Darkness & Light Review
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In this third book in the Frank Elder mystery series (Flesh & Blood was the first), retired Detective Inspector Frank Elder once again finds himself drawn away from his quiet little cottage in Cornwall and called back to Nottingham, to the home—and the job—that he’d left behind.

Elder’s ex-wife, Joanne, makes the call, asking him to look into a case for her friend, Jennie. Jennie’s sister, a quiet, solitary widow named Claire, has gone missing—and the police don’t seem to be giving the case much attention. As Elder begins his investigation, he discovers that Claire might not be as mild-mannered and prim-and-proper as her sister thinks she is. He digs up an Internet dating account—and he suspects that Claire may have run off with one of her online boyfriends. But then Claire’s body shows up—at home, carefully dressed and placed on her bed.

Almost instantly, Elder is reminded of his first case on the Nottingham force—the unsolved murder of a woman named Irene Fowler who was found in her hotel room, where she was staying during a conference, her body neatly dressed and carefully placed on the bed. So when Elder is once again invited to join with his old colleagues to solve Claire’s murder, he starts by reopening the Fowler case and looking for more similarities. Could the killer have been Blaine, the man Irene met in the hotel bar? The man’s older friend? A member of the hotel staff who’d just gotten out of prison? The conference organizer with a suspicious history? Or someone else entirely? And was it really a cold-blooded murder—or just a kinky encounter that had gotten a little too rough?

Darkness & Light takes place at three different points in time. The story moves from the present day to the time of the Irene Fowler murder and back even farther, to the mid-‘60s—when a troubled boy sat down for regular sessions with a therapist who couldn’t seem to get him to open up. While readers of earlier Frank Elder mysteries will understand a little more background—like Elder’s ongoing family issues—and will be familiar with recurring characters, this book still makes a good standalone novel. So if you haven’t read the previous two, don’t shy away from jumping in at book three. You’ll have no problem keeping up.

This is a chilling read—one that’s both suspenseful and horrifying (and also, at times, quite graphic). If you’re not already afraid to leave the house alone at night, you’ll definitely think twice about it after reading Darkness & Light.

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