Cover Image: Dark Game

Dark Game

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Detective Inspector Kelly Porter has returned from London to her home territory of the Lake District, after her time in the Metropolitan Police ends badly. Coming home is difficult: she has fractured family relationships, lost touch with many of the people she grew up with and is worried that she might be seen as a failure. Throwing herself into work seems the easiest way to cope, and she is set to work on the cold case of the murder of 10-year-old Lottie Davies. Alongside this, she quickly gets involved in two other cases: the abandonment of a newborn baby and the search for the mother, and the death of a prominent local businessman, who was in the company of a sex worker when he passed away.

As Kelly gets to grips with her cases, she finds there is a seedy, dangerous underworld to the beautiful location she calls home. The tangled web of crime becomes more complex, and soon Kelly's life is on the line... 

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it was so much better than I had imagined it was going to be! The whole plot was so intricately weaved together to form a novel I couldn't put down. This isn't so much of a 'whodunnit' as I usually read with crime and thriller books, but more of a jigsaw puzzle where you have all the pieces but aren't sure what the final outcome will be. I was stunned at how intriguing a story could be even when it was clear who was involved.

The pace of this book was just right. It swung between scenes of non-stop adrenaline to realistic and methodical police work. I really loved this balance; it gave you just enough to keep your mind racing before holding back a little to ramp up the tension. I was never bored reading this, the pages flew by and I was disappointed to finish it.

This book is fairly graphic, which I should warn you about. There are intense scenes of physical and sexual violence and some pretty vivid detail! While it was a bit striking to read such descriptive scenes, they weren't gratuitous and gave the book real tension and a sense of urgency. 

My only minor niggles are that there are maybe a few too many characters in this book. It could be hard to keep track of who was who, and there were some people who the novel could've done without. Perhaps they will come up again later in the series though, who knows! Apart from that, there were a few times when the level of detail about the locations was a bit much. Rachel Lynch is clearly very familiar with where she has based the series, but I'm not sure road numbers were necessary!

Dark Game is the first in a new series of police procedurals. I am overjoyed to hear that because I really enjoyed getting to know the character of Kelly. She is strong, feisty, and determined, which I liked a lot. I would love to know more about her personal relationships. There were a few plotlines relating to this that weren't completely tied up in Dark Game which makes me excited to read more.

Overall, I was really impressed with this book. It was cleverly written and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. In fact, I finished this within 12 hours - I couldn't get enough. If you're a fan of gritty, dark crime books, this will be right up your alley!
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I really enjoyed this book. I’m a big fan of American crime fiction, so I wouldn’t usually read a book set in the UK Lakes, but I’ve got to say it was a breath of fresh air and I’ll definitely be reading more from this author. 
It’s well written, with several twists and keeps you guessing all the way through and ties up nicely at the end.
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After a falling out with her partner and losing the energy to continue working for the London Metropolitan Police, Detective Inspector Kelly Porter moves home to the Lake District. 
For a small community with hardly any crime, Kelly immediately takes on 3 cases in order to prove herself a useful part of the department.
The description of the book leads with an intriguing cold case of an abduction and murder of a 10 year old girl. Her story is the focus of the beginning of the book, but the plot splits off to the real time perspective of an illegal immigrant woman. Suddenly the book is about human trafficking and becomes rather graphic sexually.
Kelly becomes a secondary character in her own book and just happens to be investigating 3 "unrelated" crimes.
 The plot is overwhelming and way too convenient. I won't be reading any other books.
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In short: well written, well developed protagonist, raw and gritty story. This story is twisted, the twists and turns come frequently and full of surprises. The plot is also well done and worked out great!

If you like a good police thriller there’s no shame in picking up this book, you’ll love it.
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I was drawn to this crime thriller because it is set in the Lake District, a location that I  know really well. DI Kelly Porter returns to Cumbria and begins to investigate a cold case. However, it soon becomes apparent that the case is linked to much more recent crimes and before long a much darker criminal world is exposed. This book kept me up all night, I was desperate to find out more. It is graphic and not for the faint-hearted but I found the storyline extremely enlightening.
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Thanks to netgalley for the ARC of this thrilling read.  It features DI Kelly Porter, a modern day kickarse super hero lady! She has to investigate the murder of a ten year old girl, while dealing with an overbearing sister and an ever-suffering mother.  Highly recommended!!!!
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I really enjoyed this book and loved the characters in it.  I'm looking out for the next book in the series as want to read more.

The style of writing appealed to me and would recommend.
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A very appropriate title, it was a very dark story. Illegal immigrants brought to Britain under false beliefs, the women sold into prostitution, the children sold to paedophiles and the men sold to fight to the death. Very well written story with absorbing police procedures and execution of these. An open ended conclusion.
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Dark Game is an absorbing crime thriller set in the Lake District.  A female detective returns to her hometown and embarks on a cold case inquiry of the murder of a young girl.  The investigation leads her team to the disturbing world of people trafficking.  A fast paced novel with an interesting lead character and I look forward to reading more in this series.
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I came across this book on Netgalley earlier in the year and the synopsis hooked me straight away. Once I had been approved to download it, it sat on my kindle for a while until recently.
However, once I started reading it was difficult to put down. It was fast paced and there were so many details interwoven throughout the story, there was always something happening, which is what I love in a crime thriller.
The fact that there were so many mini stories/cases throughout did confuse me a little in the beginning, but once the main storyline came to light, all the smaller parts fell into place and I understood where the author had been going with the story. Once I was following along properly, it didn’t take me long to get through

I loved all of the characters, they were multi-dimensional and I enjoyed reading about them and getting to know them. I can’t say that any of them annoyed me at any point which was nice, as I am finding that happening more and more lately!

I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series, and I am really looking forward to it
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A fantastic read. Thoroughly enjoyed this and it is not something I would usually pick up. Will look for more from this author in future.
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There have recently been a number of 'gripping crime thrillers' portraying a female inspector who is damaged in some way with a male counterpart who is a stabling influence. I am happy to say that DI Kelly Porter is a normal person with baggage that makes her human but is incidental to her being the amazing woman and police detective she is.

The plot subject however is not an easy one to read but reflects the times we live in.  With limited  control of migration and refugees fleeing atrocities or serious hardship, being pulled into the seedier side of life in a 'civilised' country. Always someone who 'would do anything and climb over anyone' for money as the author puts it.

This should be a wake up call to all of us to be more vigilant in a world when parents can imprison and abuse their own children what hope for those who are vulnerable? 

This is well written and has an excellent pace which keeps you reading.  The conflict of Kelly's home life keeps us grounded and reinforces that this is set in a town near you!

I would recommend this to all university students and travellers as an eye-opener of the realities of life and just how normal the people involved in crime can appear.

I could not put it down and it's a refreshing change to have a police female lead who is positive but normal!  A new role model in the making.

I received a free copy from net galley.com for my fair and honest review.
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Dark Game (DI Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch is the first novel in this series. 
Rating 4.8/5
Slow starting but then a real page turner. The reader won’t be disappointed.
DI Kelly Porter has just returned to Cumbria from London after leaving there under a bit of a dark cloud. Returning to her family isn’t easy, with an overbearing, righteous big sister and her anxious mother. However, she is soon caught up in a cold case of a child abduction and murder. Alongside, an abandoned baby, illegal immigrants and the death of a rich man. 
Rachel Lynch develops her characters and plots with skill. Weaving and adding depth of layers both to the individuals, lovely or sinister and evil as applicable and the cases DI Porter and her team are investigating. 
The investigations come to a dangerous conclusion. Be prepared to be taken on a journey.
Thanks to Rachel Lynch, NetGalley and Canelo for giving me the opportunity to read this well rotten novel. In return I have written an honest and unbiased review. 
Highly recommended.
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This was a dark and gritty crime novel that intrigued me in places and kept me wanting to read until the end. It does get quite dark in places so be warned but if you can cope with some darker themes in books then I would recommend this one. Covering topics such as prostitution, human trafficking and money laundering there are several plot lines woven together into one final climactic moment. I'll be honest, I am in a bit of a reading slump, so the pacing of this one didn't feel as fast as I would of liked. However, I think if I was in my usual reading mood this would of moved along at a much faster pace. The chapters were fairly short which always keeps me wanting to read one more and this is something I really like in a thriller.


Kelly Porter was a great character. She was passionate about what she did and was determined to solve the case throughout the book. I also found it interesting to see her family relationships between her mum and her sister and I would like some more of this in subsequent books. There were lots of other characters in this book too but I didn't find them hard to keep track of. They all played their own part in the story and I thought everything fitted together well. 


Overall I enjoyed this story, it was just a shame I was in a bit of a reading slump whilst reading it as I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I wasn't. That being said it was a dark and gritty fast paced thriller with a twisty turny, interwoven plot that had be excited to reach the climax.
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I really wanted to like this, I really did but I just struggled with it! The writing was amazing and I had no problem with that and I really enjoyed the plot. Saying that the book had multiple plot points going off and sometimes it was hard to keep up to which case they were talking about. I really didn't get to know much about Kelly either. Not as much as I wanted to know.
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I feel like we're starting to become over-saturated with UK detective novels featuring cold female leads. Each time I pick up a new series starter in this vein, I’m really waiting for something different or exciting to take place, but they all kind of follow the same path that’s been cleared before by someone else. It’s starting to feel a little bit trampled around here.

I will say, this was a decidedly darker approach to the typical and I really liked that aspect.

DI Kelly Porter is a transplant…back to her hometown. She picks up three cases for her new team and quickly finds that they are all related to a human trafficking ring. Other than that, I couldn’t really tell you much about the world being created here by the author, Rachel Lynch.

I found the main character, Kelly Porter, to be likeable enough, but she’s lacking a distinctive voice and humour. Her sister, who is barely in the novel at all, had the biggest personality of anyone in the book – make of that what you will. Porter’s colleagues were grey blobs, just different versions of DCI and DS and DI and DC with new last names. There was no team atmosphere, no sense of how things function. The character development was lacking, really even I’d go so far as to say character creation was stunted. It came across as very flat.

Some kind of scandal had forced Porter from London Metro back to her small hometown, and I wish that had been explored a little more, maybe tied into the ending to create a cliffhanger-type ending. I feel like there were layers here that could have been developed to add some texture and depth to the overall sense of who Kelly is and where she works and what her life is like and what’s coming her way.

Honestly, it felt like the novel was mostly told from the perspective of the bad guys. To me it felt like uneven plot development and a lack of accessibility to the main character, who should have been the most captivating touchstone for the reader.

Truth be told, I’m a sucker for good character creation. I like a personality that pops off the page, I like gallows humour and moments of conversation/banter that naturally lend to insight and understanding and humanity. And I find that when a main character is well developed in this way, it really elevates the rest of the cast. Actually, not just the cast, but the plot as well. Because crime fiction is very linear – in the sense of you have a bad guy, you need to catch the bad guy and there are clues along the way to do that.

In the procedural genre, those clues, and following lines of inquiry, is really all you get until catching the bad guy is complete. It can get kind of boring if the characters you’re investigating along with are mostly lifeless. There needs to be moments of humour and heart, and I’m missing that from a lot of procedurals lately.

So this is where my review will differ from others. It’s a solid 3 star novel, right down the middle. Nothing amazing, but not bad either. While other readers are raving about this, to me it all comes down to character if the plot is there. And yes, there is a plot here, one that is mostly well thought-out, if not a little predictable. (By the 40% mark I had solved the cases, while the other detectives were still wondering how the pieces fit.)

What this is missing is polish, vibrant characters and a more unique voice for the genre. I get that it’s procedural, so “thrills” aren’t necessarily part of the package, but a little suspense could have gone a long way, as well. It was pretty uneventful in that department – no twists or thrills to speak of.

This type of crime fiction is a dime a dozen lately, and I’d really be more excited about it if it had featured something special to set it apart. As it is, it’s a procedural with a decent crime but a gaping hole (that’s what she said) where characters should be. The writing is good, prose are decent enough. Not amazing, but not bad either.

I think if you’re a big fan of UK procedurals with straight-faced characters you’ll definitely enjoy it.
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A great introduction to what hopefully proves to be a new series of police procedural/ crime thrillers.
As well as being very well written, I loved the main character, DI Kelly Porter. Whilst she is not perfect, she is not seriously flawed (as seems to be the current trend with the main characters in a number of books in this genre). Kelly has returned from London to work in the Lake District where she grew up.
Kelly is immediately given a cold to case to reinvestigate of a child murder and is then thrown into looking at a sudden death of a prominent local figure that leads her to prostitution, drug dealings and human trafficking. It does not prove to be the quiet life Kelly had anticipated in the sleepy Lake District.
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle copy  of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book, it was a really well written story. I love finding new Detectives who's story I want to follow and I think DI Kelly Porter is just that. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next instalment.
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Thanks to Netgalley for my copy

This is a DI Kelly Porter novel. She has returned to her childhood home in the Lake District and is back living with her mother.

The novel starts with Kelly investigating a 10 year old cold murder case. However quicker she is also left investigating an abandoned baby as well as the murder of a local businessman. I did find this book a little hard to follow perhaps too much was going on as most reviewers love it however for me it wasn't to be.
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A gripping novel from start to finish. For me, it was a little too violent which in my opinion didn't add to the story. Still a good read. Recommended.
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