Stephen Booth

Dead in the Dark

"As usual, Booth delivers a first rate crime novel..."


Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower's remains and the case against him collapsed.

But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper - because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.

Cooper can't call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place - impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

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There are not many authors I stop what I'm doing to read their latest work. However, when Stephen Booth has a new book out the world can wait. A new Cooper and Fry novel is like a visit from family members you actually like. Ben Cooper and Diane Fry are an odd pair. Their relationship is fragile and they spend little time together but when they meet there is an electricity that jumps out of the page. Ben becomes less confident and assured around Diane and she is straight on the defensive and raises the wall to protect herself. They reluctantly help, and need, each other. Yet they need to have a great distance between them. 'Dead in the Dark' is a very modern story with the fallout from the Brexit vote a feature of a disturbing story of racism and volatility in a small community that has seen an influx of east European migrants. It's very relevant and Stephen Booth has broached both sides of the Brexit argument with considered realism. The main plot of a missing man with a deceptive past is a complete contrast and could be from the golden age of crime fiction. Betrayal, secrets, affairs, all the ingredients are here and everyone is a suspect with plenty of misdirection. Booth deftly intertwines both plots neatly and delivers a satisfying and unexpected conclusion. As usual, Booth delivers a first rate crime novel, and with seventeen Cooper and Fry novels under his belt already, the series shows no sign of tiredness. In fact, they seem to go from strength to strength. Stephen Booth is a modern master of the genre and I defy anyone not to fall in love with the Derbyshire he paints so beautifully, yet so darkly.

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