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Book Review | Dark Objects — Simon Toyne

From the publisher: Laughton Rees is an academic who doesn’t usually work live cases after the brutal murder of her mother as a teen left her traumatized and emotionally scarred. But the presence of her book at a murder scene draws her unwillingly into the high-profile investigation and media circus that springs up around it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Objects. I haven’t seen anything that indicates this is the first in a series, but I hope it is. Dark Objects is a combination psychological thriller and police procedural, and I need a new police procedural series to read.

The book introduces a large number of characters, and the narrative also serves as a commentary on how society reacts to violence close to home. The “dark objects” refer to items placed around first one, then two murder victims in a very deliberative fashion. The structure of the plot walks us through the significance of the items.

Tannahill Khan, the Detective Chief Inspector in charge of the case, is half Irish, half Pakistani. His arresting looks don’t protect him from racist comments and behavior. Laughton Rees, the forensics expert whose book called How to Process a Murder is one of the “dark objects,” is an extremely traumatized survivor of violence. After living on the streets, becoming an addict, and having a child as a teenager, she became a respected academic. But the trauma is always just under the surface of her life. Both Tannahill and Laughton are interesting characters with a lot of room to grow in future books, if there are any.

Other characters include a sleazy and sexist reporter with an ax to grind, Laughton’s troubled teenaged daughter, Laughton’s estranged father (the current Metropolitan Chief Commissioner), and the house cleaner who found the first body.

The author seems to know what he is talking about as far as crime scene procedures and crime scenes go. Most of my knowledge comes from watching CSI and reading police procedurals, but it all seemed to make sense to me. The author did a great job keeping my interest in the characters and the crime. I especially loved the climactic ending. This is my first book by Simon Toyne but I predict it will not be my last.

I read an advance reader copy of Dark Objects from Netgalley.

Dark Objects is scheduled to be published on July 12, and the Galesburg Public Library will own it in print and digital.

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