"1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders - young couples who've been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice - the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close.
But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job…"
This book is frighteningly good. Not only does it have a cracking story line, but Rod Reynolds evokes a feel of Southern small-town America that is so authentic it made me want to pull on my cowboy boots and eat grits (maybe not grits, they're actually pretty gross). I loved Charlie, an intrepid reporter damaged by a divorce, health issues and a boss that just doesn't want him around anymore, and he was far and away my favourite character. Set in the '40s, the whole book has a deliciously noir feel about it.
More importantly though - the plot. I just couldn't figure out for the life of me who was responsible for everything that was going on in the town. Like, no clue, AT ALL. And when all was revealed I was actually a bit gob-smacked, which is just how I like to be at the end of a bloody good crime read. The characters are brilliant - some of them brilliantly hideous, but even so, BRILLIANT. When everything is all combined, throw in the amazingly authentic feel of a small town in the South in the 1940s and it is a winner. An absolute delight and I will be recommending this one like crazy.
The Dark Inside is out now and you can get it here:
**My thanks to the publisher for my review copy**