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The Dark Room
     

The Dark Room

4.0 1
by Jonathan Moore
 

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"Suspense that never stops.  If you like Michael Connelly’s novels, you will gobble up Jonathan Moore’s The Dark Room.”James Patterson 

A heart-pounding thriller from an “electrifying”* author that shows what happens when our deepest secrets are unburied.
 

Overview

"Suspense that never stops.  If you like Michael Connelly’s novels, you will gobble up Jonathan Moore’s The Dark Room.”James Patterson 

A heart-pounding thriller from an “electrifying”* author that shows what happens when our deepest secrets are unburied.
 
*Stephen King


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 second, pills and handcuffs on a nightstand; the third, the woman drinking from a flask; and last, the woman naked, unconscious, and shackled to a bed. The accompanying letter is straightforward: worse revelations are on the way unless the mayor takes his own life first. 
 
An intricately plotted, deeply affecting thriller that keeps readers guessing until the final pages, The Dark Room tracks Cain as he hunts for the blackmailer, pitching him into the web of destruction and devotion the mayor casts in his shadow. 
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/31/2016
At the start of this intricate thriller from Moore (The Poison Artist), Insp. Gavin Cain of the San Francisco PD is in a Monterey County cemetery, watching the exhumation of a coffin connected to a cold case dating to the mid-1980s, when he’s abruptly reassigned. Back in San Francisco, Mayor Harry Castelli has received an anonymous letter with four photographs showing a young woman recoiling in terror, cause unknown. The letter writer suggests the mayor kill himself, or four more photos will go to the media. The exhumation, which finds two bodies in the same coffin, turns out to be linked to the blackmailing of the mayor. Later, Castelli’s art student daughter gives Cain a different photograph from the same series, which she found at age 10 in her father’s study. Moore, a terrific stylist, provides telling procedural details (a computer-expert friend helps identify the clothing and jewelry in the decades-old photos) and makes good use of the Bay Area setting. The elaborate plot, though, at times strains the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for THE DARK ROOM
A Library Journal "Essential Thriller" of January 2017

"The Dark Room is a complex, edgy, elegant novel that is at once macabre, menacing and mesmerizing. Moore calls this book “the center panel in a triptych” that started with The Poison Artist. The third, The Night Market is scheduled for 2018. I can’t wait." —Open Letters Monthly

"The Dark Room is one of those books that when you think you know what happened, it veers directions and plunges into another stream of questions and doubt...[it] will lure you in from the first chapter and then capture your attention until the very last page....a great crime novel that I won’t forget anytime soon." —Latte Nights Reviews

“Smart plotting.  Nary a false note.  Suspense that never stops.  If you like Michael Connelly’s novels, you will gobble up Jonathan Moore’s The Dark Room.”
James Patterson 

"Moore's (The Poison Artist, 2016, etc.) complex and often deeply disturbing crime noir set in the City by the Bay delves into dark subjects and the insidious nature of true evil. Two things happen almost simultaneously to San Francisco Police Inspector Gavin Cain: as he and his newly minted partner, Grassley, stand at the grave of Christopher Hanley, a young boy who died years ago, and watch as the casket is exhumed, following up on a tip, he's summoned to tackle a new challenge. His lieutenant has him flown by helicopter to City Hall to consult with the mayor, Harry Castelli, concerning a series of photographs and a note he received. The photos show a beautiful blonde woman who is clearly terrified, but even more disturbing is the note, which indicates that more photos will come unless Castelli kills himself. Castelli says he doesn't know the woman in the photographs and has no idea why anyone would urge him to commit suicide. Cain and FBI agent Karen Fischer struggle to identify the mysterious and apparently doomed blonde in the black-and-white photos, which they believe were taken 30 years earlier. Meanwhile, Cain, whose personal life is already complicated enough—his girlfriend, Lucy, hasn't left her home in four years—is stunned to discover that Christopher Hanley's casket contained not only the corpse of the dead teen, but also the desiccated body of a woman who, judging by the evidence, was buried alive. Moore sketches Cain with a spare pen, leaving the reader to fill in most of the blanks, but his knowledge of police procedure and the nature of the job is immaculate. Moody and macabre with an Edgar Allan Poe feel to it, this book leaves an uncomfortable, indelible impression that can't be shaken by simply putting it down. The featureless Cain and his search for the woman in the casket are irresistible. San Francisco has never been so menacing ." — Kirkus, STARRED review

"A dying man’s video confession leads to exhuming a body buried in 1985, with horrifying results: lying on top of the embalmed corpse is the body of a woman who was buried alive. San Francisco PD Inspector Gavin Cain is pulled off this case to work one involving Mayor Harry Castelli, who has just received several incriminating photographs of a woman, with a note promising more—unless he kills himself. The mayor claims no knowledge of the woman in the photos, but since Cain’s boss has hitched her star to the mayor, Cain is immediately assigned to the Castelli case, while still keeping an eye on the exhumation. Inevitably, the two cases become intertwined; meanwhile, Cain’s delving into the nefarious activities of an outlawed Berkeley fraternity in the 1980s puts those dearest to him at great risk. Former medical examiner Henry Newcomb, a major player in Moore’s spellbinding psychological thriller The Poison Artist (2016), plays a small but key role here, as forensics puts the seal on dogged police work. Moore calls this book “the center panel in a triptych” that started with The Poison Artist. With this second electrifying noir thriller, readers won’t want to wait until 2018, when the third, The Night Market, is scheduled for publication ."— Booklist, STARRED review

"Intricate thriller... Moore, a terrific stylist, provides telling procedural details (a computer-expert friend helps identify the clothing and jewelry in the decades-old photos) and makes good use of the Bay Area setting."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for THE POISON ARTIST
The Poison Artist is an electrifying read, building from shock to shock. I read the last one hundred pages in a single sitting. The final chapter is an absolute stunner. I haven’t read anything so terrifying since Red Dragon.”  —Stephen King

“Patient, stylish and incredibly suspenseful.” —Lee Child

“A magnificent, thoroughly unnerving psychological thriller written in a lush, intoxicating style.  I dare you to look away." —Justin Cronin
 
"The Poison Artist is a rare thing: a totally new take on the mystery-thriller genre...Jonathan Moore's story of a scientist helping the police investigate a femme fatale serial killer using poison is totally fresh and unpredictable. The writing is top-notch, wonderfully evoking a dark and foggy San Francisco where ghosts of the past color the bloody events of the day. Grade: A"—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Poison Artist takes place in a fog-bound, rain-drenched version of San Francisco, which becomes, in Moore’s telling, almost a city from a dream, where truths and realities slip in and out of focus somewhere between the long nights and the constantly filled glasses...It’s genuinely scary, in the very best way, and nastily twisty, also in the very best way. Just like the clashes between Caleb’s day and night existences, Moore’s hypnotic, rich prose shifts and jars from seductive bars at night to the gruesome way fingerprints have to be taken from a body that has been underwater for days. Spiralling down from dream into nightmare, The Poison Artist is thoroughly unnerving and classily executed."The Guardian
 
“Moore has a great gift for the macabre and creepy.” —The Times
 
“This is a cinematic and phantasmagoric treat... Obsession and violent death collide in an elegantly written thriller.” —The Independent

"With crisp dialogue and skilled plotting, this atmospheric novel—fittingly set in a dark and foggy December in San Francisco—is an engrossing thriller by an author to watch. Give this one to readers who like forensic thrillers but would also be drawn in by the creepy mood."Booklist, starred review
 
"Exquisite...The sympathetic, though brutally flawed hero and the shocking, Hitchcock-esque finale make this psychological thriller a must-read."Publishers Weekly, starred review
Library Journal
08/01/2016
In a new work from Bram Stoker Award finalist Moore that is as long on noir atmosphere as its predecessor, the well-received The Poison Artist, SFPD homicide inspector Gavin Cain is called away from an exhumation to deal with bigger trouble. The mayor has received four increasingly degrading photographs of a woman, and worse is threatened if he doesn't do something drastic: he must take his own life.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-10-19
Moore's (The Poison Artist, 2016, etc.) complex and often deeply disturbing crime noir set in the City by the Bay delves into dark subjects and the insidious nature of true evil.Two things happen almost simultaneously to San Francisco Police Inspector Gavin Cain: as he and his newly minted partner, Grassley, stand at the grave of Christopher Hanley, a young boy who died years ago, and watch as the casket is exhumed, following up on a tip, he's summoned to tackle a new challenge. His lieutenant has him flown by helicopter to City Hall to consult with the mayor, Harry Castelli, concerning a series of photographs and a note he received. The photos show a beautiful blonde woman who is clearly terrified, but even more disturbing is the note, which indicates that more photos will come unless Castelli kills himself. Castelli says he doesn't know the woman in the photographs and has no idea why anyone would urge him to commit suicide. Cain and FBI agent Karen Fischer struggle to identify the mysterious and apparently doomed blonde in the black-and-white photos, which they believe were taken 30 years earlier. Meanwhile, Cain, whose personal life is already complicated enough—his girlfriend, Lucy, hasn't left her home in four years—is stunned to discover that Christopher Hanley's casket contained not only the corpse of the dead teen, but also the desiccated body of a woman who, judging by the evidence, was buried alive. Moore sketches Cain with a spare pen, leaving the reader to fill in most of the blanks, but his knowledge of police procedure and the nature of the job is immaculate. Moody and macabre with an Edgar Allan Poe feel to it, this book leaves an uncomfortable, indelible impression that can't be shaken by simply putting it down. The featureless Cain and his search for the woman in the casket are irresistible.San Francisco has never been so menacing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544784673
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
01/10/2017
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
44,618
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

1
 
It was after midnight, and Cain and his new partner, Grassley, watched as the excavator’s blade went into the hole, emerging seconds later with another load of earth to add to the pile growing next to the grave. On the phone that afternoon, the caretaker of El Carmelo Cemetery had asked if they could do this at night. There were burials scheduled all day, and he didn’t want to upset anyone. The time of day hadn’t made any difference to Cain. Staying up all hours was his business. He just wanted this done.
     After three more scoops with the backhoe, the caretaker rotated the arm out of the way and his assistant jumped down into the hole with a long-handled spade. As he did that, the van from the medical examiner’s office arrived. As it came up the access road, its headlights scanned across Cain and Grassley, and then paused over the exhumation. The caretaker’s assistant climbed out of the hole, blinking against the bright light. Then he took the lifting straps from his boss and jumped back into the open grave.
     Cain watched the technicians coming up the hill. A man and a woman, young, no more than a few years out of college. Grassley’s phone rang, and he checked the screen before he answered. He looked at Cain and took a few steps back.
     “Yes, ma’am,” he said, and then he paused a while to listen. “No, we’re out at El Carmelo, in Pacific Grove ​— ​you know, the Hanley thing?”
     Now Grassley was listening again, pressing his finger into his free ear to dull the excavator’s diesel rumble.
     “He’s right here. Hold on.”
     Grassley handed him the phone.
     “It’s the lieutenant,” he said. “She wants to talk to you.”
     He took the phone, stepping through the long shadows of the headstones toward the cypress trees at the top of the hill, where he would be farther from the excavator’s idling engine.
     “This is Cain,” he said. “What can I do for you, Lieutenant?”
     “Something came up. I need to reassign you.”
     “We’re right in the middle of something.”
     “I wouldn’t pull you off if I had a choice,” she said. “But I don’t. Grassley can take Hanley from here.”
     “We’re two hours south.”
     “That’s not a problem,” the lieutenant said. “You’re ​— ​ Where exactly are you?”
     “El Carmelo,” he said. “The cemetery.”
     “Hold on, Cain.”
     He knew she was checking her computer, pulling up a map. There was too much noise on the hilltop to hear her keystrokes. In less than twenty seconds she was back to him.
     “There’s a golf course,” she said. “Right next to you. They can set down, pick you up.”
     “They?”
     “The CHP unit.”
     “You’re sending a helicopter?”
     “It’ll be there in ten minutes,” she said.
     “What’s going on?”
     His mind went first to Lucy, but the lieutenant wouldn’t have called about her. She didn’t even know about Lucy.
     “We’ll talk when you get here, face to face. Not over the phone. Now give me Grassley. I need another word with him.”
     He started toward Grassley, then stopped when he saw the hole. He had to try one more time. He cupped his hand over the phone’s mouthpiece, so she’d hear him clearly.
     “I spent three weeks setting this up.”
     “It’s a wild goose chase, Cain. One that’s been sitting thirty years. I’ve got a problem that’s less than an hour old. Now it’s your problem. Put Grassley on.”
     He came back to Grassley and handed him the phone. It wasn’t any use wondering why the lieutenant was pulling him away. Instead, he walked to the edge of the excavated grave and looked down, shining the flashlight he’d been carrying. The caretaker’s assistant was kneeling on top of the casket. He’d dug trenches along its sides and was reaching down to fasten the lifting straps.
     Three decades underground, the kid wouldn’t weigh much, at least. And from what Cain understood, by the time he’d finally died, there hadn’t been all that much to put in the casket anyway. The assistant climbed out of the hole again and handed the ends of the four straps to his boss.
     Cain checked up the hill and saw Grassley standing under the tree, one finger in his left ear to block the noise as he talked to their lieutenant.
     “Inspector Cain?”
     He turned around, putting his hand up to block the light shining in his face.
     “That’s me.”
     The woman from the ME’s office lowered her light and came around to stand next to him. She leaned over to look down into the hole.
     “You’re riding back with us in the van?” she asked. “We heard something like that.”
     “Not me,” Cain said. “I just got reassigned.”
     He gestured up the hill toward Grassley.
     “He’ll have to go. You or your partner can follow in his car.”
     “Reassigned? It’s two a.m. and we’re ​—”
     She stopped, following Cain’s eyes to look at the light coming toward them from the north. When the helicopter broke out of the clouds and into clear air, they could hear the whump of its rotors. Cain pointed up the hill toward his partner.
     “That’s Inspector Grassley,” Cain said. “Make sure he gets in the van, that he rides with one of you. He might want to drive back on his own, but don’t let him. We need the chain of custody. You understand. I don’t want any problems later, some defense lawyer picking us apart.”
     “I get it,” the woman said.
     “I’ve got to go,” Cain said. He looked back into the hole, shining his light on the casket’s black lid. “Let’s get this one right.”
     He paused on the way down the hill and looked back up at Grassley. They met each other’s eyes and nodded, and that was all. Then he hurried across the access road, toward the long fairway that stretched between the graveyard and Del Monte Boulevard.
 
When he reached the golf course and felt the short grass under his feet, he checked the sky to the north and saw that the helicopter was less than a minute away. He took out his cell phone and dialed Lucy’s number.
     “Gavin?”
     “Sorry ​— ​I didn’t mean to ​— ​I thought I’d get your voicemail.”
     “I was up.”
     He looked at his watch. It was a quarter past two. The grass on the fairway was slick with dew, and he could smell the ocean.
     “You’re okay?”
     “I’m fine.”
     “You’re feeling sick again,” he said. He could hear it in her voice.
     “It’s not such a big deal,” she said. “Really.”
     “Okay.”
     “Where are you?” she asked.
     “Down south, near Monterrey. For Hanley.”
     “Hanley?”
     “The video we got, the guy who ​—”
     “That’s enough,” she said. “I remember. I can’t stomach it right now.”
     “No more,” he said. “I promise.”
     “Are you coming soon?”
     “Something came up,” he said. “They’re sending a helicopter, but I don’t know what’s going on.”
     “You have to hurry?”
     He glanced up at the helicopter, saw it swing around as it lined up for the fairway.
     “I ought to go.”
     “Then call when you can,” she said. “Or better yet, just come.”
     “As soon as I can,” he said.
     “Be careful,” she said. “Gavin, I mean it.”
     “Try and get some sleep.”
     They hung up and he put the phone away. Then the helicopter came in just above the line of trees, and when it was hovering over the fairway, its spotlight lit up. He walked toward the white circle, one hand in the air to call the CHP pilot in.

Meet the Author

JONATHAN MOORE lives in Hawaii with his wife and son, and is the author of five books. Before completing law school in New Orleans, he was an English teacher, a bar owner, a raft guide, a counselor at a Texas wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C.

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The Dark Room 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadingwithPugs 10 days ago
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is my first Jonathan Moore book but it will not be my last. This is a slow burn mystery / thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. I think the thing that most impressed me about this book was that although there was not heart stopping action from beginning to end, the story managed to keep me engaged the entire time. There so many different plot twists and characters, but Moore managed to intertwine them beautifully so there was no confusion between them and the story. The story is dark, deep and gritty. There are some definite disturbing parts, but nothing that would make you want to stop reading, in fact they make you want to read more to find out how this could have happened! Moore did an excellent job fleshing out the characters so that you could get to know them enough to keep it relative to the story but not too much that you miss details of the plot. The plot within a plot dynamic was wonderful and I think this was the first time I just let the story tell itself to me rather than me turning the pages furiously to try to see if I figured out "who done it." I very much enjoyed this and look forward to reading more by this author.