Sunday, February 23, 2020

Watching from the Dark

Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge
Penguin Random House: 2/25/20
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781984818072
DCI Jonah Sheens #2 

Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge is a highly recommended police procedural and the second in the DCI Jonah Sheens series.

Late one night Aidan Poole is on Skype to his girlfriend Zoe Swardadine. He doesn't actually see Zoe, but he hears her moving around her apartment and starting a bath. Aidan hears her get into the tub, but then he also hears someone enter her apartment. He sees no one but he hears a struggle, someone leave, and then nothing from Zoe. Aidan listens to the silence for a couple hours. He is sure she has been killed, but he waits to contact the police. When he finally does contact them, it is an odd message and he doesn't leave his name.

Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team take the case after Aidan sends a second follow-up message later. They find her body. It looks like a suicide, but clues point to murder. As they look into Zoe's life, they see that Zoe was a beloved friend who had a whole host of friends who relied on her for emotional support. They also uncover Aidan's identity and the reason for his reluctance to contact the authorities immediately and leave his name. It seems during the investigation, everyone loved Zoe but they are all harboring secrets.

The writing is excellent and the plot is perfectly executed as the investigation uncovers secrets and motives. Chapters alternate between the present day investigation and recounting the final 20 months of Zoe's life. The alternating narratives work well in Watching from the Dark as they help establish Zoe as a real, complicated character. Zoe's backstory starts with her meeting Aidan and works up to the present. All the suspects are met, developed, and their actions followed in Zoe's story and the present day investigation.

The investigators are also established as well-developed characters. Following along with the investigation into Zoe's death is just as interesting as her backstory. This leaves readers with many suspects in this procedural that veers into psychological thriller territory. Astute readers will likely know whodunit early on, but the journey is compelling.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

No comments: