A Book Spy Review: ‘Find You in the Dark’ by Nathan Ripley

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FInd you in the darkAfter making a fortune in the dot.com era, Martin Reece sells his tech company and retires early, filling his time with a dark new hobby that he keeps hidden from everyone around him. 

Two decades prior, Martin’s wife, Ellen, dealt with the loss of her sister, Tinsley, who was presumed dead, though her remains were never found. Even after twenty years, the wounds are still fresh for Ellen, who has channeled that heartache into being a paranoid parent, afraid to see her own daughter grow up too fast for fear that something terrible will happen to her. 

Martin, meanwhile, begins taking frequent camping trips around Seattle, always going alone for days at a time. In reality, he’s not camping at all, but rather he’s searching for something, or for someone. Upon seeing his wife and her family struggle with Tinsley’s death and the fact that they’ve never been allowed closure, Martin begins looking for her remains himself, frustrated with the job the police have done. Eventually, though, his search expands beyond Tinsley, as Martin starts investigating cold cases with far more success than the police department — whom he tips off each time he makes a discovery. 

Over time, keeping his identity a secret from law enforcement, Martin earns himself the nickname the Finder, and no longer just calls in his findings to be a good Samaritan. He taunts the officers for doing a less-than-stellar job. Eventually, his unprecedented success at uncovering skeleton remains makes him a person of interest to Sandra Whittal and her partner, Chris Gabriel, who begin an investigation into unmasking the Finder’s true identity. Unfortunately for Martin, the detectives’ interest in him quickly becomes the least of his problems, after he finds what appears to be the remains of his sister-in-law, who is buried next to a fresh corpse. 

As Martin’s motives are questioned by the detectives and readers, a new player enters the game when a serial killer dubbed the Ragman takes issue with someone undoing all of their hard work to hide victims’ bodies after killing them. They begin to stalk Martin, pulling him deeper and deeper into a hellacious world he wasn’t prepared to enter. 

Pursued by the police and a notorious killer, Martin’s once-innocent hobby has now become a matter of life and death. . .

While it starts off as a bit of a slow-burn, Nathan Ripley does ramp up the pacing and suspense as the story unfolds, though readers will need to suspend their disbelief at times to thoroughly enjoy the less-than-plausible plot. Martin is fairly well fleshed out as a character, but some of the secondary cast members are not, and others are downright unlikable, though it’s likely that was done by design. While some readers will latch onto the obvious similarities to Dexter, I thought the overall feel of the story and Ripley’s style was more in step with early works from Paul Cleave, though there is a hint of a Hannibal Lecter-like presence lurking behind the scenes, which is disturbing (in a good way), to say the least. 

Well planned and executed, Nathan Ripley brings a unique and fresh voice to the crime thriller genre. . . Find You in the Dark is perfect for fans of Meg Gardiner and Jeff Lindsay.

Book Details

Author: Nathan Ripley
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501178202
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10

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