Release date: June 19, 2018
For years, unbeknownst to his wife and teenage daughter, Martin Reese has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and obsessively studying them, using them as guides to find the missing bodies of victims. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs.
Detective Sandra Whittal sees the situation differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case‑closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious source she calls the Finder, especially since he keeps leading the police right to the bodies. Even if he isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, how can she be sure he won’t start soon?
On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his wife’s sister. But when he arrives at the site, he finds more than just bones. There’s a freshly killed body—a young and missing Seattle woman—lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn left the corpses of his victims…and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work. And when a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder.
Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape, he may have to go deeper into the killer’s dark world than he ever thought…
As much as I’m a serial killer thriller junkie I’m always on the lookout for a unique twist on the genre and this one was definitely original. Sure, you have a cop tracking down a murderer and the killer himself, but the addition of Martin, who isn’t a killer but instead a bizarre combination of vigilante and everyday family man. He hunts the burial sites of victims, he doesn’t search for women themselves and he definitely doesn’t hurt them. A strange little hobby to say the least, but one that makes for a very interesting premise.
Martin was the sort of highly complex character that I love, you never quite know what to make of him. Is he really just a normal husband and father with an odd hobby? Or does he have some darkness inside himself, a desire to have a close brush with death? If kept me on my toes, and Whittal the detective investigating the case was another character I really enjoyed.
This is definitely a slow burn, there is plenty of simmering tension but it does require some patience, but for me, the wait was worth it. Ripley is an extremely gifted writer, his prose had a subtle intensity and feel of sophistication that worked so well for me. Recommended for those wanting a read that takes time to reveal its hand and also those who like a thriller that delves into a literary type of read.
Find You In the Dark in three words: Subtle, Original and Fluent.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.