As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Quercus, 20 September 2018.
crime novel addicts can resist the allure of a book set in a disused and
desolate lunatic asylum…put the building on a remote island off the Irish coast,
bring together a great cast of suspects and we have the perfect scenario for a
cracking whodunnit and whydunnit. Enter DCI Tom Reynolds and the fourth novel
in Jo Spain’s police procedural series, The Darkest Place.
The premise is set up quickly: as he
celebrates Christmas with his family, Reynolds is called by his despised senior
officer to look into a cold case – involving a doctor who went missing from St
Christina’s, a psychiatric hospital on the island of Oilean na Caillte forty years
earlier. His wife never gave up hope. And now a body has been found.
The Darkest Place is an intelligently
crafted, beautifully plotted novel that also sheds a light on the barbaric
treatment inmates at psychiatric institutions in Ireland suffered in the 1970s
in the name of finding a ‘cure’ for their ills. Jo Spain has clearly done her
research, but wears it lightly, and weaves it deftly into her tale. And the
knowledge we are left with is that so many patients incarcerated in such
institutions were not only those with mental health issues, but also society’s
Tom Reynolds is a wonderful
protagonist – a family man who loves spending time with his granddaughter. His
junior officers are hard-working but have complicated lives. But one of the
best things about Reynolds? He is not ‘damaged’ and has little baggage!
The setting of The Darkest Place is dark and atmospheric, full of fog and wind and
bumps in the night and screams in the dark. All the islanders have secrets,
everyone is a suspect. And there is a very clever twist at the end.
As I mentioned, this is the fourth book
in a series, but I easily read it as a standalone, though there are obviously
events in past books that have shaped the characters. But that is easily
remedied, as I will go back and read the first three novels.
novel, top ten bestseller With our
Blessing, was one of seven finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a
Bestseller Competition. It was named as an Irish Times crime fiction book of
the year by Declan Burke. Beneath the
Surface (2016) and Sleeping Beauties
(2017), the second and third in the DI Tom Reynolds series followed, to further
critical acclaim. Her standalone thriller, The
Confession, released in January 2018, became a number one bestseller and
sold in multiple territories. Aa new standalone Dirty Little Secrets will be published in 2019. Jo also writes for
TV and is the co-writer of new series Taken Down. A graduate of Trinity College
Dublin, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children. Jo
previously worked as a policy advisor in the Irish parliament and as vice-chair
of the business body InterTrade Ireland.
her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter, when she was
eight. When she grew up she had to earn a living and became a BBC radio talk
show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but
also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true
journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good
story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She
formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message
across using their life stories. Now she is writing crime thrillers drawing on
her experiences in journalism. Her third
book, set in East Anglia and featuring investigative journalist Alex.Dark Waters, was published by Harper
Collins/Killer Reads in March 2018.