The Dark Room

by Chandra Sundeep
Cover image of The Dark Room by Lisa Gray

A mysterious title, interesting synopsis, bestselling author. One would feel these reasons are more than enough to add any book to their TBR. Well, these are the reasons I requested for the ARC of The Dark Room by Lisa Gray.

Sadly, I realised these reasons aren’t good enough.

*Note to self – “check reviews by trusted reviewers”*

Story description

Ex–crime reporter Leonard Blaylock spends his days on an unusual hobby, developing strangers’ forgotten and discarded rolls of film. He loves the small mysteries the photographs reveal to him. Then Leonard finds something no one would ever expect, or want, to see captured on film—the murder of a young woman.

But that’s impossible because the woman is already dead. Leonard was there when it happened five years earlier.

He has never been able to shake his guilt from that terrible night. It cost Leonard everything: his career, his fiancée, his future. But if the woman didn’t really die, then what actually happened?

The premise of developing undeveloped film rolls and discovering the stories behind them is interesting. But the pacing was too slow for my liking. I like fast-paced mysteries. In this book, the words were crawling even slower than ants. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book, but I was never completely hooked on it. Why didn’t I DNF it, you ask? Well… no reasons!

The main characters haven’t been flushed out to the core. They could have been developed further. I felt Leonard was despicable to the core. Unfortunately, I can’t recall liking any other character either, even remotely! Their miseries, anxieties, sexual tension, chase or discoveries… I couldn’t bring myself to care about whatever was happening in their lives… Nada! Zilch!

There is a lot of back and forth, and at one point I struggled to remember what had transpired a few pages ago and, much to my horror, I had to go back and re-read to connect the dots.

And the narration drags unnecessarily and is repetitive. The story could have been 30 pages shorter easily.

The ending was good, quite good. It made sense and plugged the plot holes to quite an extent. But the way it was delivered was totally flat. I would have loved a dramatic finish.

Despite the intriguing premise, The Dark Room lacks excitement. It failed to leave a mark.

Thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and Thomas Mercer for this ARC of The Dark Room.

Wordsopedia Rating 2.4/5

Title: The Dark Room Author: Lisa Gray
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Publication date: Oct 25, 2022
Genre: Fiction–Mystery Format: Kindle
ASIN: B09PTLCB2H No. of Pages: 285

Buy your copy here on Amazon.

About the author

Lisa Gray is an Amazon #1, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Gray previously worked as the chief Scottish soccer writer at the Press Association and the books editor at the Daily Record Saturday Magazine. She is also the author of Thin Air, Bad Memory, Dark Highway, and Lonely Hearts. She now writes full time.

Get in touch with the author on her website.

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