Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dark Game by Rachel Lynch - Book Tour

One of the perks of being a book blogger is getting to read novels before they are released to the public. I was recently sent an advance reading copy of Rachel Lynch's debut novel, The Dark Game which subsequently was released this week and now I'm thrilled to be joining in with the book tour to not only tell you a little bit more about the book itself but to share with you my own thoughts on the story too.

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After a scandal forces D. I. Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community – the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies.

Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day. But evidence comes to light that reveals a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly imagined. Behind the veneer of sleepy, touristy towns lies a dark and dangerous underworld. As Kelly threatens to expose those with much to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth…

Kelly is a D. I. who's moved back to her home town after a long time working with the Met in London, it isn't known in full detail quite why she left her previous job but the author alludes to some sort of wrong doing and a bit of a blame game going on, seems Kelly thought it easier to leave rather than argue.

We get a sense straight from the beginning that Miss Porter is an intelligent, independent woman. Having to momentarily move back in with her mum hasn't stopped her from living the life that she wants to lead and within weeks of coming back to the Lake District, Kelly sees herself at the centre of not one but two cases but the question is do they both lead to the same answers that she requires?

What appear to be straight forward cases, after more investigation and a continuing flow of new evidence, they deepen and what Kelly Porter needs to do is decipher the truth from the lies but will this woman's tough and brave exterior lead her into more trouble than expected? Can she keep herself alive whilst saving the lives of others at the same time?

Kelly’s gut turned over as she realised the danger she was in. She heard no sirens. She knew that she was simply collateral. To these men who made a lot of money from the suffering of others, they’d have no problem snuffing her out.

Keep reading for an extract of the book so you can get a better sense of what to expect:

Chapter 2

Kelly opened the door as quietly as she could. She felt like a naughty schoolgirl. She even removed her shoes so she could tiptoe in undetected. 

When she’d first returned here, three weeks ago, her bedroom was exactly as it had been left when she’d gone off to university nearly twenty years earlier. She’d never come back, except for weekends and holidays. 

The first thing she’d done was clear out the room. Old posters, books, and bits and pieces went into boxes in the loft. The space was tiny and she wondered how she’d managed as a teenager. Most of the stuff she’d accumulated during her time in London was left in suitcases under the bed. She asked her mum if she could paint the room.

‘What’s wrong with it as it is?’ her mum replied.
‘Nothing, it’s just still pink.’
‘And what’s wrong with that? Your sister likes it; you know she always wanted that room.’
‘I’m not Nikki, Mum.’ While her sister had played with dolls and worn frills, Kelly had climbed trees and smoked fags with the boys. When her father had painted the room, she’d covered the walls with posters of Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

Mum didn’t understand her music. ‘Why don’t you like ABBA?’ she had asked. Nikki liked ABBA. Nikki still liked ABBA.
Now Kelly started for the stairs. 
‘Kelly?’ 

Her mother appeared from the kitchen holding a cup of tea and frowning. There was nowhere to hide in the tiny house, and they stood at opposite ends of the hallway that ran the full length of the house, from front door to kitchen.

‘Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. I got up this morning and went to take you a cup of tea and your bed hadn’t been slept in. Why didn’t you call?’ Her mother’s voice rose with each word.

‘Mum, I’m not used to living with someone else and explaining my every move. I’m really sorry I made you worry. I’m fine, I just stayed over with a friend; it got late and we shared a bottle of wine.’
That look.
‘I called your sister.’
‘What? Why?’ Kelly was livid. Any moment now, Joan of Arc would waft in with her brood of snot-covered kids and rescue her mother from her wayward, irresponsible daughter. ‘You didn’t need to do that! I’ll call her.’

She rooted for her phone. She’d forgotten she’d switched it to silent in the pub. She had twenty-five missed calls from her mother. She needed to find her own place. 
Nikki’s phone went straight to voicemail, just as the door opened. Of course, Nikki had a key.

‘Kelly, you’re OK! Mum was worried sick, weren’t you, Mum?’
‘Of course I’m OK, I’m a grown-up now.’ Kelly tried to smile.
‘How about acting like one then?’ Nikki fired the first shot.
‘How about wearing less make-up?’ Kelly responded.
‘You’re jealous!’
‘Fuck off, Nikki.’ They’d gone beyond reasonable conversation years ago and simply fired off insults whenever the opportunity arose, but it was always Kelly’s fault, according to their mother. At least that was the impression she gave.
‘Just stop it, you two! Why can’t you be civil to one another?’

They both looked at their mother and hung their heads. Kelly was ashamed. Her mother didn’t look right and she didn’t know if it was tiredness, old age creeping in or something else. It was indisputable, though, that blazing rows wouldn’t help.

‘Go and have your fights elsewhere! Kelly, you’ve only been back five minutes.’ She was the easier target because she never answered back, unlike Nikki, who poured honey-coated untruths into their mother’s ear.
‘Calm down, Mum. I’ll go and make you a cup of tea,’ Nikki soothed. 

Kelly rolled her eyes. ‘Like I said, Mum, I’m sorry I made you worry.’ She went to her mother and hugged her, and all was forgiven, though no doubt Nikki would stay a while after Kelly left to highlight her errant ways in her absence. Kelly had stopped caring what her sister thought years ago. 

She went upstairs heavily, closing her bedroom door behind her, wanting to slam it. She undressed, opened her wardrobe and sighed. She disliked work clothes: they made her feel awkward. She preferred her running gear, or just jeans and a jumper. She pulled on some tights and already imagined taking them off again after another day trussed up like a turkey. She fastened her skirt and tucked in her blouse, feeling like it was her first day at school, when her dad had taught her to do a tie properly on her own for the first time. ‘It’s too tight!’ she’d complained. Her top button never stayed fastened for long. 

She checked her make-up in the mirror. It was true, Nikki did wear too much. She looked trashy, like the friends she hung out with, all getting together and moaning about everything and nothing. Kelly reckoned that if Nikki ran out of things to whinge about, she’d write a letter to the council, and eventually the Queen. It baffled her that they were sisters. Nikki’s wet dream would be to meet Robbie Williams; Kelly’s was to do the Four Peaks Challenge in under twenty-four hours. Nikki wore five-inch heels even when she was giving birth; Kelly still wore the same trainers she’d had in uni. Nikki read Danielle Steele; Kelly read John Grisham. Nikki drove a Fiat; Kelly drove a BMW convertible.

It irritated Kelly that her mother had become primary carer for Nikki’s kids. It irked her too that Nikki was advising Mum what to do with the money from Dad’s life insurance, and that included taking her and her kids to Ibiza for two weeks. Even something as apparently insignificant as Nikki strutting around in a designer tracksuit at the age of thirty-nine got under Kelly’s skin, and already the pleasure of the morning was ebbing away. 

At least when Dad was around, things were more even. Two against two. Mum wasn’t used to making decisions and taking responsibility, and it made her open to suggestion. Kelly had persuaded her to put what was left of the money into a bank account, and arranged an appointment with an adviser to discuss how to invest it and make it pay, rather than just spending it all. That had caused another row, or more accurately, a series of insults hurled across the room until Kelly left to go for a run. It didn’t really matter what she did or said: she was the outsider now, and therefore easy to blame. 

She needed to move out to avoid Nikki, but if she did, she would leave Mum exposed and lonely. Her mother had lost the sparkle in her eyes, and she rarely went out other than to shop or take her grandchildren to the park. Since her return, Kelly had forced her to go out. They’d been for coffee and browsed the shops together in Ambleside looking for new walking gear for Kelly; they’d been to the cinema; they’d cooked together, something Mum had forgotten she enjoyed. In three short weeks, they’d created an existence. That all changed when Nikki was around, but there was very little Kelly could do about it. Nikki had been here for Mum when Kelly hadn’t, and her mother wasn’t a child; she had to make her own decisions. There was only so much protection and distraction a daughter could provide. It wasn’t Kelly’s home anymore; she was a lodger with no privacy. Nikki could waltz in at any moment and it made her gasp for air.

She went back downstairs and walked over to her mum, ignoring her sister. ‘I’m sorry, Mum. I’ll let you know what time I’ll be home later, I promise,’ she said.
‘I’m making you a honey waffle, Mum,’ shouted Nikki, prancing towards the kitchen. Kelly sighed and left the house. 

For a debut novel, I was more than impressed. Well thought out and ultimately thrilling. The story starts off at a good pace and continues to make the reader turn the pages. I think partly because of the storyline itself and partly because of the people included in the story. 

The characters created work well, described in a way that I could clearly imagine each one as I progressed through the novel. As the cases seemed to cross paths, even though there was a lot going on, I could easily follow where those paths were leading. I am no police expert but I think the language used and the way activity was presented made what was happening fully believable, something that could easily occur in real life.

Anyone who is a fan of the crime genre will find great enjoyment reading Dark Game. Rachel Lynch has written something highly gripping and suspenseful. You'll find yourself constantly questioning how cases which at first glance seem nothing like one another can suddenly run parallel. The question I found myself asking was not who but how.

If you like the sound of this book you can follow the rest of the book tour for more book reviews, Q&As, extracts and even a couple of giveaways. I'll leave you now with a link to purchase Dark Game for yourself.

4 comments:

  1. This sounds right up my street! I'll have to look out for this one, thanks.

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  2. I really like the sound of this book. Your review really makes me want to read it, you don't generally think of The Lake District as being a hotbed of crime!!

    #ReadWithMe

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  3. This is my kind of book. I'll be on the lookout for it :)

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  4. Definitely sounds like one to add to my ever-growing wish list

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