Hard boiled journalist Jake Eldritch is embroiled in an on/off relationship with Mariana, the tough but sympathetic proprietor of a nightclub. It’s in this nightclub that Jake first spots Amanita, the white haired siren who may or may not be responsible for the spate of mysterious deaths known as ‘Dead Men Sleeping’.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, we’re deep into the seedy alleyways of noir in this crime/horror mash-up by the rather wonderful Paula R.C. Readman; full-time writer, part-time painter, full-on goth and all-round lovely human being.
But before anyone starts to think that Seeking the Dark may be just another serial killer thriller, the whiff of the supernatural enters the story as it dawns that these deaths may have been occurring for a very long time indeed, perhaps even hundreds of years.
Why do all the victims have bite marks on their necks? What’s the connection with the website used by women to expose their love rat lovers? Why do the mysterious deaths of Jake’s parents in Albania resurface now, of all times?
Enter slippery detective Bard Walker, assigned to catch the killer and wrap the case up, and Dog, the ferociously unpleasant dealer of hard drugs, and you have all the ingredients needed for a rain-soaked, gutter level, darkly erotic horror-thriller that is best read after dark.
Everyone who enters the orbit of Jake and Amanita, it seems, gets drawn into their downward spiral of madness, violence sand sleaze. And questions circle like hungry vultures. All this is pulled together for a tight and exciting denouement that will leave you feeling hungry for more.
Readman is an author who doesn’t shy away from graphic scenes and perhaps even relishes dragging her characters through the mire. Seeking the Dark is an unsettling, immersive experience that will leave you feeling like you need a good bath to scrub away all the sin. And that’s a compliment by the way. Seek it out if you dare.