When The Lights Go Out by Chris Curran

Today it is my pleasure to share my thoughts on When The Lights Go Out, the brand new novel from Chris Curran which is out tomorrow (02/12). I really enjoy the author’s work, so full of suspense, and have to say a big thank you to her for the advance copy for review. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 02 December 2022
Publisher: One More Chapter

About the Book

Who can you trust…


A group of new friends. But can she trust them?

For struggling actress Ava, landing a role with the Chimera Theatre Group could lead to her big break. And relocating to a remote country village means stepping out from the shadow of her boyfriend—despite his determination not to let her go.

Everyone in the group seems so welcoming, they’re one big happy family. But, like all families, they each have secrets. And someone in the group doesn’t want certain secrets to get out…

My Thoughts

Well, this is another fabulously twisty novel from Chris Curran. You can always rely on the author to bring us a story that gets the cogs whirring and the eyebrows lifting in suspicion at the characters, and that is most definitely the case with When The Lights Go Out, the story of Ava, an actress who gets what should be the biggest opportunity of her career, but which rapidly descends into a living nightmare that could end up costing her everything.

From the beginning of the book, Ava, and us as readers, are literally thrown into a state of confusion and disarray as she ends up in an accident before she even gets to her new home amongst the other actors of the Chimera Theatre Group. Whilst this could be a simple co-incidence, it certainly starts the book off with a literal bang, and lets you know that things are very unlikely to run smoothly from here on out. It creates an underlying tension, a sense of there being forces at play which are going to make Ava’s new start very uncomfortable. The more we learn of the troop, and the remote location of their shared house, the more the unease grows and it’s not long before I found myself suspicious of just about everyone in the group.

Chris Curran has done a brilliant job of portraying the quirkiness and, dare I say, artistic nature of the theatre group. Each of them has a unique personality, some more welcoming than others to the newcomer in their midst. And whilst some may wear a smile, there is a weariness which seeps from the page if you think too long and too hard about what their motives might be for their behaviour.

Is it the remote Paddy that Ava should be more wary of, the duplicitous and emotional Mel? Can she trust the overly open and tactile Brad, or perhaps Lally or Rose, who appear open and friendly might be her biggest concern. And then there is Joel, who introduced Ava to the group in the first place, or perhaps ex-boyfriend Will, himself a successful actor, but who seems just a little too reluctant to let Ava tread her own path. When it comes to the vicious pranks being played on the group, and occasionally targeted at Ava directly, it is fair to say that the finger of suspicion points in numerous directions, and that, with exception of Ava, it’s hard to relax in anyone’s presence.

Chris Curran has set the scene perfectly. Be it the remote country home of the group, or the village settings in which they produce their plays, even to the productions themselves, all are vivid in imagery and depiction and it was easy to find myself at the heart of the action. There is a real mystery at the heart of the book, and the suspenseful tone is reflected in the often atmospheric nature of the rural landscape. The pacing is not fast, but pitched perfectly for the tone of the book, with moments of real pulse pounding tension where things come to a very dramatic head. It’s a story full of secrets, jealousy and lies. The various relationships are the key to the mystery, and the author does a great job of keeping the truth buried until just the right moment. Even the dying moments are packed with a jaw-dropping twist that left me with a ‘what the heck’ kind of feeling.

Another fabulous read that will re-affirm every suspicion you ever had about living with strangers … Recommended.

About the Author

Chris Curran worked as an actor and script-writer in alternative theatre for several years. She has had short stories published in women’s magazines and she reviews fiction for various publications and blogs. MINDSIGHT is her debut novel, and in 2013 an early draft of the novel was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize.

She also writes as Abbie Frost.

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