Darkness Falls marks a departure for Margaret Murphy. A really relentless narrative, concerning the kidnap and psychological torture of female barrister Clara Pascal. At the beginning of the novel Clara seems a little on the two-dimensional side but Murphy soon establishes a character of psychological depth; the reader becomes gripped by her situation. The main police characters are well drawn, and the dialogue is thoroughly convincing - Murphy's major strength: she leaves Val McDermid and Minette Walters standing for credible speech. One of the best British crime novels I've read this year.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - watch this girl closely. She only ever gets better - so where can it go from here? If you like twists and turns and forensics and insights into the odd little corners of human minds, then this is for you. This is edge of your seat stuff. It's also quite a departure for her, don't read this and assume all her back catalogue is the same.
Fast paced and chilling, "Darkness Falls" is a thriller that will definitely please even the most fastidious of readers. I certainly was hooked by the time I had finished the first chapter. And even though I (again) suffered from a lack of a proper night's sleep, it was well worth it. It's Pippa Pascal's birthday, and the nine year old wants her mother, high-flying lawyer, Clara, to take her to school. And so, even though she shouldn't, Clara makes the time in order to take Pippa to school on this important day. But outside the school gates, things go terribly wrong, when a masked man jumps out of a nondescript van and grabs Clara, bundling her into the van and driving away. Within minutes the police are on the scene; unfortunately, even though Pippa was a witness to her mother's kidnapping, the traumatized little girl is of little help. As the police try to figure out if Clara was kidnapped for ransom, or if she was snatched because of her involvement in the very high profile prosecution of a crime boss, the once totally in control Clara Pascal, imprisoned in a cellar and chained to a wall, battles for her life and sanity as she tries to figure out who kidnapped and her and why. But the more she learns, the more she realizes just how precarious her position is and how much she has to fear from this very determined man who seems to have some very firm ideas about what Clara should experience... "Darkness Falls in a very superbly crafted thriller that centers wholly on the character of Clara Pascal -- who she was, what she did, and her reactions to being imprisoned and controlled by her masked jailer. Slowly we get to know Clara -- to admire her tenacity and courage, even as we dislike her (past) single-minded dedication to her profession. And even though the book focuses equally on the police investigation and the killer's sick fantasies (there is a subplot involving the serial killer), reading of Clara's attempts to connect with her kidnapper is what made "Darkness Falls" riveting. Swiftly and tautly paced and with mounting levels of tension, "watching" how Margaret Murphy brings both these subplots together is a stunning and unexpected twist, made reading "Darkness Falls" a pleasure and well worth not having slept enough the previous night.
I quite enjoyed this book, although I don't think I would describe it as "an unputdownable brew of suspense and terror". I have never read this author before, and imagined, certainly from the cover and the reviews, that the book would have been "edgier" and less predictable than it was. Just judging by the writer's comfortable and tame style, I just knew where the book was heading and I was right. So for me not really the brew of suspense and terror I was hoping for.
A reasonably good read which didn't quite do it for me but might suit a reader who doesn't want too much excitement !! Out of ten ..... six or possibly a modest seven.
Pippa 9 year old daughter of Clara and Hugo Pascal insists she wants her always too busy mother, a barrister, to take her to school instead of her babysitter Trish. What happens outside the school that day will change the family's life forever and give DI Steve Lawson and DS Barton their most puzzling case yet. Margaret Murphy gives the reader one of the most disturbing insights into the mind of a serial killer that I've ever read and keeps the reader waiting with bated breath to discover an end which seems destined for doom. The suspense is kept up until the very end of this top-class thriller. Don't let this one pass you by.