The second book I’ve read this year, Dark Fragments by Rob Sinclair is an intriguing and dark read. I enjoyed the exploration into the mind of a psychopath and seeing what drove him to the edge in his internal struggle between good and evil. I felt that the pressures of his life were well-detailed and the overall story thoroughly entertaining.
Ben Stephens is a good, happy man. Married with two children, one from his late wife and one from his new wife, Ben seems to have things sorted out. Then his sister, Dani reemerges in his life and brings up the murder of his late wife again and things begin to spiral. He turns back to his criminal friends, O’Brady and Mickey Egan along with their posse and becomes wrapped up in way more than he can handle. How will he choose his path? And who will stick by him when it’s all over?
Dark Fragments by Rob Sinclair is a really well-written novel with a lot of takeaways and things to deeply consider. While I will say there are many a moment of pre-amble where Ben repeats himself, his thoughts and his intentions which made the book unnecessarily long in parts, that is its only flaw.
The story is compelling and keeps you coming back for more. Throughout, the reader is constantly drawn in, whether by the goings-on with the criminal gang, updates from Dani on the murder case, or his suffering relationship with his wife and children, there is hardly a dull moment in this narrative.
Ben comes across as a dislikeable narrator for me, but one that you want to see brought to justice, as he controls people and situations and doesn’t take full responsibility for the things happening in his world. As suggested through the conversational sections between chapters, presumably between Ben and a therapist, it is shown that he is caught for his actions at some point.
The characters that made this novel for me were O’Brady, whom I found fascinating as somebody who runs a strip club and underground criminal businesses, yet shows willingness to be understanding and even forgiving, as well as having a ‘normal’ wife, which is unexpected of a criminal mastermind. I also found Dani and Gemma intriguing, and am glad that Sinclair has written two novels in a series from Dani’s point of view, because she is an excellent detective. I would love to see this book/her investigation into the death of his wife detailed at some point.
Rob Sinclair’s writing style is mature, intelligent and well-researched and I am glad that I chose to read this book having read the first two in his DI Dani Stephens series.
Overall, Dark Fragments is a brilliantly told story and with some cleaning up in parts, could be a five star read easily. I’ll give it 4.5*. Well done on a great read, Rob and I can’t wait to read more from your criminal voice in the future.