Yesterday marked the release of Rob Sinclair’s first novel away from his brilliant Enemy series (of which I’m really looking forward to reading the next instalment) and I was honoured to be asked to read an advanced reading copy of Dark Fragments (Bloodhound Books). I managed to finish it on its release day so here is my review.
Dark Fragments tells the story of Ben Stephens, father of two to Harry and Chloe and husband to his second wife, Gemma. Following the murder of his first wife Alice, he has made a life with Gemma, the lady who he had been having an affair with before Alice’s murder. Ben owes money to local gangster Callum O’Brady and his life quickly spirals out of control as he tries to dig himself out of the massive hole he has found himself in.
The narrative is split between the action as it unfolds, with the odd hint as to the direction that the plot will take, and chapters printed in italics where Ben is explaining his actions and feelings to an unknown individual about these events that have taken place. This dynamic increases the tension for the reader and gives the reader an insight to how and why these actions came about.
The characters are well built up by Sinclair and there is plenty to leave the reader guessing about as the story unfolds and questions are raised about the motivations of the various characters.
This is a spectacularly clever novel which offers a lot of unexpected events which are written so well by Sinclair to have maximum impact as they become apparent to the reader. The premise of the story changes constantly so the reader never quite knows where the story is going as Ben’s control over his situation ebbs and flows throughout. Sinclair doesn’t pull any punches at all and doesn’t skimp on the descriptive language when the scenes are particularly dramatic, making it a wonderfully sumptuous read for anyone who wants a no-holds-barred crime novel.
Having loved the Enemy series, I did wonder if I would enjoy Dark Fragments as much as I loved Carl Logan’s stories, but I absolutely did. This is a magnificent step away from what is a brilliant series, with as much to entice the reader into wanting to know what happens next as any of the Logan novels. The difference is that there is a firm conclusion at the end of Dark Fragments, and it’s a really great one. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book for any avid crime reader.