Today I am sharing my thoughts on book three in the Kate Marshall series by Robert Bryndza, Darkness Falls. I loved the Robert Byrndza’s writing and ate up the first books in the series. Kate is shaping up to be a brilliant protagonist so I was delighted to be given a chance to read the book early by the author and publisher. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Kate Marshall’s detective agency takes off when she and her partner Tristan are hired to investigate a cold case from over a decade ago. Twelve years previously, a determined young journalist called Joanna Duncan exposed a political scandal that had major repercussions. In the fallout she disappeared without trace and was never found.
When Kate and Tristan examine the case files, they find the trail long cold, but they discover the names of two young men who also vanished at that time. As she begins to connect their last days, Kate realizes that Joanna may have been onto something far more sinister than anyone first believed: the identity of a serial killer preying on the people who few will ever miss.
But the closer Kate comes to finding the killer, the darker things become . . .
I must admit, the more I read from the Kate Marshall series, the more I am enjoying it. Book three now and it is fair to say we have seen our protagonist go on one hell of a journey so far. After the loss of her best friend and neighbour, Kate has thrown herself into her private investigation business full time – well with the small distraction of a bunch of holiday caravans to manage on the side. It’s not been the big earner she may have liked but her latest case, a request to look into the disappearance of a young journalist many years before, looks set to be a really meaty one, something she can finally sink her teeth into. Now as readers, we know far more of what is happening than Kate and her partner in crime solving, Tristan, but. whilst we may know the what, we most certainly have no clue as to the who or the why.
What I love about Robert Bryndza’s writing is his ability to create an overwhelming sense of mystery from the start, something he does spectacularly in this book. I could feel the tension build from the start, anticipated that something shocking and pivotal was about to happen, and then, when it did, I was completely invested in the story and even though I didn’t know the characters involved at this stage, didn’t know their history and wasn’t necessarily engaged with them as people just yet, I was completely absorbed in the story. And this mystery continues throughout the book, several scenes written from the aggressors point of view, scenes which make it very clear what happened was not a one off event, that it was indicative of something far darker, far deeper than you may first imagine. Did I have an inkling part way through the book as to who the bad guy might be? Honestly … yes, but that for me was half the fun, powering through to the end to see if I was right. It didn’t impact on my enjoyment of the book in the slightest, it drew me in more.
I really find that Kate and Tristan are two brilliant characters to spend time with. Both have their quirks and Kate has a far more turbulent history than most, but she is someone you can admire, conquering her demons and fighting those personal battles a day at a time. She is stronger than she thinks and certainly a canny investigator, forging somewhat shaky links with the local constabulary, but ultimately pressing ahead with the investigation she was hired to complete. Her friendship and camaraderie with Tristan is brilliantly written and whilst he might not be as troubled as Kate, he has his own moments of doubt, still trying to find his perfect place in life. They really do gel, bouncing off each other, providing support, friendship and banter that keeps me completely entertained and drawn into the story. They are as determined and intrepid as each other, and complement each others skills, everything I look for in a crime fighting team.
Pace in the book is spot on, with the flow of the narrative ebbing and flowing much as the investigation does. There are times when you know something bad is about to happen, although you might not be fully prepared for what that is and there is a certain amount of misdirection involved that brought a smile to my face. But for all those scenes of high tension, there are moments of real emotion and reflection that give you time to pause and catch your breath. There are many scenes grounded in the hellish reality of everyday life too, just to remind us that kate is not some all singing all dancing, superstar Detective. Fancy trying to hire new toilet cleaners for a holiday park right at the start of holiday season anyone? And this brings us nicely to setting. The location of the stories are perfect, a blend of remote countryside, towns, cities and coastal retreats that allows for the killer to remain in plain sight whilst also the perfect cover and anonymity for them to execute their deeds and dispose of the evidence.
This was another top class, mystery laden read that had me powering through the pages. With brilliant characterisation, tension oozing from the pages and writing which really evokes emotion and the stark contrasts of the setting, it’s definitely recommended. Fans of the series and of the author’s writing will eat it up.
About the Author
Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series and the Kate Marshall series. Robert’s books have sold over 4 million copies and have been translated into 29 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.