How well do you know your girlfriend?
How well do you know your lover?
How well do you know yourself?
[ About the Book ]
Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.
But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.
And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.
[ My Thoughts ]
This Little Dark Place is the debut novel from A.S. Hatch. Published on October 10th with Serpent’s Tail, it is described as ‘a gripping psychological thriller: a dark love triangle and an unspeakable act of betrayal’.
I absolutely loved the marketing campaign and build up pre-release of this book but unfortunately, for me, the book just didn’t reach my expectations. I’m not so sure was it just some underlying theme that went over my head or was it just the storyline that frustrated me or maybe the individual characters…..to be quite honest I’m still not sure.
Broken into three sections, entitled Victoria, Ruby and October, the book opens in 2033. Daniel is writing a letter to Lucy. He is incarcerated somewhere and is recounting his life to this person, describing himself now and explaining a little about who he was and who he has become. (Daniel refers to googling something in 2033. Will we still be researching with Google in 2033?)
Daniel writes about the love of his life, Victoria. Victoria was the perfect partner, everything he had hoped for. They had many happy times together until her need to become a mother took over her life.
‘The iPad became attached to her hand, like an IV drip that she dragged around the house, delivering, one click at a time, a numbing drug….she was searching. Searching for something but she didn’t know what. And then one night, she muted the telly and said: “Let’s have a baby.”‘
As Victoria’s obsession with motherhood continued, Daniel became sidelined and a loneliness crept in. He writes about his past, about it’s impact on his youth and how Victoria’s absence from his life created a void, a need for company. Daniel looked for solace with a stranger, Ruby.
Ruby was an inmate, locked away for a terrible crime. Through an organisation, Inmate Inbox, Daniel begins emailing Ruby. His need for a listening ear, a comforting word, far outweigh the possibility of any unlikely danger for Daniel. He feels alone in his real world so chatting online in this fashion is harmless…right?
Daniel continues his story to Lucy writing about his correspondence with Ruby, explaining how their written conversations developed into something more over time. As Victoria distanced herself from Daniel, Ruby’s kindness kept him above ground, gave him something to look forward to in his day but Daniel was not to know the threat that lay ahead…..
Daniel is a very complex character. He wants love, he wants to be loved but struggles to handle love. His past has had a huge influence on his life and he seems very unsure of everything, in particular of himself. His uncertainty, his indecisiveness are very vividly portrayed and I found myself almost shouting at him in frustration.
This Little Dark Place confounded me if I’m honest. I do think A.S. Hatch is a writer to watch but, unfortunately, I just didn’t ‘feel’ the plot in this book, it just didn’t work for me and I found myself getting irritated as I turned the pages. However, it is a very unique concept with some rather quirky characters. There is a prevailing claustrophobic atmosphere throughout and we get a real sense of Daniel’s personality. Having read other reviews I do think I am quite in the minority here, so please do check this book out for yourself and let me know your thoughts…
This Little Dark Place is available now online and in bookshops.
[ Bio ]
A. S. Hatch grew up in Lancashire in the 90s and has lived in Taipei and Melbourne. Now he lives in London and writes fiction in the early hours of the morning before going to work in political communications.
Twitter – @andrewshatch