Blair Harbour’s life as Hollywood’s top paediatric surgeon was perfect, until the night she was jailed for a murder she says she didn’t commit.
With ten years of freedom lost, her medical licence cancelled and her son being raised by foster parents, she’s ready to start again from scratch.
But when a former cellmate begs for help finding her missing daughter, Blair must risk it all to save a young life. Her only allies are a thief, a ganglord and the cop who put her away.
To do the right thing, Blair must mix with all the wrong people.
Will it put her new-found freedom on the line?
I was given a copy of Gathering Dark by the Publisher in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Penguin Publishing for a copy of Gathering Dark and the opportunity to read this book. Being approached by such a prestigious publishing house is an honour and I hope that you find my review fair and acceptable.
Gathering Dark is a fast-paced crime thriller with two female lead characters, Blair Harbour a former paediatric surgeon whose actions led her to serve a ten year prison sentence and Jessica Sanchez, the police officer that put her away. Both of the characters are easy to connect with and their individual dilemmas and experiences throughout Gathering Dark give them a depth beyond just surface value. They are complex characters thrust together, when they’d rather not be, having to solve a complicated mystery whilst having to come to terms with additional issues of problematic inheritance, custody battles, crime-lords and a past they’d rather not have to face.
The writing perspective changes between first and third person, which helps the pacing of the book and breaks up the narrative into an easily digestible way. It’s clear to follow the action and who is thinking and feeling what emotions at any given time. I personally found this a fascinating thing to do with a book as I have never encountered it before. It added an additional value to the experience of Gathering Dark.
There is a lot more to this book than a simple crime to be solved; which comes in the form of Emily ‘Sneak’ Lawlor’s (A former inmate and friend of Blair Harbours) daughter going missing. Sneak herself is a fascinating character, with a penchant for lies, theft and hard-drugs. She ropes Blair into helping find her missing daughter as she was the last person to see her alive. All of the characters, main and side, are well written and packed with personality. Additionally there is Jessica Sanchez ‘partner’ a particularly wicked individual, hellbent on making Jessicas life a complete misery due to actions beyond her control. The interactions between these two are sinister and they don’t leave a lot of fondness. The crux of the story adds Crime Lord Ada Maverick and a criminal on death-row into the mix offering a frantic rush for the truth, money and a missing person. It is these characters that are the driving force for the novel and the desire to know their fate is what keeps the reader engaged and the pages turning.
The plot itself is full of quirks that are as individual as the characters involved in it with plenty of suspense, with a side serving of dark-humour. There are many questions that keep the reader engaged, such as; Will Blair be able to keep away from the parole officers and negotiate more time with her young son? Will Jessica keep the inheritance that has caused her so many problems? Why is a crime-lord so concerned about the disappearance of a teenage-girl she doesn’t know? Will Sneak ever change her habits and what will happen to the gopher?
This is my first encounter with Candice Fox and since reading Gathering Dark she has been put on my reading list. She is a competent writer with fantastic characterisation skills and her ability to weave a complex, but easy to understand plot, is second-to-none. I highly recommend her based on Gathering Dark and am looking forward to reading more of her novels.
Gathering Dark is a quirky, crime novel packed full of personality. Fast-paced and filled with suspense and a plot that keeps the reader engaged and the pages turning.