HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY: INTO THE DARK By Fiona Cummins @panmacmillan @FionaAnnCummins #IntoTheDark #BookReview

Available now / Hardcover / ebook / audiobook /


THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.

THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.

THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.

One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:


What happens next?


PHEW, Where do I start with this review? If you want a rollercoaster read that will have you doing twists and turns in every direction, and you can handle a dark story. Then this may be for you.

Set in a beautiful upmarket seaside town in Essex, called Midtown on Sea. Piper and Julianne have known each other for years. Both are married, both have two children, neither is exactly happy in their marriages. But then one morning Julianne calls for Piper as usual for their morning run, normally Piper opens the door as soon as Julianne arrives but this time there’s no one. This is unusual, when the housekeeper arrives they both enter the house. Breakfast bowls are out, three mobile phones are charging, the children’s schoolbags are there. It just looks like everyone left in a hurry. But their passports are still there. What has happened to the Holden family. Why is there a fine spray of blood on the chandelier?

DC Saul Anguish has just arrived in Midtown, he is there to join the major crimes unit, although he doesn’t get off to a great start with his boss DI Angus O’Neill.

So this sounds pretty straightforward, family missing, police investigate. If only it was that simple. The story jumps from before and after the disappearance letting the reader know what happened leading up to the Holdens disappearing then what happens after. Are the family dead?

Other chapters are the police investigation, as well as DC Saul Anguish meeting Forensic linguist Dr Clover March, he takes quite a shine to her. But is DC Anguish as good as we expect him to be? Does Dr March have secrets. Can we believe anything any of the narrators say? I am beginning to think one of the characters is from the authors book The Collector.

This is such a twisted read, I had no idea who I could trust, everyone seems to have secrets, some are bigger than others. But this story is about greed, obsession, jealousy, lies, treachery, selfishness. I even considered the nature/nurture debate with regards to Piper, she had lost her sister when she was younger because her family were poor and couldn’t pay for treatment she needed. Could this have made her the way she was?

This one very dark read from start to finish, the tension is low at the beginning but gradually it builds throughout, just as you think you have something worked out a spanner is thrown in the works telling you you have it wrong. I can’t even say I liked any of the characters they all seemed to have things from their pasts, some have darker things than others.

I honestly don’t know how the author kept up with the characters everything in this book is complex. if you like a dark crime read then I would definitely give this a go. Fiona Cummins has outdone herself with this one.

This is one gripping, engrossing, edge of your seat bumper ride, with characters that are fully developed, believable, not so likeable. The pace is fast, making you turn the pages as fast as you can.

I would like to thank #Netgalley and #PanMacmillan for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.


Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy, where she now teaches her own Writing Crime course. She is the bestselling author of five crime thriller novels, all of which have received widespread critical acclaim from household names including Val McDermid, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin. Three of her novels have been optioned for television.

Rattle, her debut, has been translated into several languages and Marcel Berlins wrote in The Times: ‘Amid the outpouring of crime novels, Rattle is up there with the best of them.’ Fiona was selected for McDermid’s prestigious New Blood panel at the 2017 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, where her novel was nominated for a Dead Good Reader Award for Most Exceptional Debut. A sequel, The Collector, was published in February 2018 and David Baldacci described it as ‘A crime novel of the very first order’.

Her third novel – standalone thriller The Neighbour – was published in April 2019. Ian Rankin called it ‘creepy as hell’. Her fourth novel When I Was Ten, an Irish Times bestseller, was published in April 2021. Into The Dark, Fiona’s fifth novel, will be published in April 2022 and was described by Sarah Vaughan, author of Netflix smash-hit Anatomy of A Scandal, as ‘Complex. Inventive. Twisty. Unsettling.’

When Fiona is not writing, she can be found on Twitter, eating biscuits or walking her dogs.

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