Into The Dark
3 Dec. 2015
It is late in the year but, rest assured, Alison Gaylin’s second Brenna Spector novel, Into The Dark, remains one of the stand out novels to have graced 2015. Packed with tension, witty and natural dialogue, infused with intrigue and with all the pace of a Lear jet, this is a book that lovers of beautifully composed crime fiction will simply devour.
Can a stranger share your memories? That's the question that haunts PI Brenna Spector when she first sees footage of missing webcam performer Lula Belle. Naked but hidden in shadow, the 'performance artist' shares her deepest, darkest secrets with her unseen male audience . . . secrets that, to Brenna, are chillingly familiar.
Brenna has perfect memory, able to recall in astonishing detail every moment of every day of her adult life. But her childhood - those carefree years before the traumatic disappearance of her sister, Clea - is frustratingly vague. When Brenna listens to the stories Lula Belle tells her audience, stories only Brenna and Clea could know, those years come to life again in vivid detail. Convinced the missing internet performer has ties to her sister, Brenna takes the case - and in her quest for Lula Belle unravels a web of obsession, sex, guilt, and murder that could regain her family.
The beauty of brenna Spector is lies in her subtle blend of strength and vulnerability. That she is a confident and determined go-getter is so often tripped up by her indecisiveness which then forces the reader into a pleasurable guessing game of what’s next at every paragraph.
Added to this are some beautiful exchanges between Spector and her narcissistic-yet-weirdly-wonderful assistant, Trent, which quite simply shimmer and shine with warmth and annoyance that is almost tangible.
Of course the story itself has to hold water and, here, once more Gaylin hits the bull’s eye by using simple yet effective devices and energising them all with more electricity than the National Grid.
If you missed Brenna’s first outing, And She Was, you missed a treat. Do not be guilty of making the same mistake with Into The Dark.