18 May 2020

Dark House

By Helen Phifer

My Review

Dark House is the first in the DI Lucy Harwin series of books by Helen Phifer. It was a quick and enjoyable read. I thought the plot was good and the pacing excellent. Told through dual timelines of 1975 and the present day, it was a dark and at times unsettling read.

When a body is discovered strapped to a gurney inside a derelict asylum with an eight centimetre steel spike protruding from an eye socket, Lucy is the officer in charge. As she delves deeper into the asylum's history, she unearths a shocking catalogue of abuse. As the bodies begin to pile up, it becomes a race against time to catch the killer.

Lucy Harwin is a likeable character but not without her own issues. She's currently undergoing therapy and has barely returned to work after extended leave when the asylum case falls into her lap. Under scrutiny from her boss and keen to prove herself fit for duty, she and partner Mattie pull out all the stops.

With a multitude of twits and turns, Dark House is a suspenseful read. I found myself gripped and eagerly turning pages. The dialogue is a little 'clunky' at times and would have benefited from a more natural flow, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment. I thought it was a promising start to the series and a great read.              
Book Source: Purchased copy
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bookouture (4th Oct 2018)

The Blurb

For years, the Moore Asylum housed the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But now, a man is found murdered in the derelict building, strapped to a steel trolley, launching a heart-racing investigation for Detective Lucy Harwin.

Lucy quickly discovers the victim was once a Moore Asylum doctor, and when a woman also linked to the home is killed on her doorstep, Lucy knows she must dig into its history. What dark secrets lie within the asylum's walls - what was the scandal leading to its closure thirty years ago?

With her own demons to fight, Lucy starts to uncover the heartbreaking tale of the Moore Asylum children, and begins to wonder: who will be the next victim?

The Author

Helen Phifer is the #1 Bestselling crime and horror novelist of the Annie Graham, Lucy Harwin and Beth Adams series. Helen lives in a small town in Cumbria. Surrounded by miles of coastline and only a short drive from the beautiful Lake District. She has always loved writing and reading since the days she learnt how to in infant school. She loves reading books that make the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end and make her afraid to go to the toilet, alone in the middle of the night. She is eternally grateful to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Graham Masterton for scaring her senseless in her teenage years. Unable to find enough of the scary stories she loves to read, she decided to write her own.

Her debut novel The Ghost House was released October 2013 and introduced readers to police officer Annie Graham. It went on to be an Amazon #1 bestseller in Canada. It reached #1 on the Amazon Contemporary Horror Charts in both the UK and the US, pushing her idol Stephen King off his #1 spot many times. She was thrilled when the second book in the series The Secrets of the Shadows managed to push The Ghost House off its #1 spot even if it was a little surreal. This was followed by The Forgotten Cottage, The Lake House, The Girls in the Woods and The Face Behind the Mask.

The Good Sisters is a standalone old, fashioned horror story which Helen admits scared her so much when she was writing it that she couldn't write once it got dark. Set in an abandoned convent it will definitely give you the chills.

March 2017 saw the publication of Dark House, a gripping psychological thriller which introduced readers to the dangerous world of Detective Inspector Lucy Harwin. This was followed by Dying Breath and Last Light.

The Haunting on West Tenth Street is a supernatural thriller set on the streets of New York and features Homicide Detective Maria Miller.

Her brand new series featuring Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams is published July 16th 2019.

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