After leaving the Met, DI Kelly Porter has returned to the area of her youth – the Lake District. In a part of the world where crime tends to be minor, the detective takes on a cold case – the abduction and murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies. Cumbria is not as quiet as it seems, however, and she soon finds herself embroiled in several cases including the death of a local businessman and human trafficking. Maybe life in the Lakes is going to prove to be just as, if not more, dangerous as London.
When I picture the Lake District, I think of beautiful landscapes, Beatrix Potter, walkers taking on the numerous mountains and a general air of peace and quiet. After reading Dark Game however, my image may just have been shattered! Who would have thought that Cumbria was such a hot bed of crime?! After returning from London, Kelly must have thought that she would have had an easier time of it, but this was definitely not to be!
Dark Game deals with some very dark subjects and, from the start, when local businessman Colin Day dies under rather bizarre circumstances, the scene is set. We soon realize that the hotel where he is staying is a front for something else and that it forms part of a much bigger criminal organisation. What follows is, at times, quite graphic but when you are dealing with prostitution, gangland crime and human trafficking, it is essential to the plot. Whilst I was reading, there were several occasions when I found myself totally despairing in how vile some humans can be, not least when illegal immigrants were being forced into fighting each other to the death.
One of the strengths of this book is the characterization. I found Kelly a likeable protagonist and felt that enough of her back story was shared to pique my interest. Like many lead detectives, she is a flawed character but I was pleased that her back story did not take precedence over the crime as this means that more can be revealed in a later book. Rachel Lynch has also done a fantastic job with how the criminals are portrayed. They were a particularly heinous lot and definitely made my skin crawl.
I really enjoyed Dark Game and think this could be the start of a fantastic new series.
With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.