The Dark Room

The Dark Room

Gavin Cain, an SFPD homicide inspector, is in the middle of an exhumation when his phone rings. San Francisco’s mayor is being blackmailed and has ordered Cain back to the city; a helicopter is on its way. The casket, and Cain’s cold-case investigation, must wait. At City Hall, the mayor shows Cain four photographs he’s received: the first, an unforgettable blonde; the sec...

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Title:The Dark Room
Author:Jonathan Moore
Rating:
ISBN:0544784677
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:294 pages

The Dark Room Reviews

  • Diane S ☔
    Jan 22, 2017

    The seeming black mail of a mayor. A disinterred grave with a horrifying discovery inside, a dysfunctional family, and secrets long thought buried come to light. This author and I, his writing style, his characters, get along very well. Although different in feel and tone than his previous novel, which I loved, I found this one equally engaging.

    Gavin Cane, homicide detective, is an interesting and likable character. His dogged personality and his ability to put things together has served him we

    The seeming black mail of a mayor. A disinterred grave with a horrifying discovery inside, a dysfunctional family, and secrets long thought buried come to light. This author and I, his writing style, his characters, get along very well. Although different in feel and tone than his previous novel, which I loved, I found this one equally engaging.

    Gavin Cane, homicide detective, is an interesting and likable character. His dogged personality and his ability to put things together has served him well. His relationship with Annie, fraught with anxiety, is also unusual. The author does not use a heavy handed approach in fleshing out his lead character, leaving the reader a chance to form their own opinions.

    Evenly paced, enjoyable reading that is not horribly graphic, this has become one of my new favorite authors.. Can't wait to read the next one.

    ARC from publisher..

  • Jessica Woodbury
    Jul 22, 2016

    I am picky about my crime reads. It's a hard genre to read because there's so much of the same thing over and over, when I really like to read things that are different. THE DARK ROOM has potential, it's well plotted and interesting. I would certainly recommend it to a lot of mystery and procedural lovers. I'll be going back to look at Moore's previous novels and I appreciate his clear and meticulous approach.

    But this book, like so much of the genre, has a woman problem. It's not a lack of femal

    I am picky about my crime reads. It's a hard genre to read because there's so much of the same thing over and over, when I really like to read things that are different. THE DARK ROOM has potential, it's well plotted and interesting. I would certainly recommend it to a lot of mystery and procedural lovers. I'll be going back to look at Moore's previous novels and I appreciate his clear and meticulous approach.

    But this book, like so much of the genre, has a woman problem. It's not a lack of female characters, which is usually what you see. I think there are actually more female characters than male characters in this book, not too common in this genre. But the women fall into two categories. There are the women who get to be people (many of them police or other professionals) and the women who get to be objects. The professional women are treated similarly to the male characters, are allowed to be smart or make mistakes. But there is a character who literally takes off her clothes every time she interacts with the (male, obviously) detective, and no she is not involved with him romantically. It is just a thing that she does because she is (of course) young and beautiful and mysterious. This is also a story where the main plot is one where men kill a young, beautiful woman in an awful way. I am honestly so tired of this setup that I have quit several books that start with that premise. And there is the detective's girlfriend, who is delicate and fragile and traumatized and beautiful because of course she is.

    I get that a lot of readers don't care about these things or are so used to them that they don't notice. But I know there are other readers like me who are weary of women in peril and women being objectified in what they read so I do owe it to them to point it out.

    If that's a dealbreaker for you, you should move along. I was still able to enjoy and finish this book and it sated my appetite for a fast and entertaining read. But my caveats apply, you can choose accordingly.

  • L.P. Logan
    Dec 27, 2016

    This book was so captivating, that it kept me locked in my room, secreted away, and missing a Christmas party with the family (which could be both a good and bad thing.) However the point is, this is a GOOD one.

    I can't say I have ever been one for murder books. But this one . . . there was something about the intense attention to detail, the enthralling plotline, and a writing style that keeps you on your toes that I just couldn't get enough of. I will be reading all of Jonathan Moore's books,

    This book was so captivating, that it kept me locked in my room, secreted away, and missing a Christmas party with the family (which could be both a good and bad thing.) However the point is, this is a GOOD one.

    I can't say I have ever been one for murder books. But this one . . . there was something about the intense attention to detail, the enthralling plotline, and a writing style that keeps you on your toes that I just couldn't get enough of. I will be reading all of Jonathan Moore's books, because, let's face it, this man knows how to tell a frickin' awesome story!

    So read this one. Because its dang good and you know you need another good book in your life.

  • Melissa
    Dec 30, 2016

    follows-up

    with an entirely different style, feel and set of characters. He goes from a plot hidden among the hazy fog, to a compelling police procedural. Completely different, but both deliciously dark and proof that this author has range. What felt familiar was Mr. Moore’s affinity for masking the truth. For making me feel duped in some ways. It seems he never gives up everything all at once. Honestly, is there anything better in a crime thriller?

    I don’t want t

    follows-up

    with an entirely different style, feel and set of characters. He goes from a plot hidden among the hazy fog, to a compelling police procedural. Completely different, but both deliciously dark and proof that this author has range. What felt familiar was Mr. Moore’s affinity for masking the truth. For making me feel duped in some ways. It seems he never gives up everything all at once. Honestly, is there anything better in a crime thriller?

    I don’t want to spoil anything from THE POISON ARTIST, so I’ll only go so far to say it’s the SFPD homicide inspectors that loosely connect the two books. Meaning, if you feel like picking this one up without having read TPA - go for it. Having read them back-to-back, I can assure you, this is a true standalone. There are no spoilers or anything that could potentially taint your enjoyment of this book or the first, should you read them out of order.

    The opening is compelling and quite morbid. Literally, as Inspector Cain is watching a coffin being exhumed, he’s reassigned to work on a case involving photographs of what appears to be a frightened young woman in a compromising situation. The photos tell somewhat of a story, but without the entire set of prints, it’s hard to guess how things ended for her. The cryptic note that accompanies the photos alludes that the Mayor knows exactly what happened. So the question becomes, why is the Mayor of San Francisco being blackmailed and what isn’t he telling Inspector Cain?

    I could almost smell the decay of the body being unearthed after thirty years, feel the chill of the air in the morgue as I witnessed the autopsies, conjure up the photographs of the woman so clearly it was as if I was holding them in my own hands and feel myself cringe at the description of gray-red brain tissue. Not every writer has the ability to do that. To completely enthrall a reader in this way. So kudos Mr. Moore.

    What at first seems to be a straight forward investigation is anything but. I’m talking no holds barred, watch your back, you don’t see the twists coming good. Wow . . . and that ending! Mr. Moore has me convinced there might be a few crazies running around San Francisco.

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    Jan 11, 2017

    I'll be honest, after seeing the widely varied reviews of

    I wasn't sure what to expect of Moore's latest book. I originally passed on reviewing TPA because I was overwhelmed with other requests I'd committed to and, unfortunately let those reviews sway my decision. Even though that book was a 180 from

    , I still would like to go back and read it as I was highly impressed with his form of storytelling and writing style. Most of my Goodreads buds are aware of my deep

    I'll be honest, after seeing the widely varied reviews of

    I wasn't sure what to expect of Moore's latest book. I originally passed on reviewing TPA because I was overwhelmed with other requests I'd committed to and, unfortunately let those reviews sway my decision. Even though that book was a 180 from

    , I still would like to go back and read it as I was highly impressed with his form of storytelling and writing style. Most of my Goodreads buds are aware of my deep love of police procedurals and my constant search for the very best ones; if you are a fellow lover of the sub-genre of crime fiction please pick this up. I can't recommend it highly enough!

    This story has all the qualities a reader looks for in a solid police procedural; sharp, fleshed out characters, witty banter, a complex mystery with many twists I didn't see coming, and a conclusion that gave the reader closure without being too neat and tidy. I was particularly pleased once I read the author's closing note; he stated that he wrote another novel prior to this one, but his publishing team felt he needed to write another story to pave the way for his 2018 publication

    . I'm not sure if this means that these two books will be connected and the beginning of a crime series featuring Inspector Cain or if this is simply a case of wanting to use a familiar setting with varying characters in a "standalone" series. Either way, count me in! I'd love to see more of Cain and a continuation of some of the loose ends from TDR. I think my only complaint is that I wanted more! I felt like I blew through the book (it is only 293 pages after all) and had the instant sensation of when you've met up with an old acquaintance and you feel you simply blinked and it's already time to say goodbye. I think the author has created something really special in the foundation of this book and could really take it places if he chooses to do so.

    If you've had a chance to see the cover in person you realize how absolutely intriguing it is. It truly looks like the light is coming out of the page; I was highly impressed with the texture and depth the graphic team created and just had to touch on the impression it made on me as a tactile reader. This book heavily featured noir characteristics and managed to feel equal parts dialogue, action, and atmosphere. The author succeeded in drawing me in as a reader with his plot containing past and present tense, even though I typically do not read much in the way of historical fiction. There wasn't a boring moment in this book and it did not focus too heavily on the procedural factors which kept the pacing up to my liking. Highly recommended for mystery fans needing a quick read that entertains the whole way through; I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for

    in 2018 with my fingers crossed for more from the SFPD homicide department!

  • Perry
    Jan 30, 2017

    2.5 stars

    Kept me turning the pages but zero character development. The Patterson blurb implying similarities to Connelly's Bosch series is laughable. Bosch has a detective's soul, tormented and righteous. I can't even recall the protagonist detective's name here or anything notable about him.

  • Laura Rash
    Mar 01, 2017

    A traditional type mystery with an interesting set of characters. A fast paced great read.

  • Liz Barnsley
    Feb 04, 2017

    I was a fan of "The Poison Artist" the first in a loose trilogy from Jonathan Moore, it was different and compelling and entirely gripping. With The Dark Room he has changed things up and out and I do believe I love this one more - I read it in two hugely immersive sittings, this is a slice of dark noir that digs deep with some beautifully composed characters (something that The Poison Artist also could boast of) and a story that just grabs you by the heart and won't let go.

    Whilst the first book

    I was a fan of "The Poison Artist" the first in a loose trilogy from Jonathan Moore, it was different and compelling and entirely gripping. With The Dark Room he has changed things up and out and I do believe I love this one more - I read it in two hugely immersive sittings, this is a slice of dark noir that digs deep with some beautifully composed characters (something that The Poison Artist also could boast of) and a story that just grabs you by the heart and won't let go.

    Whilst the first book was a deep seated psychological thriller, The Dark Room, whilst maintaining that gorgeous prose unique to this author, has an entirely different feel about it. Both mystery and drama, with a main protagonist in Cain who holds you in the story and keeps you hooked, this is a dark often hard hitting tale with some haunting and emotive themes as its driving force. Starting with an exhumation and ending with what I can only describe as an indelible hit to the senses, the story twists and turns beautifully, keeping you off kilter and never sure what may happen next.

    The characters are rich and full of depth, the mystery itself is eerie and fascinating, the writing is pacy yet considerably eloquent and the reading of it is often intense and ultimately very satisfying. I think you could say I'm now a huge fan - the fact that Jonathan Moore has now offered within a glass darkly two very different and yet similarly clever novels means that I will look forward hugely to The Night Market next year. In fact couldn't I have it now please? Oh go on....

    The style may not be for everyone bur from me it comes Highly Recommended. HIGHLY.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    Feb 11, 2017

    Inspector Gavin Cain of the SFPD is interviewing San Francisco Mayor Harry Castelli about a packet of blackmail photographs that he received that date back to the 1980s. The girl in the photographs is who they are discussing. Now the interesting thing about this interview is that Cain is playing dumb on purpose. He knows the girl looks like Bacall, but he throws Lana Turner out there to make Castelli correct him. There is no way that anyone would confuse Lana Turner and Lauren Bacall. Bacall is about as distinctive of a woman to ever grace the silver screen. The only woman I’ve ever seen on film who looks even vaguely like her is Lisbeth Scott, who I always refer to as the poor director’s Lauren Bacall. If you can’t afford Bacall, you get Scott.

    Now me, I’d be very leery of Cain at this point. He’s playing a bit of the Columbo, but Castelli has been drinking like a fish, not plowed, but as foggy as the streets of San Francisco. He isn’t quite tracking. If I were his handler, I’d have put the cops off until I had a chance to sober him up or at least have the cops talk to him first thing in the morning while he was hung over, but not yet starting his daily backstroke in a bourbon bath.

    Castelli does the right thing calling the cops in, and Cain catches the case because he has the most seniority. He has other cases that he’d rather be working on, but a high profile case like this takes priority over everything else.

    But doesn’t this feel like the type of thing a guy like Castelli would handle on his own? Powerful men and blackmailers go together like vodka and cunning eyed blondes. You pay off blackmailers or call in a favor to make them go away. The fact that Castelli calls the cops, instead of say a Philip Marlowe type, is interesting, maybe even puzzling.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that he is innocent...naw can’t be that. The question is more about how guilty is he.

    Cain goes to talk to Castelli’s wife and daughter, which if I wasn’t already having some

    flashbacks, I am now. If you remember from the book or the movie of

    , there is the Sternwood mansion with one member of the family as crazy or crazier than the last one. Bogie spends most of the movie trying to figure out what is going on from people who haven’t had their feet planted on the real terra firma in a long time. Alexa Castelli is the daughter, and she is an IA investigation waiting to happen. She is comfortable with her body and doesn’t mind sharing it with everyone, including an unsuspecting police officer by the name of Cain. The mother is waiting for Cain with a pitcher of martinis, her eyes floating with gin dreams. Her engagement with reality is just a broken string of half thoughts and lost memories weighed down by a melancholy future.

    Power and money do not make you happy. You still have to like yourself to be happy.

    Cain has an interesting back story. He is involved with a piano teacher named Lucy, who has an anxiety order similar to agoraphobia. Jonathan Moore does a wonderful job giving us just enough about the source of a problem without actually revealing the story to us. He puts us on high alert for the rest of the book, looking for the clues that will reveal those missing pieces. So while we are trying to figure out the blackmailing story, we are puzzling over another case that may connect to the blackmailing case involving an exhumed casket, we fret over the backstory on Lucy, and of course, we are looking for any information that Moore wishes to breadcrumb to us regarding the mysterious Inspector Gavin Cain.

    I love the way Moore sprinkles CSI stuff in that is, frankly, fascinating.

    The case is strange, but becomes more twisted and sinister as more is revealed. As Cain and his partner close in on the perpetrators, the hunters become the hunted. Cain finds himself in a nightmare where he has seconds to be there in time, but is long minutes away. The conclusions will leave your heart pounding and sweat trickling down your neck. Readers who like the references reminiscent of the days of Philip Marlowe will love those subtle undertones, but those just looking for a great thriller will also be equally satisfied. The San Francisco backdrop again proves a fertile ground for Jonathan Moore. I’ve heard there is a third book already in the can. Sign me up.

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  • Paromjit
    Feb 26, 2017

    This novel was a joy to read from beginning to end. It is in the best tradition of the darkest noir where the city of San Francisco is not only the the backdrop but a major player in this intricate and complex story. It reminded me of the classics of the golden age of hard-boiled detective fiction. Gavin Cain is a detective Inspector with SFPD exhuming a body on a case triggered by a deathbed video recording of a funeral director. He is pulled off the case when a more urgent present day case ari

    This novel was a joy to read from beginning to end. It is in the best tradition of the darkest noir where the city of San Francisco is not only the the backdrop but a major player in this intricate and complex story. It reminded me of the classics of the golden age of hard-boiled detective fiction. Gavin Cain is a detective Inspector with SFPD exhuming a body on a case triggered by a deathbed video recording of a funeral director. He is pulled off the case when a more urgent present day case arises, Harry Castelli, the mayor is being blackmailed. He has been sent 4 incriminating photographs of a young girl with a message that there are others and that the mayor should do the decent thing and kill himself.

    Harry claims he has never seen the girl before, but Cain does not believe him. Cain finds himself working with Special Agent Karen Fischer as they trawl through the deeper recesses of the mayor's life. Castelli's wife, Mona, is in a constant drunken stupor, and the daughter, Alexa, is seriously damaged goods and in a continuous state of undress with all and sundry. The photographs reveal that the male in a picture has a Pi Kappa Kappa tattoo, a fraternity that was outlawed but went underground, and it turns out Harry has such a tattoo. The girl is difficult to identify although Cain has his suspicions that there may be a link with the exhumation. However, nothing is as it seems in a case that brings a murderous blood drenched trail close to the police team and Gavin's personal life. The twists are outstanding, making this an impossible book to put down.

    This is a beautifully multilayered read, the plotting is superb and the narrative keeps you hooked. The intense and vivid descriptions make you feel as if you are in San Francisco. The characters are sharply drawn with sufficient details to render them both arresting and compelling, such as Mona and Alexa. Gavin's partner, Lucy, is a pianist in the throes of a deeply ravaging trauma, and she adds another intense layer to the story. A novel I am happy to recommend highly. Thanks to Orion for an ARC.