In this chilling and disquieting debut thriller perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’s Hidden Bodies and Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, a family man with a habit of digging up the past catches the attention of a serial killer who wants anything but his secrets uncovered.
For years, unbeknownst to his wife and teenage daughter, Martin Reese has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and obsessively studying them, using them as guides to find the missing bodies of victims. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs.
Detective Sandra Whittal sees the situation differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case-closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious source she calls the Finder, especially since he keeps leading the police right to the bodies. Even if he isn’t the one leaving bodies behind, how can she be sure he won’t start soon?
On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his wife’s sister. But when he arrives at the site, he finds more than just bones. There’s a freshly killed body–a young and missing Seattle woman–lying among remains that were left there decades ago. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn left the corpses of his victims…and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work. And when a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder.
Hunted by a real killer and by Whittal, Martin realizes that in order to escape, he may have to go deeper into the killer’s dark world than he ever thought…
I read Find You In The Dark this week. It was massively entertaining, with a lovely dollop of weirdness. It is the debut novel from Canadian author, Nathan Ripley.
We meet a rich middle aged man, with quite a unique hobby. Martin Reese made a fortune from his IT company and retired young. He now hunts for the victims of serial killers. He taunts the police at their failure to link the clues together. Martin does not endear himself to the police, taking this approach. Detective Sandra Whittle is on his case. She wants to trace the mysterious individual taunting the police. She believes there is something sinister about him. Unfortunately Martin makes errors. He draws the wrong kind of attention. A serial killer has his eye on him.
Ripley does a fine job with Martin Reese. Reese is the kind of character, who is alarming. He appears normal and everyday. He functions with a family. His behaviour is bizarre. He is secretive. I could not understand why Reese was not working with the police, in his informal investigations. He could easily be a private investigator, out in the open. I could see why Sandra was concerned about someone who was working in a vigilante way, to track down missing victims. Sandra is very much the voice of reason, in the drama. Martin’s approach is dark and morbid, with undertones of something unhealthy. Reece is taking the wrong path, to do the right thing. It does raise alarm bells. I do not think the comparisons with TV’s Dexter fully work. Ripley does not exploit this darkness enough or even use dark humour. I was very drawn to Reece though, which shows how the characterisation was strong.
In some ways, this felt like the beginning. It was clever, in the way we see what a man like Martin Reece will do under pressure. It was fascinating. It led up to some rather fun dark moments at the end. We only just start to see Martin and understand his motivations. I don’t think that Martin Reece fully understands his dark side. He rationalises everything so well. He thinks his obsessions are normal. This episode feels like it is the start of Martin crossing a few boundaries. See I could waffle on endlessly about this. It captured my imagination. I love Martin and his perspective on the world.
Hopefully the author will bring back the creepy Martin Reece. This was highly addictive. It gave me food for thought. This is a story about a potential killer in the making. It is delicious.