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Book Review: Darkest Place by Jaye Ford

Carly Townsend is starting over after a decade of tragedy and pain. In a new town and a new apartment she’s determined to leave the memories and failures of her past behind. However that dream is shattered in the dead of night when she is woken by the shadow of a man next to her bed, silently watching her. And it happens week after week.Yet there is no way an intruder could have entered the apartment. It’s on the fourth floor, the doors are locked and there is no evidence that anyone has been inside. With the police doubting her story, and her psychologist suggesting it’s all just a dream, Carly is on her own. And being alone isn’t so appealing when you’re scared to go to sleep . . .

I have read a number of Jaye Ford novels and have always found them to be well-plotted and written thrillers. The characters were always easily relatable and the situations never get into the ‘implausible’ territory (as some thriller writers can be guilty of.) So I was pleased when I saw the ARC for this book.

And I was well rewarded! Once again we are presented with a situation that could be happening in every apartment block in the country, a situation that a lot of young women fear when they live on their own, a situation that brings to light the evil side of people – the evil that Carly is forced to deal with when the authorities won’t.

Carly is a very well-drawn character. Her backstory (which I won’t mention) brings some real credence to the way she reacts to these intrusions and the panic and desperation she feels when she really has no one to turn to for help or support. Her path to “redemption” is a long and scary one and it is captivating to follow her along that path.

The other “main character” in the book is Nate, the handsome next door neighbour who hears the commotion during the night and offers his help to Carly. She begins by rejecting him – that she just doesn’t want to go down that path of explaining what she thinks is happening (and what happened before) but eventually she realises that she needs help. I kind of liked Nate – he had a similarly tragic past and just wanted to help. Carly didn’t know who she could trust so I felt for Nate a little bit.

The other minor characters were fun and/or interesting, especially Dakota – Carly’s friend from school. She saw everything in black and white and kept Carly grounded to some degree. She was funny, dressed oddly and was everything Carly remembered herself to be before the “incident.” Another character worth mentioning is Elizabeth – she is a stately woman, leader of the book club in the apartment block, and all-round wise woman. I got attached to her as she reminded me somewhat of my own grandmother. She and Carly become fast friends and I did enjoy that relationship.

The writing itself is great – the pacing of the tension, the unfolding of the events is consistently good throughout this book. I never really felt like I could put it down and leave it for a few days – I was always picking it up and finding out what was happening next. The other thing that should be mentioned here is the research Jaye must have done about apartment buildings – there is a lot of detail about how they are designed and how the ducting works and all kinds of interesting tidbits. And that was important to keeping that sense of reality to the story.

The last thing I want to mention is the ending. I promise not to give it away but some kudos have to be given to the author for deciding not to “wimp out” and let something ‘almost happen’ to the MC and then fate or karma or whatever takes care of the bad guy. That doesn’t happen here – the way this book wraps up is a perfect fit for who Carly is – and was. It made sense. In fact, I wish there were more Carly’s in fiction.

If you love a good thriller novel, not set in a big capital city but a smaller township where everybody knows each other, then I strongly suggest you get a copy of this, sit back and enjoy. If you don’t like those kinds of thrillers – get it anyway!

You can follow Jaye at all the usual places:

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Darkest Place by Jaye Ford

    • Thank you for reading the review. We had the author in-store yesterday and it was good to get a personal view into the worlds she has created. I have read 4 of her books and they always centre around brave women in extraordinary circumstances.

      We highly recommend them! Hope you are able to track them down.

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