay in the Channel Islands, DCI Michael Gilbert is plunged into an investigation to find out who they belong to. The remains are decades old – but after another body is discovered, the police realise they could be dealing with a serial killer.
Journalist Jennifer Dorey is desperate for answers, driven by a secret of her own – but it soon becomes clear that nobody on the island is quite what they seem. Will anyone tell the truth before it’s too late? Or will the killer on the island strike again…?
A gripping thriller, perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves and Peter May.
I’ll start my review by admitting that while this is book two in the series, and I do have book one, I’ve still not read it yet. I feel very sad about this fact, especially now that I have read Dark Sky Island, because I absolutely loved it. You know when a book really draws you in, where an author has done such a brilliant job of setting the scene and creating such an all consuming story that you don’t want to put the book down? This was one of those books.
The story is primarily set on the island of Sark, recently designated a dark sky island by virtue of it’s being practically pitch black at night, street lamps removed in favour of the natural night sky. This alone lends itself to a creeping and atmospheric read, but add in the mystery surrounding the discovery of old bones in a cliffside cove, a very close knit community who do not take kindly to intrusion from the police, and a rather grizzly murder and the scene is set for a dark and brooding story in which our series protagnoist, Jennifer Dorey, and DCI Michael Gilbert see both of their lives in great danger.
I absolutely loved the mystery and suspense which the author created from the very beginning of the book. The island setting is perfect, allowing for all manner of unusual behaviour. Everyone appears to be keeping secrets and it is virtually impossible to know who to trust. Throw in a very traditional way of life, including a complicated, feudal political system, and it makes for an intriguing mix. As a reader, much like Jen, you feel like you are on the outside, seeing only half a picture, and I was completely taken, wanting to know what secrets the island held.
If you have read book one, then you will be familiar with Jen’s home situation, and the loss of her father a few yers earlier in what appeared to be a tragic boating accident. This book answers some of the many questions Jen has about that fateful night, but . discovery of any truth always comes at a cost. Whether the price is too high to pay is something that is slowly revealed through the course of the novel.
While I had a few ideas about what was going on, some of which proved to be true, others less so, I certainly wasn’t expecting the facts as they were revealed to me. Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees. The author had me completely blindsided, much like the central characters, and it worked perfectly. For the most part ,the story is told in the present day, following the police investigation, but there are scenes set in the past which give more insight into the life of one of the victims in the novel. But you are also subjected to a lot of misdirection and subterfuge, as well as s few unexpected unions, which when pulled altogether made this a very satisfying read.
The pacing is perfect, the tension slow building and there are times when I was on the edge of my seat. But for me, setting became a character in it’s own right, Lara Dearman painting the island so clearly in my mind that I found myself completely fascinated, and keen to visit Guernsey and Sark. I even found myself ordering a Channel Islands holidays brochure before the day is out, that is how much she captured my imagination. Obviously I’m not planning on going, expecting to find a murder victim, not do I imagine for one minute that the locals are as insular and unusual as those portrayed in the novel. But the island, the idea of the tradition and isolation of it, really fascinates me. And that is a really skilful author who can create such a vision that is leaves me so keen to visit a place which is no greater than 3 square miles.
Atmospheric, brooding and full of tension, I absolutely loved this book. I got swept up from the start, finding myself completely lost in the mystery that enshrouded the island. I’ll most definitely be heading back to read book one just as soon as I can and look forward to reading more from the author.
About the Author
Lara Dearman grew up on Guernsey before moving to the UK to study. She pursued a career in the city before taking time out to be with her young family. After her husband’s job took the family to Singapore for three years, they returned to London where she studied for an MA in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University. She graduated with a distinction in 2016. Lara now lives in New York with her husband and three children and is intending to write full time. Lara will be in London for a month over the summer and plans to spend plenty of time this side of the Atlantic each year.
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