Cover Image: Dark Game

Dark Game

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Member Reviews

I’m not usually a massive fan of police fiction, but as this was set in the Lake District, where my father is from, I had to read it.  I was pleasantly surprised. As a police heroine Kelly was likeable and relatable (opening the book with her leaving a one night stand was genius!) 
Both Kelly’s professional and home life were interesting. Often, when the plot centres around the main character’s profession the home life is either not written about or is boring and one dimensional in comparison to the working life. I found her relationship with her mother and sister really well drawn and I found my hackles rising when her sister entered a scene along with Kelly’s! 
By far my favourite character was Gabriela. Lynch’s use of this waitress/receptionist  from Poland as a dispassionate observer of Britain today was very clever and made a much needed point about the fate of many tea rooms, hotels and guest houses if Brexit does end in our European cousins unable or unwilling to staff them any more. Gabriela is also our window upon how badly young Eastern European workers can be exploited once they arrive in the U.K.  The book is very timely, as what is happening in Ambleside is something happening up and down the country, even in ‘nice’ areas like the Lakes. Lynch makes a good argument that it is probably more prevalent in these areas because of the nature of seasonal work in tourist areas. 
This book is packed full of current events and social commentary, along with very well researched and accurate police procedure. Ms Lynch has also dropped in the names of popular television shows and games consoles etc which makes for very easy reading because the context is all so familiar. The flip side of that is that it makes the heinous crimes seem much more vivid. The local area is painted perfectly and for anyone familiar with the area it is lovely to read of characters going to familiar places. 
I will definitely be reading more of Lynchs work and I hope to ‘meet’ DI Kelly Porter again soon.
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If you like gritty crime novels, this debut novel is a must read. The main character, DI Kelly Porter, relocates to her home ground of Cumbria from London after a fall from grace. She has to cope with living with her mum again and her sarky sister. At work, she is assigned three investigations, which include a cold case involving the murder, rape of a 10 yr old girl and a baby abandoned at birth by it's mother who is an illegal immigrant, not speaking a word of English and the death of a local business man. The characters and stories come together in a nail biting climax. I felt I was actually in Cumbria. Well written and cannot wait for Rachel Lynch's next book.
This is a brilliant contender for a tv series, producers take note!!
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DI Kelly Porter is a fantastic heroine!  She is strong, troubled with an inherent need to do right!  A great thriller that will keep you reading till the end!
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A good story that kept you riveted to the book. Kept you enthralled tight up to the end. Definitely recommended.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It was a typical crime thriller and a little formulaic but it reels you in and is definitely a page turner.  It wasn't entirely predictable, it had a strong female lead character, and there was an unexpected twist at the end.  I can't wait to read the next book.
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Kelly Porter is a Detective Inspector in the Cumbria police.  She previously worked for the Met. but left under a cloud.  Kelly is working a cold case - a ten year old girl went missing five years ago and her dead body was found.  Kelly and her team become aware of people trafficking and need to interview Darren Beckett, who is also a person of interest in the cold case..  Kelly soon realises she is up against dangerous and ruthless people who will murder witnesses if necessary.  She is aware a polish girl - Gabriela Kaminski knows a great deal, but will she locate her in time?.
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Review: This is a book unfortunately that I had to stop reading. It was far to detailed and graphic in parts for me. It is a good story from what I read of it. So if you like a thriller and like the sounds of the blurb give it a go.
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Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy of this book.
It was indeed a gripping story. Somehow I found it difficult to read, maybe too many twists and turns int he plot. I would read another one by the same author, though.
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I enjoyed the plot of this crime thriller very much. Set in the Lake District, it gave a stunning backdrop to a complicated and twisty thriller about missing girls, prostitution and various other criminal activities.

The reason this isn’t a 5* for me is because the one thing I couldn’t get my head around was the graphic violence of certain points that I believe added nothing to the story. I’ll go out of my way to not read a book if it contains cruelty to animals, I think it’s a line that should never be crossed and this contained a sub story on illegal dog fighting that was extremely graphic in description. This left a sour note on the novel for me unfortunately.
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A dark, oppressive read. Maybe I wasn't in the right headspace to fully enjoy it. It was definitely immersive, but not a world that I personally enjoyed spending time in.
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Dark Game is the first book in a new detective series.  It’s a detective thriller featuring a female detective trying to solve a cold case. Set in The Lakes Detective Inspector Kelly Porter is back home after working in London.
Focusing on child abandonment it’s a tense and gritty read. It also looks at family rivalries and relationships.
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dark game by Rachel lynch. 
After a scandal forces D. I. Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community – the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies. Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day. But evidence comes to light that reveals a web of criminal activity beyond anything Kelly imagined. Behind the veneer of sleepy, touristy towns lies a dark and dangerous underworld. As Kelly threatens to expose those with much to lose, she risks paying the ultimate price to get to the truth
a fantastic read.  loved the story. Kelly was a strong character who was also my favourite character.  didn't like her sister. hated how she treated Kelly. I simply couldn't put it down and read into early hours as I was so engrossed in the story and wanted to know if my theory was right. 5*. would give more if I could.  highly recommended.
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For once I'm unsure where to start with this review; I certainly found the book hard to put down and read the last third in one intense high-speed reading session. It's unarguably, therefore, a good read that is likely to carry its audience along in an exciting tale of crime and police investigation. The action centres around a female detective recently returned to her home district as a Detective Inspector, where she is quickly caught up in a number of apparently separate investigations that quickly reveal a disturbing common theme of violence, prostitution and modern slavery. 

The writing is very well-paced and occasional effective use is made of good local Lake District knowledge. Dialogue is well used and the plot is reasonably well-developed. Reservations that prevent an overall excellent judgment relate to poor research over whether Polish nationals need work permits (at the pre-Brexit time of writing), which is a non-trivial element in the story; an unnecessarily graphic focus on violence - and the body count did stretch credulity; and an occasional uncertainty over whether the author was trying to convey messages that probably sit uneasily with the book's purpose to entertain. I must resign myself, I guess, to the modern way in which authors routinely defy all police standard operational procedures and expose their heros to implausible risk by venturing alone into situations that require a team response, so I let that pass as it is becoming ubiquitous. 

Overall, then, this is a capable author who I feel confident has an even better book waiting to be written if the strengths can be built on and the odd areas for improvement addressed. But, make no mistake, this is a good read and the majority of readers will find much to relish as they read 'just one more chapter' again and again before the book is finally put down for the night. If I could give four and a half stars I would - but it's better than four stars, so five it is. Strongly recommended.
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Kelly, a policewoman who'd run into trouble in London, returns home to work in office there:living with her mother and subject to her 'perfect' sister's scorn, she has a hard time fitting back in. But she gets stuck into what turns out to be a people trafficking scheme involving a local bigshot who dies in the arms of an illegal immigrant from a heart attack.  The martinet owner of a guesthouse, employing such girls, allows sexual transactions in her place, and soon is revealed to be part of the complex plot -lorry drivers, local thugs and underage illegal immigrants, terrified or world wise depending on their temperaments. A lot of time is spent on Kelly's characterisation as a hard-bitten, yet sensitive, copp - and her concern for a young girl trapped in this situation gets her into physically dangerous position ... despite inconsistencies in the characterisations - the martinet turns out to be sleazy! - and seeming-friends and a non descriptive boyfriend for Kelly who seems just to be filling a space, make it thin at times. The action -packed inhale seems to go on. Competent enough and a planned plot that is comprehensible if convoluted ... a good read for what it is.
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There is nothing quite so satisfying to me as reading a British police procedural crime thriller.  When it has an engaging protagonist, a Lake District setting, and a compelling and well rendered plot, then it is for me, reading bliss.

DI Kelly Porter grew up in the Lake District, though for the past decade she has policed in London, honing her trade - until a personal betrayal by a co-worker convinced her that it was time to 'up-sticks' and move back to her roots. We meet her as she is settling into her position as Detective Inspector for the Cumbria Constabulary. She is trying to make the most of this opportunity, make a good impression on her new team, and make a place for herself.  Her personal situation is tenuous, as for the time-being she is back living with her widowed mother until she finds a place of her own. At thirty-six years of age, this is less than an ideal situation. Also, being the daughter of John Porter, a 'legend on the force' muddies her way further.

"Detective work was liable to put one off people generally; it was the nature of the job."

I'm not going into detail of Kelly's first cases on the Cumbrian force. Suffice it to say that her keen eye and thorough work ethic connects a five-year-old cold case with a current murder of a prominent businessman in a seedy hotel. To say more would ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.  The characterization is skillfully done, making the police, the criminals, and the victims all very real.  The story shows how even a place as idyllic and beautiful as the Lake District can have a sordid, and brutal underbelly that is thankfully seldom witnessed by the average resident or tourist. Part of the action takes place in hotels and guest houses in the quaint village of Ambleside.

I warn you that this novel is not without its seamy and graphically violent scenes. If you are put off by that type of thing, then steer clear.  This is a crime novel with brutal crimes perpetrated upon innocent victims. The criminals put the 'vile' in the word villains. Their scorn for the English justice system and way of life is evident as well.

The story of illegal immigrants and sex-trafficking is not a new one, but Rachel Lynch executes her story so well that this novel stands apart from novels using a similar premise. Also included are descriptions of the appalling and heinous deeds committed by some members of an organized crime syndicate.

A quality series debut like this one ensures that I will be avidly waiting for the next installment in the DI Kelly Porter series.  A must-read for those who enjoy well-written, grittily realistic crime novels. Highly recommended!
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It really makes me so happy when I discover a new Crime Thriller Writer to love. let's be honest though there are too many out there who try only few succeeds in producing a great book. Thankfully, Rachel Lynch is one of those few authors who succeeded, I'm even wondering why this has so few ratings. 

A scandal made D.I. Kelly Porter comes home where she though she'd only be working on minor crimes. She was wrong. Upon reviewing old cases, one caught her attention and decided to work on it. A five-year old unsolved case of a ten-year-old Lottie Davies who went missing, and then eventually found brutally murdered. Still working on it, Kelly has to work with other new cases too, a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of local businessman Colin Day.
And to her surprise, connection between the cases begun to resurface. 

Though it took me days to read this one, that doesn't mean i got bored with this. No, I was just busy. Truth is, this book is anything but boring. I found the plot complex but it was well-written and well-organized. Connecting one case with another can be crucial but the author handled it so well. She certainly knew what to reveal Now and what's later so the thrill and mystery of it isn't lost to the reader. The pace, needless to say, is perfect for this genre. 
It was a good experience.
I also liked that there was a plot points involving Kelly and her sisters rivalry. I have to mention this little part of the plot because Sisters rivalry is actually one of my hatest troupe in any genre of in novels. But in this book, I find it okay and acceptable. :)
The character. I like Kelly. She's badass but certainly a human being. She's not annoying. I really can't help but compare her to Harry Bosch (the MC in Michael Connely's famous Crime Thriller Series). Sorry, I can't think of anyone to compare with.
Overall, I a keen to read the next in the series. Also I recommend this book to everyone who loves this genre. Or anyone who wants to try this genre. It's so apparent that the author knows her game so reading this book is worth your time.
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Rachel Lynch is an exciting new author for me and has produced  an exciting police procedural book to kickstart our interest.
DI Kelly Porter after a spell at the Met in London  returns home to take up a post in the Lake District expecting  to be dealing with less stressful crimes. 
She gets her feet wet reexamining a cold case of a child abduction at the same time dealing with an illegal immigrant and the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a local businessman. 
What transpires will keep you on the edge of your seat great read.
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I really enjoyed this book. This is an action packed edge of the seat thriller. I read this book in one sitting. I got totally caught up in the plot and had to know what happened. This is a well thought out and very well written book. I hope this book is th first of many about Kelly.
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Another name to look out for in the gritty police procedural genre. Very well written and plotted, couldn’t put it down. Plucky, likeable and ballsy DI that leaps off the page. Great read
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This is a solid, murder mystery thriller, with difficult subject matter and details within that I found particularly hard to stomach at times.
The lead character policewoman Kelly is strong, likeable and well written and I enjoyed the chapters that described her private life and her challenging family relationships.
There are other, unsavoury characters throughout the book and although I found it a well told murder mystery, it's very gruesome in parts. Not for the fainthearted.
Solid 3.5* for me.
Many thanks to netgalley and Canelo digital publishing for the opportunity to preview.
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