Welcome to my day on the Black Night Falling blog tour! Last year, I was introduced to The Dark Inside written by Rod Reynolds. It became one of my favourite books of the year. You know when you are reading something that is a little bit special, with a rather unique voice. That is how I felt reading it. Totally blown away. Black Night Falling is the much awaited follow up to The Dark Inside. The Black Night Falling will be published on 4th August 2016 by Faber and Faber.
For your delight, I have a review of Black Night Falling together with a tour of Hot Springs. This book is set in Hot Springs, Arkansas USA. There are photos!
What is ‘Black Night Falling’ all about?
It’s a fine line between justice and revenge . . .
‘And now I stood here, on a desolate airfield in the Arkansas wilderness, a stone’s throw from Texarkana. Darkness drawing in on me. Cross country to see a man I never imagined seeing again. On the strength of one desperate telephone call…’
Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late. Rod Reynolds’ exceptional second novel picks up just a few months on from The Dark Inside, and once again displays the feel for place, period and atmosphere which marked out his acclaimed debut.
My review of Black Night Falling
Last year, I fell in love with The Dark Inside by debut author Rod Reynolds. Set in 1946 America, Reynolds gave us a slice of proper noir. You can almost touch and taste the authenticity in his writing, with the stunning dialogue. I adored his protagonist Charlie, rather A LOT. For those of you who missed this book, I recommend you go out and get it NOW.
I was desperate to hear what happened next to Charlie Yates. Charlie has returned in Black Night Falling. He is living a dull life with his new wife, in sunny California. Six months have passed since the terrible events in The Dark Inside. He is contacted by Jimmy Robinson, who begs for his help. Charlie heads to Hot Springs to see Jimmy. Robinson turns up dead. Charlie is soon using his investigative skills, to work out who has murdered three women and his friend. He is thrust back into a world of murder, deceit, cover ups and dodgy deals.
This is truly a different time, that Reynolds portrays so movingly. Charlie Yates cannot solve crimes with DNA or by getting out his 4G mobile phone/cell to surf the internet. It is a slow step by step process of piecing together what happened from physical evidence, witnesses and the clues left by a dead man. Beautifully we get a real sense of investigative journalism, in the post war era. Rod Reynolds creates an atmosphere of escalating fear and tension, for poor Charlie. Charlie is a good man, caught up in a net of evil and greed. These people think nothing of murder to protect themselves or their interests. They will happily frame an innocent like Charlie or cause harm to the woman he loves.
This is top quality crime noir. Rod Reynolds has pulled it off again, with Black Night Falling. A thriller with all the thrills. A bygone age that seems strangely familiar. Discover the world of Charlie Yates for yourself. Go on! Highly recommended.
Now over to Mr. Reynolds for a tour of Hot Springs, Arkansas…. No passport required!
Black Night Falling and a Quick Tour of Hot Springs, Arkansas
My second novel, Black Night Falling, sees reporter Charlie Yates drawn back to Arkansas when an old acquaintance begs for his help to stop a killer. But Charlie doesn’t know Hot Springs is a rat’s nest of lies, corruption and violence – with deep ties to the mob…
I was inspired to set my novel here by the fascinating true history of Hot Springs. Gambling and prostitution flourished there under the guidance of corrupt local politicians – until, that is, a group of WW2 veterans banded together to try to kick them out in 1946. Equally beguiling was the presence of Owney Madden, the Leeds-born former New York racketeering kingpin, who supposedly retired to Hot Springs – but was allegedly sent there to oversee mob interests.
In 2015 as I was finished a draft of the novel, I paid a trip to Hot Springs for research – here’s a glimpse of what I found (all photos my own):
At the start of the last century, Hot Springs grew famous as a resort and spa town – with the titular springs being the attraction. A series of bathhouses was built in the centre of town, and today they still stand along one side of what is known as Bathhouse Row…
…while the other side of the street was dotted with the drinking clubs that made the place infamous. The upstairs of the premises generally offered girls, gambling or both. Sadly most of the historic buildings are now tacky tourist shops.
The Arlington Hotel features in Black Night Falling and was the grandest hotel in town at the time. Al Capone used to take up an entire floor on his regular stays there. It’s faded somewhat now, but still impressive.
A photo of a photo: one I found in a window display, showing Bathhouse Row in the 1940s (when Black Night Falling is set). The two towers of the Arlington Hotel are visible in the background.
The eerie railroad trestle over the stream at Jaycee Park – an abandoned baseball field that features in the book.
Lake Catherine state park – one of the many pretty waterways found in the area, and home to Black Night Falling’s Cole Barrett – a disgraced former sheriff with a secret to protect.
Hot Springs from above, nestled in the Ouachita Mountains. It’s a pretty and peaceful town these days – but still has a little glint in its eye that tells you it hasn’t forgotten when it was known as ‘The City Without A Lid.’
Rod Reynolds can be found on Twitter https://twitter.com/Rod_WR