How well do you know your wife?
How well do you know your lover?
How well do you know yourself?
Daniel and Victoria are married. 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.
I started reading This Little Dark Place first thing on a Sunday morning and was finished by lunchtime. I absolutely couldn’t put it down. There is an underlying sense of unease from the beginning. A story told from the viewpoint of Daniel, we see everything through his eyes from start to finish. Writing to the mysterious Lucy, he admits that he has, until now, been reluctant to tell his version of events and yet for her he is willing to divulge all. But what story is unfolding before us? Who is the victim here? Who the monster? Two women in his life. Victoria his wife, they’ve shared difficult times and yet he tried to be strong for her, tried to make her happy. Then Ruby, a women he reached out to when he was feeling lost, in an effort to support her during her time in prison by giving her hope via the pen pal programme. Reckless? Perhaps, but sometimes we make foolish choices to try and fill the void. Can our own vulnerabilities make us reveal too much ourselves? How well can we ever know anyone, especially someone we’ve only met via email.
A S Hatch has written a debut filled with suspense. We’re not quite sure who to trust and as Daniel shares his experience we begin to wonder where this will end. Ruby is always a shadowy character, her story shared by Daniel and when she finally arrives uninvited at his front door, he begins to doubt everything she has told him.
This is a super debut novel, chilling and wonderfully plotted I was completely drawn into the story. It was an intense ride and there was a moment where I had to pause to take a breathe. I knew that something terrible was on the horizon, I could feel it coming, gradually building to the crescendo and that moment when I thought “oh no! I didn’t see that coming.’
This novel explores the darker side of the psyche and makes us question how well we can ever really know even those closest to us and just what they might be capable of.
Thank you so much to the lovely people at Serpent’s Tail for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. This was a fantastic read and one I very much enjoyed. I look forward to reading more from A S Hatch in the future. Highly recommended.
About the author
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 his living room-slash-office-slash-gym in the early hours of the morning before going to work in political communications
You can follow him on Twitter at @andrewshatch
You can follow Serpent’s Tail on Twitter at @serpentstail