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This Little Dark Place

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How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They're trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral - but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose - and who to trust.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published October 10, 2019

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A.S. Hatch

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5 stars
161 (28%)
4 stars
189 (33%)
3 stars
145 (25%)
2 stars
56 (9%)
1 star
13 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 214 reviews
Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
684 reviews4,625 followers
March 29, 2020
This Little Dark Place proved to be different from what I expected. I enjoyed the letter format of the book - that always interests me. Yet, there was something missing for me here that kept me from getting completely into the book.

The book jumps around in timelines and that proved confusing as there were little to no transitions to help guide you at times. Unfortunately, I did not find this one very twisty - I had it figured out early on and was not at all surprised by the ending. Personally, I expected more though I did enjoy the 2nd half of the book better - I read that part in 1 sitting.

A good debut - I just wasn't blown away by it. I'd definitely still see what Hatch writes next.

Thank you to NetGalley and Serpent's Tail Books for the opportunity to read and review an arc of this book.
Profile Image for Julie (JuJu).
554 reviews187 followers
October 22, 2019
“I don’t write this letter to put bitterness into your heart, but to pluck it out of mine. Oscar Wilde, De Profundis”

Unfortunately, this book just didn’t click for me. The premise sounded exciting and I really wanted to like it. I found some parts really interesting and, once in a while, I thought it was getting better, but sadly....no.

I would have enjoyed it so much more if the formatting and setup was different. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? But there were times when I was totally lost!

The book is split into two chapters, Ruby and Victoria. I don’t care for long chapters, so this was a huge negative for me. Two chapters?? Come on!! I need a place to stop and put the book up, when life calls me away!

It skips around between timelines and...well I’m not really sure, 😂. I was confused most of the time. There were letters between Daniel, Ruby...and Lucy every once in a while. Lucy only popped up enough to make me want to yell “WTH”! I usually love this type of writing, and the letters were interesting. But again, I was confused without labeling and clear cut stopping points. Everything is run together. A letter ends and the story jumps into Daniel’s narration of something. It almost seemed like journal entries from Daniel, who knows. There weren’t any real paragraphs, either.

This turned me off. I couldn’t get past it and concentrate on the story. Not bashing the author. The writing itself was great. I’ll probably give Mr. Hatch another try in the future. And I might even try this book again, if the formatting is changed in the final version. On the plus side, it’s a short book and I did find some humor in it.

“Being with Victoria was like driving at night with no headlights.”

Thank you to NetGalley, Serpent’s Tail and A.S. Hatch for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 3 ⭐️’s
Published: Published October 10th 2019 by Serpent's Tail
Pages: 288
Recommended: Not for me, but it received great reviews by others.
@serpentstail #NetGalley #domesticthriller #ThisLittleDarkPlace
Profile Image for  Li'l Owl.
398 reviews231 followers
October 18, 2019
A Unique and Captivating, Complete with Mystery and Surprises Around Every Corner!

**August 2033

Thank you for writing to me and for enclosing your photograph. You are as beautiful as I imagined. I have Blu-tacked you to my wall. Before we meet – if we meet – I should warn you: I don’t much resemble the man you may have seen in the papers. That all happened so long ago. (Has it really been sixteen years?) I’m heavier now and that thick mop of black hair is long gone. I don’t want my appearance to shock you so I have enclosed a photograph of myself. I certainly don’t expect to end up on your wall.
I’ve been contacted many times over the years, by journalists, bloggers, one time a screenwriter, all wanting to know ‘what really happened’ in the cottage, when all they really want is for me to confirm what they’ve already heard. They ask about Ruby. They ask about Lanes End. They ask about the trial. I throw their letters in the bin. But you ask me a different question. You ask me to tell you ‘who I really am’. And I get the feeling you truly do want to hear my side of the story.
It can’t have been easy for you to reach out to me like this. I imagine you’ve heard a great many things about me already. I expect you’ve googled me. I’m so grateful you’ve written at all. That you ask for my version shows integrity. That you’re even considering meeting me feels like a miracle. You want the facts before judging me. I cannot ask for a fairer hearing than this. So, assuming nothing , let me give them to you. Whether this serves my own ends or not, when you finish reading this letter you will know ‘who I really am’. And then you can decide for yourself.


********
This Little Dark Place by A.S. Hatch is a unique and captivating story that I read in two sittings!
This book grabbed me immediately and I was completely absorbed as I read the letters written between different characters. My curiosity mounted the more I read!
I will give you no further clues other than I recommend reading it!

This is is my first introduction to A.S. Hatch and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing and I will definitely read more of his mystery/thriller books.

With thanks and appreciation to NetGalley, Serpent's Tail, and A.S. Hatch for giving me this advanced digital copy to read and review.

**This book is an advanced, uncorrected digital copy and will be published October 10, 2019.
Please note that the above quote may be different in the final draft.
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,627 reviews1,606 followers
October 3, 2019
Daniel and Victoria are trying for a baby. But Daniel starts to feel lonely. He joins a group that sends letters to prisoners. His pen pal is called Ruby. They start writing to each other but its ot long before they start revealing more about themselves.

This story jumps back and forwards from present to past. The pace is slow. The book starts off with a letter to someone called Lucy. This story is about jealousy, anger, grief, loss and frustration to name just a few. It also has an undertone of danger. I wanted to hate Daniel, ut I couldn't. It's quite a dark and creepy tale.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Serpents Tail/ProfileBooks and the author A. S. Hatch for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mandy White (mandylovestoread).
1,933 reviews480 followers
August 31, 2019
I wasn't really sure what to expect from This Little Dark Place when I started it. I certainly wasn't ready for the dark and twisty ride that it was. My goodness, it is like nothing you have read before, and that is a good thing. It keeps you guessing right til the very end. I devoured it in 2 sessions, desperate to know what was gointo happen next.

I am not going to say too much about the story so I don't give anything away. It is written as letters by Daniel. We learn about his girlfriend Vic, his prison Penpal Ruby and day to day life. And who is Lucy? Who can be trusted... I changed my mind about that several times bought the course of the story. hick read psychological thrillers will love this. I look forward to seeing what this writer has in store for us next.

Thanks to Serpent's Tail and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
Profile Image for Matt.
3,616 reviews12.8k followers
February 18, 2020
A.S. Hatch has penned this most interesting debut thriller, which takes the reader on an odd journey, layered in many twists. As the story opens, Dan is writing a letter to someone by the name of Lucy, sharing some of his insights into a life that left him feeling quite empty. After his father’s death at a young age, Dan was forced to see his mother marry a man whose need for control rivalled little else. As Dan came into his own, he ended up meeting Victoria, a young woman with whom he soon fell in love. Their courtship and eventual marriage led Dan to believe that things were headed in a wonderful direction. When Victoria became unable to conceive, the marriage entered its rocky stage. Dan was isolated by a wife whose inner demons saw her retreat from him, emotionally and physically. Dan, in his infinite loneliness, took up writing to an inmate pen pal service, where he met Ruby. Their messages were quite informative and Dan opened up to her at every chance he got. When Dan and Victoria separated, Ruby made a move to enter the emotional void, but Dan was not quite ready. Having moved into a rural cottage to get away from the world, Dan is soon visited by Ruby, who explains that she has been released early. What begins as a slow face-to-face version of the correspondence they shared takes an interesting turn. Dan’s decisions soon have consequences, including one he could not have expected, when he acts hastily. But, who is Lucy in all this? Read the book to see, as that is the best twist of all. A decent debut thriller, which readers will either love or hate. A.S. Hatch is sure to make an impact on the genre, given the chance. Recommended to those who need a short book to tide them over between larger projects.

I have been on a binge of short books that I can finish in a day, finding this one to be as interesting as the others. A.S. Hatch writes things from a different perspective, pulling the reader in with some veiled comments throughout the detailed narrative. Dan becomes an intriguing protagonist, whose backstory and development are on display in three lengthily letters to Lucy. The reader learns much and is able to ascertain a great deal from these revelations, though there are a few aspects that remain unknown until the cliffhanger ending. Hatch develops some interesting supporting characters as well, furthering the interesting narrative in unique directions. Lucy, Ruby, and even Victoria offer up flavours to the story that the reader needs to fully comprehend the literary palate on offer. The story was told in an odd manner, three letters—each longer than the last—that tell so much and are entirely told from Dan’s perspective. The reader is able to see the narrative gain momentum in three chapters, which could have acted as parts with shorter breaks between them. Hatch’s first fiction effort should not go unnoticed, though I was not as excited for things as I might have hoped, but was still able to read with interest throughout. I’d likely come back to see what else A.S. Hatch has to offer, but am still digesting how I feel about this piece.

Kudos, Mr. Hatch, for this shorter novel. I liked that it stood out for me, though am still not sure how passionate I was about the presentation.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Lilith Black Bee.
176 reviews357 followers
Read
October 28, 2019
E-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF at 44%

PROS:
•  The synopsis. Unfortunately, this is all that I liked in this book...

CONS:
• 2 big chapters. That's all! When I started the book and saw this, I thought that is something wrong with my e-ARC. But no, there were just 2 chapters. Not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it didn't work well for me. I felt like, even though it's a book under 300 pages, these 2 chapters were pushing me to read, without really allowing me breaks. I think this kind of book dividing it's cruelty for most of the contemporary readers.
• Future main timeline. The main timeline is placed in 2033, which for a thriller, again, for me, it's not appealing at all. Like, I am reading a sci-fi without anything sci-fi in it... It may sound weird but in my opinion, thrillers should be placed in the present or past timeline. Whatever is in the future, is either sci-fi or dystopian.
• No transition between moments and timelines. Not even a '*' or something for the most parts! Now I was reading from the past and then the exact next paragraph was from the future (the present line of the book). This was very disturbing and hope that the final copy doesn't look the same.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:
• I didn't care about anything and anyone in this book, which is a bummer because I really wanted to read this book, I was intrigued by the synopsis. I felt confused almost all the time because of the lack of delimitation and transition between moments and timelines, and by how faded the characters where.


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Profile Image for Nicki.
623 reviews2 followers
May 29, 2019
OMG.... Every now and then a book comes along that holds you captive from the very first page. You can't really explain why you found the story so captivating,you just know that you couldn't put the book down whilst at the same time you didn't want the story to end. Well,for me This Little Dark Place was one of those books,it's a mesmerising,enthralling read. The tension builds throughout culminating in a totally unexpected twist conclusion.

The story is narrated by Dan in the form of letters as he takes the readers and a character called Lucy through his interactions with his girlfriend Victoria and a female convict called Ruby who Dan had started writing to after he joined a pen pal program for prisoners. A number of the relatable characters in this gripping story were not who they appeared to be and I found myself changing my mind about certain characters a number of times as the twists and turns unfolded. I loved the descriptions of isolated Lanes End were most of this story was set. I could close my eyes and imagine myself sitting on the cliff edge with a good book as the sun sank slowly on the horizon or exploring the trails through the woods.

This Little Dark Place is a extremely well written debut thriller. It's a twisty compelling tale of love,obsession and betrayal. I love the atmospheric cover that really fits perfectly with the setting for this story.I would love to watch a film adaptation of this book and I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. Worth far more than five stars and very very highly recommended.

Many many thanks to Serpents Tale for a arc of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review
Profile Image for Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings).
1,479 reviews149 followers
May 17, 2020
“This Little Dark Place” is the debut novel from A.S.Hatch and is indeed a cracking start to his writing career.
This dark and compelling psychological thriller is told entirely through the voice of Daniel, who upon joining a pen pal program for prisoners, befriends a female inmate called Ruby, currently serving a sentence for her violent attack on her abusive partner. I enjoyed how the story was set out in three parts in the form of letters to someone called Lucy, which were clearly written, informative and enticed the reader to want to read more. I found Daniel to be very plausible and likeable, dealing with the female emotions of his wife and their struggles to conceive, through to his trust issues with Ruby and his ongoing situation with the place he is writing from.
The story does have some chilling tension and was rather creepy in places and because it’s quite a short book in length you can keep the continuity going mostly in one go which aids the dark, edgy ambience.
An easy to read, original and entertaining story, I’d be happy to recommend this debut novel and I’d love to read more by this author in the future.

4 stars
Profile Image for Tracy Frenette.
162 reviews18 followers
July 5, 2019
A unique thriller that had me hooked from the first page. It's one of the best stories I've read in a while.

The story is told by a man named Daniel in the form of a letter to Lucy. The story is about his girlfriend Victoria and a pen pal Ruby, he had been writing through a pen pal program for prisoners. Throughout various twist and turns that will keep you spinning. The story was just so well written.

A brilliant Debut from A.S. Hatch.
Thank you Serpent's tail and Net galley for the advanced copy for an honest review.
This is a 5 star read. #thislittledarkplace #netgalley
Expected release date October 3, 2019
Profile Image for  Teodora .
279 reviews1,535 followers
July 30, 2019
That was actually a very good thriller. I enjoyed the suspense, the mystery, the action. Very well-written, composed of a series of questions that one should ask themselves more in life (if paranoid, of course!)
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (semi-hiatus) .
715 reviews1,754 followers
September 18, 2019
Though this was well paced & kept me interested there’s just something about it that bothered me. I did enjoy the letter style format which I thought gave good insight into the narrators reasoning behind his actions. The story did jump around from different time periods with little to no transitions which was a bit annoying, however, I think it’s the ending that’s not sitting well with me. The story builds up throughout and, with the exception of one detail, Felt the way I did about the ending to The Girl on the Train. I thought it was a let down. I wanted something more elaborate and cringe worthy. 3.5 stars.
May 7, 2020
Well-written and claustrophobic dark psycho thriller debut that draws the reader in superbly..

As Hatch’s impressive debut is a claustrophobic and increasingly creepy dark psychological thriller told in epistolary form that draws the reader in through a combination of a protagonist unravelling what promises to be a grimly intriguing story and descriptive writing that exerts a palpable unease from the off. The novel is told in three long letters written by Daniel in August 2033 and refers back to events that happened sixteen years earlier in a fateful ‘October’ as he shares ‘his story’ with Lucy. No prizes for guessing where Daniel is writing from or the identity of recipient, Lucy, but along with the mentions of press coverage, a trial and someone called ‘Ruby’, it was guaranteed that I was staying for the duration!

A carpenter by trade, Daniel, meets dental receptionist Victoria on Christmas Eve 2010 in the economically depressed town of Wilder-on-Sea located on the Northwest coast. A romance ensues with Victoria’s happiness Daniel’s prime objective but it is her desire for a child and subsequent betrayal that leaves Daniel bereft. The breakdown of their relationship coincides with the death of Daniel’s dementia suffering mother and the start of his communication via the ‘Inbox Inmate’ program with prisoner Ruby, locked up for assaulting her ex. Inheriting a remote cottage in the woods in his mother’s will and further withdrawing from society he lives a reclusive existence. The sudden arrival of Ruby at the door of his cottage introduces an element of uncertainty into Daniel’s life that he is thoroughly unprepared for. Drawn to her and their obvious connection he is also aware that he could have much to fear, doubts she has told him the whole truth about herself and worryingly has no idea about her intentions. But despite that, paranoid Daniel’s instinct is to explore what could prove a very fatal attraction...

Despite intuiting whom Daniel is writing to and where he is writing from early on in the novel my interest never wavered and I remained in doubt about Ruby’s intentions until the denouement actually unfolded. The prose is articulate and perceptive, not always a given in the overabundant genre of psychological thrillers, and Daniel’s warts and all character comes across convincingly, making him surprisingly sympathetic and relatable. Hatch digs deep in his character building of Daniel and his letters really do convey a sense of his jumbled feelings and tangled emotions regarding evasive Ruby. The pace is sedate and steady but the hints of the revelations to come also make it hard to put down.

Whilst the denouement proved a little underwhelming after the compelling build-up, I was impressed by the telling of an involving story, the calibre of writing and the ominous atmosphere which made for an engrossing read. Despite having reservations about the epistolary format and the story being presented from the singular perspective of Daniel it is a book that offers the reader a glimpse at a darker side of the psycho thriller genre from an author that I certainly hope to read more of.
Profile Image for Lilly.
206 reviews3 followers
May 25, 2019
Compulsive reading, this is an addictive suspenseful psychological thriller like no other.

The plot is unpredictable with lots of twists and turns along with solid engaging characters.
There is also a sense of dread as the story deals with the deep and dark corners of the human psych.

A recommended read to all fellow psychological thrillers enthusiasts.
Thanks Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC in exchange for a fair review.
Profile Image for Shawna Timms.
34 reviews1 follower
June 1, 2019
Oh, Mr. Hatch-debut novel!? Bravo!!! It's not too often I finish a novel in a day because, let's be honest, I'm a full time working mom. But This Little Dark Place had me hooked from the very beginning. What's up with Vic? Is Ruby for real? And who the heck is Lucy??? What a captivating read from start to finish. Thank you to Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Jocelyn.
237 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2019
This book really threw me for a loop. I was so uneasy reading it, it was creepy and a bit odd, which I guess was the point. A good thriller, but man... I'm still really shaken up. Full review soon.
Profile Image for Stina.
1,021 reviews1 follower
October 21, 2019
THIS LITTLE DARK PLACE is the compelling new debut from A.S. Hatch that had me hooked from the first page. It was different from what I expected, although I really didn't know what to expect, but it wasn't the dark and twisty ride that it certainly turned out to be. The reader is left questioning just what exactly is going on which keeps you guessing right up to the end. Nothing is as it seems and leaves only more questions. Even Lucy's identity wasn't forthcoming to me until just before the end...

The story begins in a unique way narrated solely by Dan in the form of letters to someone named Lucy, taking readers on a journey throughout all that lead up to where he is today. He shares the harrowing days of trying for a baby with Victoria and all her superstitions she has attached to falling pregnant. She becomes completely obsessed with it all. Her wardrobe soon only exhibits orange clothing; changing her diet to promote fertility; joining a gym; taking up yoga; but the one that hurt Dan the most was when Victoria stopped visiting his mother with him. That particular superstition was one that saw you cut off any friends of loved ones that were ill or on the brink of death. Victoria loved his mother and she loved her...but Victoria's desire to fall pregnant was far greater than her love for Ivy.

Then one day, the news they have been waiting for - Victoria is pregnant! They are both elated and overnight, it appears the old Victoria is back again, as they begin to plan the nursery and for when the baby comes. Dan is a carpenter, like his father before him, and he decides to surprise Victoria with all the necessary baby furniture - made by hand by him. He spends days and nights secretly working on them - a change table, a cot, a rocking chair for Victoria to sit in whilst nursing their baby. When he had finished, he planned to surprise Victoria when she returned home from the gym. But instead, they argue...and he never got to share the surprise with her. Later that night he finds Victoria in the rocking chair in the nursery...but nothing prepared him for what he would find.

In the midst of the turmoil he found himself in with Victoria's obsession of having a baby, Dan ultimately found himself somewhat superfluous...and incredibly lonely. It is during this time, whilst cleaning out his inbox that he discovers an email inviting him to join a virtual pen pal program called Inbox Inmate, where people exchange letters via email with prisoners. At the height of his loneliness...or maybe it was more like rock bottom...Dan fires off an email one New Years Eve. He never thought anything more about it. Until a few days later he finds a reply in his inbox from a prisoner named Ruby.

It isn't long before Dan and Ruby are exchanging secrets in their letters; deepest their fears and their darkest desires. Dan finds himself looking forward to Ruby's bright and cheery letters as opposed to the indifference he receives from Victoria.

Then when Dan's mother Ivy dies, Victoria doesn't even attend the funeral, and soon Dan learns that his mother had a cottage in the country that he knew nothing about. He drives out to this isolated cottage called Lanes End and upon finding it dilapidated decides to renovate it himself to something resembling inhabitable for he and Victoria to move into. The cottage finally ready, packed and ready to go, on the day they are to move in Victoria drops a bombshell - she is not going with him. But moving in with her personal trainer Scott.

Dan is devastated. Making the move himself, he soon becomes something of a hermit at Lanes End, cutting himself off from everyone and speaking to no one. This was meant to be a new start for him and Victoria...and instead he finds himself alone.

Added to that, Ruby dropped her own bombshell prior to the move - she was in love with him. Not knowing how to respond to that, he decided to do nothing at all. Having been rebuffed by his silence, Ruby becomes irate in her emails to Dan demanding an explanation...but he says nothing, ignoring her.

Until one day, Ruby comes looking for Dan...and never leaves. Soon, Dan finds himself questioning her motives. Who is she really? What does she want with him? Why is she here? And can she be trusted?

Woven throughout the story of Daniel's past is the one from his present - in jail. We see another tale unfolding throughout his letters to this Lucy and we are left wondering just who can be trusted? And who is Lucy? Can she be trusted?

There is so much unfolding throughout the pages of THIS LITTLE DARK PLACE, and the unique style in which it is written is a wonderfully clever concept. The entire story is told through a series of letters to the aforementioned Lucy, although at times it doesn't seem so...but rather more like it is happening as we read.

There is such an isolation to this story that is almost claustrophobic and the descriptions are chilling in parts, particularly of those surrounding Lanes End.

My only complaint is with the ending...I felt all that tension building was a bit of an anti-climax that simply didn't do the rest of the story justice. It felt a little rushed and a bit of a let down when compared to the love, pain, grief and obsession throughout. I thought it would have been a little more elaborate and satisfying.

A twisty tale of love, obsession, grief and betrayal, THIS LITTLE DARK PLACE is compelling debut that is both addictive and suspenseful.

I would like to thank #ASHatch, #NetGalley and #SerpentsTail for an ARC of #ThisLittleDarkPlace in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.
Profile Image for thebookgeordie.
37 reviews5 followers
June 20, 2019
This Little Dark Place by A.S Hatch is by far my favourite book of 2019. I do not even know where to begin writing to say how good this book was. The characters, plot, twists, suspense and narrative had me on the edge of my seat throughout and I was so sad when it finally came to the end.

I will start with the characters. Each character the reader meets within the novel has been clearly devised through huge amount of research and effort. Each character is fleshed out we learn to think, feel and breathe like them. I have never read a book that does this as well as A.S Hatch has done. The main character "Dan" is so likeable it keeps you guessing as your read as to why he is in prison? Surely a lovely guy like himself couldn't end up behind bars? The female characters in the book especially Ruby make you feel so many emotions is hard to know where your head is at between her relationship with Dan.

In terms of the plot, it is such a clever and refreshing style of writing as it is written through Dan's letters to someone called Lucy. You get to feel how Dan feels and how he thinks from page to page. The story starts of by Dan going to the very start of his life. We find out about his parents, where he lives and about the experiences he has been through (don't want to give too much away). You instantly like Dan and are keen to know more about him. Dan continues to tell his story and you go through his emotions as he writes them down on paper to Lucy. When we meet Ruby we are constantly questioning her motives and we are always thinking if we can trust her.

The twists throughout the book are ones I have not experienced they are jaw dropping and I found myself reading and recapping the page where it was revealed to make sure I was not missing anything. (Not giving anything else away about the twists)

In terms of suspense I was constantly on edge and did not want to put it down to work, eat or sleep. Hatch writes in a way which is easy to follow yet complex enough to keep you engaged and interested. As the story fleshes out the suspense unfolds more and more.

Likewise with the narrative structure of the book it is told through Dan's letters to Lucy and as already mentioned it is a refreshing and creative way of structuring a novel.

In conclusion I have to say that for a debut novel, A.S Hatch as done amazingly well, I was blown away. This is my favourite book of 2019 so far, but I doubt it will be topped! I am honoured to have been given an ARC copy by NetGalley and Serpent's Tail in exchange for an honest review! I can't wait to see what A.S Hatch does next.
Profile Image for Alisa.
301 reviews36 followers
September 6, 2019
Dan and Vic have been together for 5 years. They have been trying to have a baby for a while, but unfortunately with no success. The disappointment and despair have put a distance between them and they are slowly growing apart. Out of loneliness Dan signs up for a pen pal program intended to help prisoners. And that is how he meets Ruby. What follows after is a mess of human emotions and relationships that I just couldn't stop reading about.
Oh,I forgot to tell you about the structure of this novel. The book is set in 2033. It is told in 3 parts and each part is a letter from Dan to someone named Lucy. In these letters Dan describes his life with Vic and his complicated relationship with Ruby. There are also occasional interludes telling about his life right as he is writing the letters,and through them we also meet a few people and see all the suspicious things going on around him.
I think my favorite thing was the writing. It is like you can almost taste it. Rich and beautiful,it makes the story so compelling that you have to keep reading.
The characters were flashed out and complex ,they felt real to me. I didn't even notice it,but I became quickly attached to them and invested in their lives.
The plot was great. All these little mysteries have you guessing until the very end. Who is Lucy? Why is Dan writing letters to her? What happened in the past? What is going on in the present? I read this book in one sitting because I just had to know.
I think this is my favorite arc I've read so far this year,5 stars for sure.
Thank you to netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
10 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2019
The sort of book you want to devour in one sitting (I had to deliberately pace myself in order to be able to enjoy it a bit longer!).

The plot kept me hooked - there are several different mysteries cleverly intertwined which keep the reader guessing. The various twists/resolutions to each of those mysteries provide a very satisfying pay-off.

It's not all just plot, though - AS Hatch's prose is so skillful as to seem effortless, and really brings the characters and settings to life.

Overall, a novel that really gets into the psyche and under the skin and is likely to linger with the reader long after finishing.
Profile Image for Honestmamreader.
368 reviews15 followers
June 1, 2019
Do we truly know everyone in our life? Can you trust everything, everyone tells you?

Daniel and Victoria are happy, they are even trying for a baby. But, like every couple they have their issues.

Ruby is in prison for attempted murder. When Daniel stumbles on a pen pal scheme to write to prisoners, he inadvertently welcomes Ruby into his life. What develops is a story full of mystery.

I liked the format of being told the story through letters ✉️ though sometimes some of the descriptive writing felt unnecessary "We stumbled along silently like a three-legged creature swaying left and right. Ditches and thorny hedges lined the road. Behind them fields and fields separated us from everything; the great bay to our right, the hills to our left." Would someone actually write like this in a letter?

The first half of this story was to establish the characters, though sometimes it was still a mystery as to who some people were, which added to the suspense. It did feel a little drawn out and could have been condensed a little, just to keep our attentions.

The second half of the book was more exciting mainly due to the mysterious goings-on, the sense of distrust and suspense being built up.

Unlike some books where we are left with questions unanswered, I'm glad we got to uncover all mysteries in this story.

I give this book a 3🌟 rating. The second half boosted the rating up 👍🏻

✨✨I received a free review copy from the publisher and netgalley in exchange for my honest unedited feedback✨✨
Profile Image for Dana.
650 reviews9 followers
October 6, 2019
As soon as I see the words "psychological thriller" I'm ALL in! This Little Dark Place is a debut novel by A.S Hatch ...

I feel like a bit of the magic was lost on me at the beginning because my kindle copy was very choppy which left me confused. My copy didn't have chapters and at times things felt a bit run on. With that being said once I found a rhythm I was invested and didn't want to put it down. The characters were very well developed and intriguing, the storyline was interesting and one that absolutely played with my mind. All the twists and suspense I crave in a thriller! I was questioning the story, and at times so sure I had it all figured out ... I definitely went back and forth. Overall this is a solidly written thriller that I enjoyed and I would read more by this author.

Huge thank you to NetGalley and publisher for my review copy.
Profile Image for Kim Ebner.
Author 1 book72 followers
April 15, 2020
Diving in to this book I knew nothing about it, and I think that’s the best way to get the most out of this read. I just loved this book, and although the tension built slowly I couldn’t put this one down. Thank you lock down, for giving me the time to sink my teeth into this one and allowing me the luxury of reading it flat out for two days!

This is a story about love, obsession and betrayal. It’s narrated by Daniel who is writing to someone named Lucy, and his story unfolds through his letters. He tells Lucy all about his life, his relationships with his mother and with his wife, Vic. He also tells her about the rather bizarre friendship that he’s formed with a prison inmate, Ruby, after he decides to write to her as part of a pen pal program for prisoners. His letters culminate in him explaining how his life takes a turn for the unexpected after Ruby is released from prison and arrives on his doorstep, uninvited and totally out of the blue.

This is a psychological thriller that I found to be totally addictive. It’s so compelling, and the pacing is spot on. I turned each page waiting for things to go up a notch, and sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t, which just left me sitting on the edge of my seat for most of the novel, desperately trying to work out where things were going.

This isn’t an especially lengthy novel coming in at about 270 pages, which is just as well, because once you start it, you’ll want to keep going. If you’re the type of reader who likes your thrillers to be slower, and more character driven, then you’re in for a treat with this book. I loved it, and that’s saying a lot because I usually prefer my thrillers to be racy with a good amount of shock factor thrown. This book isn’t exactly like that. Yes, there are some twists and turns, but this one is more of a slow burn. It’s a look at relationships, and at obsession, and how a person can be driven to do crazy things in the name of love.

It’s great. Loved it.
Profile Image for Jeanniehay64 .
361 reviews28 followers
October 25, 2019
If you’re looking for a dark, tense Halloween read then This Little Dark Place is the one for you !!

Daniel and Victoria are a young couple struggling to have a baby. This infringes on their relationship and Daniel struggles to connect with Victoria and finds himself becoming close to Ruby a prisoner who he writes to on a pen pal scheme. This online relationship allows them both to discuss their deepest thoughts without having to meet physically.

Daniels mum dies leaving him a run down cottage which he takes pleasure in doing up. Victoria’s interests lie elsewhere as she becomes interested in spending more time at the gym with her personal trainer.

When Ruby is released from prison and seeks out Daniel will their relationship move up a level? Will Victoria and Daniel reconnect? Or go their separate ways?

This book is divided into different parts bound together with Daniel in the future recounting events to Lucy. My main question throughout the book was who is Lucy? When all the prices of the story came together I was speechless. The twists had me holding my breath and reading in disbelief.

What a fantastic debut novel. Truly unique and beautifully crafted . The suspense and intrigue jumped from the pages leaving me wanting to read more from this gifted author.
248 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2019
The novel is written in the first person by Daniel, as a letter to Lucy. It is a slow burn of a story, as our narrator describes his upbringing and his marriage to Victoria. One lonely night, Daniel joins an online pen pal site to correspond with prison inmates. And...no spoilers. This very original book was suspenseful and ominous and I couldn’t put it down. What a good book!
Profile Image for Jennie.
198 reviews
August 27, 2019
Special thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for the honest review.

4 stars.

Story is narrated by Dan in the form of letters to Lucy. The letters outline his relationships with his wife, Victoria, and his prison pen-pal Ruby. Well written debut with many twists and turns that cause the reader to change their opinions of said characters. Overall, 4 stars.
Profile Image for Susan Hampson.
1,522 reviews55 followers
October 5, 2019
The story is told in the form of letters to a woman called Lucy, by Daniel who is a very likable character. He is open and honest going way back to when he was much younger up to the point that he falls in love with Victoria and gets married. He is easy going, a little bit too much and supports his beautiful wife in anything she wants to do.
Daniel gets involved with a penpal system where he writes to an inmate in prison called Ruby, who swears that she has been wrongfully convicted of a violent crime. What starts as a basic how are you doing sort of penpal grows into something bigger.
The setting is so very perfect, with the house surrounded by woods tucked away from prying eyes which at times feels safe and inviting but at others a place that made me edgy and vulnerable. This is a cracking story that was simply impossible to guess how it would all end, as it branches so many ways and comes back on its self.
My heckles were up as the story seemed to turn on to unpredictable paths that were impossible to backtrack, as it headed full-on towards a dark and twisty place, perfect reading for the evenings that are drawing in now.
An unusual way to write a story but it worked brilliantly, a super debut from an exciting new author.
I wish to thank the publisher for an e-copy of this book, which I have reviewed honestly.
Profile Image for Joanne Robertson.
1,349 reviews549 followers
October 18, 2019
This Little Dark Place is a debut that completely knocked me for six with its dark and foreboding tension and slow, simmering seduction of our senses. Everything about this book worked for me and as soon as I turned the last page, I just wanted to start it all over again.

Daniel and Victoria are a young couple who are trying for a baby. And as anyone who’s ever struggled to get pregnant knows, it gets very stressful when your life revolves around ovulation and cycles. It’s also an extremely emotive topic and there was one scene described that I did find incredibly difficult and upsetting to read but it wasn’t handled in a gratuitous manner so I am very grateful to the author for that. And so it was no wonder that Daniel looked outside his relationship for someone disconnected from his home life he could talk to. And that is how he ends up communicating with Jade, a female prisoner on a prisoner pen pal scheme. Their letters to each other give them both the opportunity to reveal their deepest and darkest thoughts and desires which may not have come to anything if it had just remained an online relationship! But when Ruby is released from prison, she seeks out Daniel in his “little dark place”, a cottage that has been left to him and that he is slowly doing up.

Daniel was a very intense character who had a habit of overthinking things especially when it came to relationships. His overwhelming desire to be loved meant that he often misread or deliberately ignored signs that things weren’t quite as he thought and this lead him to make some rather questionable decisions!

The book was divided into three sections but all were entangled together by the Daniel of the future writing to the mysterious Lucy. What has happened for him to have yet another pen pal relationship and what can be concluded by the comparisons between both relationships? The answers come thick and fast towards the end of This Little Dark Place with some breathtaking twists and I absolutely adored how everything came together.

It’s hard to believe that this is actually a debut novel! It is just so beautifully crafted and confidently presented with an emotionally intense narrative that I was completely obsessed by and so read in one sitting. I can’t wait to read more by A.S. Hatch as he is talent well worth keeping an eye out for in the future.

Highly recommended by me.
Profile Image for Priya Shrinath.
316 reviews14 followers
August 15, 2019
‘This Little Dark Place’ is a dark, unsettling psychological thriller and I am trying my best to review this Novel without giving out the story, as it will be a spoiler of fun for my fellow readers!

Daniel, a carpenter and Victoria are in a relationship and they live in a quiet little town where nothing really happens. Dan is happy doing his carpentry works and lives in peace, Victoria though, gets bored often. She is often looking for something to do, something to kill time. But soon gets restless and does something weird. The list goes on, until one day she decides to get pregnant.

The couple try and try for an year, and an other. One miscarriage after another occurs, leaving Victoria angry and hopeless. Soon, the couple aren’t functional anymore. They hardly talk to each other and indulge themselves in other activities just to stay in the same house.

That’s when Dan encounters a program online called Inbox Inmates where people are allowed to talk to inmates in prison through anonymous network where their identities are concealed. Then one day he receives a letter from a female inmate called Ruby whose email intrigues Dan to reply her and this begins a weird relationship between the two of them.

Meanwhile Dan is devastated after the death of his mother whose long suffering Dementia only made it worse for the couple. Surprisingly, Dan inherits an old unused cottage cum shed from his mother, which is literally surrounded by wilderness. Dan decides to renovate and move in there with Vic, which is somehow the beginning and end of his life!

The whole novel is in the form of letters or diary entries written by Dan to someone named Lucy from an undisclosed location and a futuristic timeline (year 2033!). Since Dan is the only available narrator who is unreliable and wavering right from the start, the reader has no other option than to trust his perspective on the other characters including Ruby and Victoria. Adding to the mystery, Dan’s narration becomes a mirror of the reader’s thoughts, displaying the exact questions that are slowly creeping into the reader’s brain. As crazy as this might sound, this is one very intelligent tool used by the author to play mind games with his audience and he really aces it!

This book is highly psychological with a thriller element that creates an unease right from the page 1. It only gets darker and spine-chilling as the story progresses and A.S. Hatch maintains a steady pace throughout. Now as a reader, I am still shaky from my reading experience, as my brain wanted to quit this book and take a breath but I just couldn’t put it down! Definitely one of the unusually breathtaking books I’ve read and totally unforgettable.

I volunteered to review this book on Netgalley and thanks to the publisher for my E-Galley. All opinions are mine.
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