The Woman in the Dark: a slow-burning spine tingler

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage is a chilling thriller that will leave you questioning everything you know about those closest to you. The family dynamics in this story are raw and really tear apart the fundamentals of family relationships. With a shock ending that will leave you breathless, this is an extraordinary thriller. The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage is out on 10 January, 2019 from Sphere.

The story
Patrick and Sarah have a happy marriage and a happy family, but he wants more. He wants to move back into his childhood home by the seaside to live the ideal life. However, a family was murdered in that very house years ago and it has not been able to rid itself of its past, and Sarah has a bad feeling about it. After an apparent suicide attempt, Sarah agrees to move into the ‘murder house’ as she questions her own personal decisions. Once they move in and Sarah meets Ben, Anna and Tom, the man who’s family was killed in the house, she notices that this might not be the dream house of Patrick’s past and something much darker. As their family reaches breaking point, Sarah will do whatever it takes to save her children.

Why I like this book…
The Woman in the Dark is a great thriller because it builds on so many things we hold near and dear; marriage, parent-child relationships and a sense of comfort in your own home and tugs at these things until you become uneasy about all of them. This is a very realistic setting and situation which makes it very tense and uncomfortable to read at times. I found this enjoyable in a thriller because it hit home in ways I’ve not felt from many thrillers recently.
Sarah is a good lead character, although Mia is my favourite character. I understand not showing it from the viewpoint of a hormonal teenager, but she had a lot more to tell in my opinion. Sarah’s character is 90% of the narrative voice of the novel, and her personal insecurities and uncertainty are prevalent from page one and make you wonder if it is her that is the problem. Many a time I was concerned about what she might do rather than about what could happen to her. Patrick is an interesting one; as his character deteriorates as he is faced with his past, I find that his own mental health was not explored as much as it could have been. This touches on the ways that male mental health is addressed in real time, and I hope that Savage intended to show what can become of untreated mental illness from that perspective.

Overall, The Woman in the Dark is a compelling novel. It was not the quickest read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and was happy to take my time with this book. I would recommend this to lovers of domestic drama/thriller fiction and general lovers of crime and dark fiction. Thank you to Sphere for my proof copy of The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage in exchange for an honest review.

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