Friday, 9 February 2018

Blog Tour || Dark Game by Rachel Lynch - Book Review

Some people take an easygoing, funny, light read with them when they go on holiday. Not me - I've been reading the gritty, gripping Dark Game by Rachel Lynch, and it's had me hooked!


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.

After a scandal forces DI 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...

Don't miss this taut and gripping debut from a crime writer to watch. Perfect for fans of Carol Dwyer, Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.

About The Author

Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.

My Review

Detective Inspector Kelly Porter has returned from London to her home territory of the Lake District, after her time in the Metropolitan Police ends badly. Coming home is difficult: she has fractured family relationships, lost touch with many of the people she grew up with and is worried that she might be seen as a failure. Throwing herself into work seems the easiest way to cope, and she is set to work on the cold case of the murder of 10-year-old Lottie Davies. Alongside this, she quickly gets involved in two other cases: the abandonment of a newborn baby and the search for the mother, and the death of a prominent local businessman, who was in the company of a sex worker when he passed away.

As Kelly gets to grips with her cases, she finds there is a seedy, dangerous underworld to the beautiful location she calls home. The tangled web of crime becomes more complex, and soon Kelly's life is on the line... 

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it was so much better than I had imagined it was going to be! The whole plot was so intricately weaved together to form a novel I couldn't put down. This isn't so much of a 'whodunnit' as I usually read with crime and thriller books, but more of a jigsaw puzzle where you have all the pieces but aren't sure what the final outcome will be. I was stunned at how intriguing a story could be even when it was clear who was involved.

The pace of this book was just right. It swung between scenes of non-stop adrenaline to realistic and methodical police work. I really loved this balance; it gave you just enough to keep your mind racing before holding back a little to ramp up the tension. I was never bored reading this, the pages flew by and I was disappointed to finish it.

This book is fairly graphic, which I should warn you about. There are intense scenes of physical and sexual violence and some pretty vivid detail! While it was a bit striking to read such descriptive scenes, they weren't gratuitous and gave the book real tension and a sense of urgency. 

My only minor niggles are that there are maybe a few too many characters in this book. It could be hard to keep track of who was who, and there were some people who the novel could've done without. Perhaps they will come up again later in the series though, who knows! Apart from that, there were a few times when the level of detail about the locations was a bit much. Rachel Lynch is clearly very familiar with where she has based the series, but I'm not sure road numbers were necessary!

Dark Game is the first in a new series of police procedurals. I am overjoyed to hear that because I really enjoyed getting to know the character of Kelly. She is strong, feisty, and determined, which I liked a lot. I would love to know more about her personal relationships. There were a few plotlines relating to this that weren't completely tied up in Dark Game which makes me excited to read more.

Overall, I was really impressed with this book. It was cleverly written and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. In fact, I finished this within 12 hours - I couldn't get enough. If you're a fan of gritty, dark crime books, this will be right up your alley!

Be sure to check out the other blogs hosting Dark Game on this tour!

Huge thanks to Ellie at Canelo Publishing for providing me with this copy.


  1. I have to be honest, I'm not a fan of gritty dark crime thrillers but I was intrigued to read your review. The comment about the road numbers made me chuckle and the book sounds lke a good one for my favourite aunt, so I'm going to send her the link to have a look. Lovely write up, Beth! x

    Lisa |

  2. This sounds right up my street! So glad you enjoyed it. My only qualm would be the too many characters too - sometimes it works in a book but other times it ruins the reading experience because with each name you’re sitting there trying to remember who it is!


  3. Ooh- I've been looking for a new detective series to pick up... I might have to give this a go!
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3


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