All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Darkest Place by Jaye Ford

on February 28, 2016

Darkest PlaceDarkest Place
Jaye Ford
Random House AUS
2016, 390p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

What do you do when your nightmares are real – and no one believes you?

Carly Townsend is starting over after a decade of tragedy and pain. In a new town and a new apartment she’s determined to leave the memories and failures of her past behind.

However that dream is shattered in the dead of night when she is woken by the shadow of a man next to her bed, silently watching her. And it happens week after week.

Yet there is no way an intruder could have entered the apartment. It’s on the fourth floor, the doors are locked and there is no evidence that anyone has been inside.

With the police doubting her story, and her psychologist suggesting it’s all just a dream, Carly is on her own. And being alone isn’t so appealing when you’re scared to go to sleep . . .

I went to university in Newcastle many years ago now and I love reading books set there. I loved my time living there, it’s a wonderful place, lots of funky suburbs, good facilities and beautiful beaches. When I lived there, it was cheap, you could rent a place close to the university or on a good transport line for next to nothing. It was my first real experience with “my own place” after living in dorms and I really enjoyed it. I was sad to leave Newcastle and I always love being able to get back for a visit. I’ll gravitate to anything set there and that plus the fact that Jaye Ford is a must read for me had me putting this one high on the priority list.

Carly has had some very bad things happen but she’s moved from the country to Newcastle in an attempt to start over, in a lovely apartment in a converted old warehouse. The problems begin when she wakes to find a man standing over her bed and even though she calls the police, they can’t seem to find any evidence that anyone was in the apartment, nor any way in which he could’ve gotten in. After several of these calls, the police become frustrated and warn her sternly about wasting valuable police time. Carly has had prior mental health issues and with nothing to suggest anyone is breaking in, it’s hard for them to believe Carly is experiencing what she claims. Her psychologist puts it down to particularly vivid dreaming and for a while, Carly is able to convince herself that it isn’t happening. That when she feels as though she’s waking up, hearing a person breathing in the room with her, feeling them lie on top of her, it isn’t real.

The suspense builds in the most awesome way in this novel and Jaye Ford weaves in several different elements of escalating tension – is there someone really breaking into apartments undetected in some way and if so, how are they doing it? Or is this a product of Carly’s fragile mind, is she feeling guilt or trauma at things that have occurred in her past and punishing herself somehow? Is she slowly losing her grip on reality? Or is there something so sinister going on that even the police have no idea where to look?

I’m a bit of a wuss, so I’m glad I read this in the daytime because my husband works nights and I’m often home alone well into the early hours of the morning and I often start a new book when I go to bed. If I’d picked this one I would’ve been in for a long and sleepless night for 2 reasons – one because it’s impossible to put down, I had to know what was happening and two, because I’d be jumping at every noise, real and imaginary! There’d be nothing worse than going to bed and not knowing whether or not someone was going to be able to get inside your safe space. If she’s imagining it, what does it mean for her journey and starting over? And if she isn’t….exactly what sort of sinister thing is happening to her and is she the only one experiencing it?

This book kept me riveted and kept taking me to unexpected places with each new plot development. I really found myself getting behind Carly as a character, feeling for her for what she’d experienced in her past but it didn’t stop me wondering just how much toll that’d taken on her psyche. I admired the way she was determined to get to the bottom of what was happening, whether or not it was her mind or if it was something else.

I’ve read nearly all of Jaye Ford’s books now – somehow I’ve missed the first one but have read the next four after that and they just keep getting better. Her protagonists are always believably flawed and have experienced things that leave deep impressions. The plots are tightly constructed and there’s always just enough creep factor to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I’m reading. I find them very satisfying and I hope they keep coming.

9/10

Book #31 of 2016

AWWC2016

Darkest Place is the 18th book for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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One response to “Review: Darkest Place by Jaye Ford

  1. Susan Legg says:

    Definitely not a good idea to read this book at night alone! The best book ever to have me hanging by my fingertips until the end. Just brilliant.

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