Maddy's Reviews > Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls by Margaret Murphy
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Jun 02, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: 2003-reads
Read in March, 2003

Clara Pascal is a wife, mother and holds a high-powered job as a barrister, and all of those things make demands on her time and energy. As the books opens, it's her daughter's birthday; and in spite of the fact that she's in a rush, Clara gives in to Pippa's pleas to be driven to school. As her daughter is walking away from the car, a man abducts Clara, with Pippa the only witness to the act.

As we soon discover, Clara is not a random victim. Her kidnapper has carefully planned the abduction. The reasons for his act are known only to him. He imprisons Clara in a dank cellar, where she is chained to the wall and deprived of her basic needs. He is careful not to reveal himself to her, and she endlessly ponders who he might be—someone she defended who is holding a grudge? Someone who felt justice was not served when she won her case? Try as she may, she can't come up with a reason for her abduction. All she can do is try to survive whatever situations arise.

There is a huge reaction to Clara's disappearance, and the investigation is led by Detective Inspector Steve Lawson. Clara's husband is under suspicion, as well as a gangster type by the name of Casavettes who she was in the process of prosecuting. The inquiries go slowly, and every moment that passes by is leading to more danger for Clara.

Clara is a wonderfully drawn character. Her situation is desperate, but she never melts into self-pity or servitude. Instead, she continues to maintain her spirit and attempts to understand what is going on with her captor. He is rather mystified by this kind of reaction. Instead of trembling and begging, his victim is sometimes verbally aggressive and threatening. He is a creepy bastard who refuses to be manipulated by any of the psychological moves that Clara tries to make on him.

The book is wonderfully written and involving. Murphy alternates between 2 settings: the interior setting where Clara is imprisoned and the external setting where the police are frantically putting together evidence in order to find her. The book only falters in its resolution, in that Murphy tries to pull off a tricky twist which didn't work for me.

Murphy has written a taut psychological thriller that is brimming with suspense throughout. One technique that she uses is to let the reader in on the plans that the villain has for his victim, who naturally is unaware of these future events. The reader, however, lives in fear because they are anticipating what is going to happen next. Recommended.



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message 1: by Luci (new) - added it

Luci I read this book ages ago and thought it was excellent, why haven't I got round to reading her other books yet? Must do something about that....


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