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The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore

February 22, 2017

They thought they’d buried their secrets

Homicide inspector Gavin Cain is standing by a grave when he gets the call. Cain knows there’s something terrible in the coffin they’re about to exhume. He and his team have received a dying man’s confession and it has led them here.


But death doesn’t guarantee silence

Cain is summoned by Mayor Castelli, who has been sent sinister photographs of a woman that he claims he doesn’t know and a note threatening that worse are on their way.


And now light will be shone on a very dark place…

As Cain tries to identify the woman in the pictures, and looks into the mayor’s past, he finds himself being drawn towards a situation as horrifying and as full of secrets as the grave itself.


When I read Moore’s first book, The Poison Artist, I was in awe of his writing style and the terrific sense of noir that he imbued in that book. It was different, haunting and very eloquent.

The Dark Room is similarly beautifully written. Atmospheric, dark yet tender; in some ways his style reminds me of Raymond Chandler, without some of the brusqueness. The San Francisco backdrop adds another layer of descriptive richness and is almost another character in its own right.

Boy, can this man tell a story. I was fascinated and enthralled.  The story starts with a body being exhumed, a body that holds a surprise that only the San Francisco Police Department’s Inspector Gavin Cain was half expecting.

What follows is a dark tale of murder, privilege and unspeakable cruelty, told in rich and compelling prose. This is a dark mystery and Moore does not shy away from killing some of his most likeable characters.

A fascinating police procedural, this is a crime novel redolent with atmosphere, with beautifully rich prose and cleverly pulls together numerous strands of a very well plotted story, with some interesting twists and turns.

I didn’t want this book to end; it was so intense and so good.

The Dark Room was published by Orion on 10 January 2017

  1. Ooo this one sounds really good! Nice review. I’ve not read The Poison Artist but it’s on my shelf!


  2. Thanks. They are quite different books, but both are very good, I think.


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