Watching From The Dark by Gytha Lodge

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Watching From the Dark, the latest thriller from author Gytha Lodge. My thanks to Ella Watkins at Penguin for inviting me to be a part of the tour and providing a copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy

About the Book

Aidan Poole logs onto his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. But to his horror, he realises she is not alone.

Completely helpless, all he can do is listen to the sounds of a violent struggle. And then a chilling silence.

He’s desperate to find out if she is OK. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police?

When his messages finally reach them, DCI Jonah Sheens and his team take the case – and discover the body. . .

Watching from the Dark is a spellbinding thriller that you won’t want to miss.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

If I’d read the blurb a little more closely, I may have deduced that this is the second book in a series. I didn’t and it is, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying it and shouldn’t stop anyone who hasn’t read book one, She Lies In Wait, from enjoying it either. This book works perfectly well as a stand alone and while I may have known a little more about the central police team investigating the case, I wouldn’t have learned more about the victim and her strange bunch of acquaintances. And they really are a strange bunch …

Now the blurb tells you everything you need to know about this book … and nowhere near enough too. This is a very complex and intriguing case, one that, when the officers start to scratch the surface, has all the elements of being a little bit seedy too. It seems innocent enough, well as far innocent as a murder case can be, but thanks to the duplicitous nature of all of the key witnesses (suspects) in the case, it is far from innocent and far from straightforward.

The police team in this case are a very interesting bunch and I really liked the way that the author developed their characters. They are driven by instinct, but also by the need to find that all elusive evidence, and DCI Jonah Sheens in particular was a character I warmed to very quickly. He is not straightforward, his personal life growing complicated at times in this latest book, but he is logical, straight, and ultimately likeable. Then you have Hanson, perhaps the second most prominent detective in this particular story. She has a complicated personal life herself, taking that and finding a kind of empathy with the victim, Zoe, that drives her to push for a conviction, even if her focus and her suspicions move quickly between suspects. I liked her approach, her determination, and her confusion over her evolving feelings towards one of her colleagues. It made her very human and relatable.

The story is divided into two distinct threads – the present investigation and the months leading up to the attack on Zoe, told from Zoe’s point of view in a constantly evolving and ever more complicated backstory. Just at the point you feel you have a handle on what is happening, the author takes that belief and turns it on its head, much as is the case for the police investigating the crime. There are a myriad of suspects, each one viable in their own way at their own particular point in the story. There is always that sense of something being held back, and the more we learn of those vital months earlier, the more the picture starts to appear in front of us.

I read this book in two sittings, over the course of one afternoon and early morning, and found myself completely draw in into it form the start. The beginning is surprising in a way, the calm nature of what happens intriguing me. There is a sense of violence, of something bad having happened, but none of it is played out on the page. That who feeling of the . truth being just beyond a closed door continues throughout the novel, holding my attention.

This is not a fast paced novel so if you are looking for action or gratuitous violence then you won’t find it here. Even the one real showdown, if you can call it that, whilst not without tension, isn’t the kind of dramatic centrepiece you might expect. It doesn’t need to be. It’s not that kind of book. It is more reflective. More manipulative – both the characters to each other and the author of the reader – and that works perfectly here. I was engaged by the narrative, drawn to the team of detectives and the complexity of the lives of Zoe and her friends. At times I was perplexed as to why she allowed things to play out the way they did, but then that lack of understanding, that astonishment almost, made it all feel authentic and all the more tragic too.

And there is an underlying threat present, but perhaps not from where you might expect. It has certainly left me hungry to read more, and to go back and see what I missed. A very intelligent thriller written in a beautiful and intriguing narrative style. I am a fan.

About the Author

Gytha Lodge is a writer and multi-award-winning playwright who lives in Cambridge. After studying creative writing at UEA, she was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize and the Arts’ Council England fiction awards, and developed a large online following for her young adult and children’s writing, with over five million reads accrued on platform Wattpad. She Lies in Wait is her debut novel.

Author Links: Twitter

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