The Girl in the Dark, a review by Joanna

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The Girl in the Dark
Zoë Sharp

427 pages
March 22nd, 2024

GoodReads | Amazon |

Genres: Mystery & Detective, Police Procedural, Thriller Psychological

This is the second book in the Blake & Byron crime fiction series, about a young woman with a difficult past and her friend, a damaged former detective. It follows on from The Last Time She Died, which was published in 2021 – too long ago for me to remember much of the plot, but fortunately there was enough recap of the essentials that this one would work as a standalone for those who haven’t read the first instalment. This was another solid crime story by an accomplished writer, even if it’s not quite as clever as the first book.

Ex London Met detective John Byron has been appointed to a special role looking into suspected police corruption. When a homeless woman dies not long after being arrested, he investigates the officers involved, but is disturbed to discover that Blake, whom he has been unable to forget since their last meeting, is connected to the crime and has gone undercover amongst London’s unhoused community. Can they put their mutual suspicion aside to find out what happened?
Zoë Sharp is one of my favourite authors so I was delighted to be approved for this review copy, as I had been wondering when her next book would appear. I like both central characters here, and the will they/won’t they tension between them was well done. Some of the most  intriguing support personalities from the first book, like Lex and Commander Daud also return. The book explores the issue of the exploitation of vulnerable homeless people, by those who are meant to be helping them, in a sympathetic way. I was hoping for more of a surprise as to the identity of the perpetrators – I probably read too much of this genre so saw the twists coming, and found the ending a little abrupt, but overall enjoyed it and look forward to the next one.
Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC, all opinions are my own.

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