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This review is from: Dark Desires (Zebra Debut) (Mass Market Paperback)
Published in 2005, `Dark Desires' is Eve Silver's first novel. She has since written several more including (at the time of writing this review), two in the name of her alter-ego, Eve Kenin. I have not read any of these subsequent novels, but having just finished the author's assured debut, it's not difficult to see why she has become so popular.
In London's Whitechapel, a maniacal killer is on the loose. All too aware of the danger that could lurk around the next corner, our heroine, Darcie Finch, walks along those same streets. The comfortable life she once knew is no more. Poverty has ground her down to the point where she believes her only hope of survival is in joining the ranks of the oldest profession. However, a shock awaits her when she meets the madam at her chosen house of ill-repute. Rejecting Darcie's desperate job application, the madam helpfully recommends that Darcie would be sure of gaining employment with a certain Dr. Damien Cole. "He is a hard man, a man to fear. Stay out of his way. Stay out of his work. And keep your nose out of his secrets." The madam's warning is still ringing in her ears when Darcie is almost hit by a carriage. Its occupant offers to take her to her new destination. Once ensconced inside the carriage, Darcie realises that along with its owner, another man occupies the small space. This man is dead.
As openings to romantic novels go, this is a very interesting one. The author ensures the reader is hooked from the novel's opening pages with its air of menace hanging in the fog-damp Whitechapel atmosphere. The writing is of such high quality that one could easily imagine the author turning her hand to more straight-ahead horror and suspense stories.
My criticisms are fairly minor given how much I enjoyed this novel. It's written in the third person, but the whole story revolves around Darcie; it could have been more interesting to have occasionally seen events from other characters' perspectives too. Some of these are quite notable, but unfortunately they are patchily drawn so that the story's resolutions do not hit such a high point as they may otherwise have done. Also, for a novel of this length (just under 350 pages), the denouement seemed a little rushed.
However, if you enjoy gothic romances, then `Dark Desires' is well worth your attention.