Brooks, Kevin - 'Until the Darkness Comes'
John Craine is a private detective. He has recently been involved in a case in his home town of Hey in Essex and has been advised to go away for a while. He ends up in Hale, a run-down seaside town that holds happy childhood memories for him. Hale is also the home of his father's ex-lover and Craine's half-sister, whom he has never met.
Craine meets an American family who are staying at the same hotel. They are concerned for Craine when they see him stumbling in the corridor, obviously drunk. At breakfast the next morning, Craine returns her diary to the teenage daughter, Chelsey and she tells him that they are in England researching the family history and that her father is a well known nature photographer. They only have a couple more days before they fly home.
When he finds the body of Chelsey in an abandoned WW2 Pillbox, he hardly believes his own eyes. When the police arrive, the body has disappeared despite Craine remaining at the site. Craine drinks to dull the pain he still feels after the murder of his wife and unborn daughter. He takes drugs to even out the problems that the drink brings, so he is a bad witness and even doubts himself.
He starts to investigate and finds a conspiracy of silence amongst the islanders. He realises that his sister is involved with the men he believes are continuing the long tradition of smuggling in the area, and who control everything and everyone on the island. He continues to look for Chelsey's body and evidence to her death and to her family's disappearance, but he is coming to the notice of not just the criminals but also the authorities and everyone wants him to stop delving into matters that don't concern him.
This is the second book in the series featuring John Craine. I felt sometimes at a slight disadvantage for not having read the first book, A DANCE OF GHOSTS. There were many references to the incident that had precipitated Craine from leaving Hey and yes, they have resulted in me wanting to read the first book, but more because I need to make sense of some of the references in this book, rather than to find out more about Craine and his life.
I didn't find Craine a very sympathetic character and struggled in places to finish the book. Saying that I think Kevin Brooks does describe place, time and events that will ring true to a lot of readers.
Susan White, England