In this “fast-paced, morbidly addictive novel of chilling infatuation” (Iain Reid, bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things)—perfect for fans of Caroline Kepnes’s Hidden Bodies and Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series—a family man with a habit of digging up the past catches the attention of a serial killer who is determined to keep his secrets uncovered.
For years, unbeknownst to his wife and teenage daughter, Martin Reese has been illegally buying police files on serial killers and obsessively studying them, using them as guides to find the missing bodies of victims. He doesn’t take any souvenirs, just photos that he stores in an old laptop, and then he turns in the results anonymously. Martin sees his work as a public service, a righting of wrongs.
Detective Sandra Whittal sees the situation differently. On a meteoric rise in police ranks due to her case‑closing efficiency, Whittal is suspicious of the mysterious source she calls the Finder, especially since he keeps leading the police right to the bodies. How can he know where all these bodies are located if he’s not the one putting them there?
On his latest dig, Martin searches for the first kill of Jason Shurn, the early 1990s murderer who may have been responsible for the disappearance of his wife’s sister. But when he arrives at the site, he finds more than just bones. There’s a freshly killed body—a young and missing Seattle woman—lying there. Someone else knew where Jason Shurn left the corpses of his victims…and that someone isn’t happy that Martin has been going around digging up his work. And when a crooked cop with a tenuous tie to Martin vanishes, Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder.
“A wickedly smart thriller that manages to be both chilling and wry” (Amy Stuart, bestselling author of Still Mine), Find You in the Dark will haunt you long after you turn the final page.
Retired CEO Martin Reese, the Seattle-based protagonist of this gripping debut thriller from the pseudonymous Ripley (Canadian author Naben Ruthnum), has a bizarre hobby: combing through illegally purchased police files on serial killers, locating the undiscovered corpses of long-dead victims, and anonymously informing the police of the burial sites. His morbid fascination goes back decades to when his wife's sister vanished, presumably murdered by a serial killer who was later caught and executed. But when Reese finds a freshly deceased corpse buried at a cold-case site in an old cemetery outside Seattle, he realizes too late that he has angered a mysterious serial killer who knows who he is and what he has been doing. With his family in danger and the police closing in on his identity, Reese becomes an unwilling pawn in the killer's twisted game. The intriguing premise, competent character development, and numerous plot twists compensate for the predictable conclusion. Dexter fans will enjoy the creepy vibe.
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Odd Premise But Great Thriller
Nathan Ripley delivers nothing short of a a page turning grisly thriller in his first novel Find You in the Dark. Martin Reese is a likable guy with a somewhat checkered past who gets into BIG trouble. We want to be right about Martin, but Ripley seeds us with just enough doubt about his main character’s complete innocence.
As Martin arrogantly pursues justice on his own for the disappearance and likely murder of his sister-in law, he finds he is in over his head. What makes this read so compelling is that Ripley, in detailing Martin’s snowballing predicament, is deftly capable of putting us at the center of Martin’s fear, almost making it our own. As Martin teeters on losing control of his life and loved ones at every turn, Ripley’s delivery has us trying to figure our own way out if we were to somehow find ourselves, through little fault of our own, at the mercy of the dark side of society.
Adding to our enjoyment (and at times our fear and anxiety), Ripley’s character development is exquisite throughout. I particularly liked the well developed side story relationship between detective Whittal and her romantic and professional partner Chris Gabriel. The interplay between the two is refreshingly genuine.
No thriller is complete without a perfectly crafted ending, and here author Ripley delivers completely.
On the downside, some dialog transitions from character to character are difficult to follow, and some detailed cross references to earlier chapters had me backtracking too much. While this is at times frustrating, it is a bearable annoyance given the rest of this well written gem.
Rating - 4.5 out of 5 stars