Dark Mode

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Pub Date 13 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 13 Apr 2023

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LoveReading Book of the Month April 2023

'Drawn from real life cases, this brilliantly twisty thriller exposes the grimmest recesses of the dark web through a disturbing story of murder, misogyny and sickening surveillance.' – LoveReading

'Riveting, tense and supremely chilling, this is an eye-opening must-read for crime fiction fans everywhere.' – Anna Downes, author of The Safe Place

Once you’re online, there’s nowhere to hide.

A riveting psychological thriller drawn from true events, Dark Mode delves into the terrifying reality of the dark web, and the price we pay for surrendering our privacy one click at a time.

Is it paranoia – or is someone watching? For years, Reagan Carsen has kept her life offline. No socials. No internet presence. No photos. Safe. Until the day she stumbles on a shocking murder in a Sydney laneway. The victim looks just like her.

Coincidence? As more murders shake the city and she’s increasingly drawn out from hiding, Reagan is forced to confront her greatest fear.

She’s been found.

LoveReading Book of the Month April 2023

'Drawn from real life cases, this brilliantly twisty thriller exposes the grimmest recesses of the dark web through a disturbing story of murder, misogyny...

Advance Praise

‘Thrilling and twisty – get ready to be paranoid’

J.P. Pomare, author of The Wrong Woman

​‘Wow. Page turning, chilling dread that kept me guessing until the end. Ashley Kalagian Blunt hits it out of the park, creating a dark world where your worst fears aren't the worst thing to fear – not even close.’

R.W.R McDonald, author of Nancy Business

‘With Dark Mode, Ashley Kalagian Blunt has turned her love of true crime and passion for suspense fiction into a fierce wake-up call of a thriller, one that looks unflinchingly at the horrors of the dark web and sheds light on the unimaginable. Riveting, tense and supremely chilling, this is an eye-opening must-read for crime fiction fans everywhere.’

Anna Downes, author of The Shadow House

‘Absolutely terrifying! I turned every page with my heart in my mouth, utterly hooked by this explosive thriller. Ashley Kalagian Blunt taps into the dangers we face online every day and the monsters in our midst. Dark Mode is a powerful and disturbing story which will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.’

Petronella McGovern, author of The Liars

Dark Mode’s greatest achievement is that, as the pieces fall into place, it’s not just Reagan Carsen’s world that’s turned upside down – it’s ours. Its stunning payoff doesn’t just reverberate through the pages, but beyond the book and into the world at large … there are some realities most of us would sooner pretend are impossible than acknowledge are already here. Kalagian Blunt forces our gazes upon them in this compulsive and breathless thriller.’

James McKenzie Watson, author of Denizen

​‘Dark Mode's tension is visceral from the first page. The story is terrifying and timely. I found myself looking over my shoulder and thinking about Reagan for days after I finished reading. I'm excited to see what Ashley Kalagian Blunt writes next; she's a new crime writer to watch!’

Amy Lovat, Secret Book Stuff

‘Thrilling and twisty – get ready to be paranoid’

J.P. Pomare, author of The Wrong Woman

​‘Wow. Page turning, chilling dread that kept me guessing until the end. Ashley Kalagian Blunt hits it out...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781761152214
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

Terrifying. Explosive. Dark. Chilling. My kind of book and I loved it!

Reagan Carsen has lived off the grid for years. No social media and no internet presence. No way she can be found. Then one day, she stumbles across a dead body in an alleyway. The woman looks just like her. As more murders unfold, the victims all bear a striking resemblance. And the terror begins.

The action starts in this one from the very first page and it retains a cracking pace throughout. I read this at night and in hindsight, that was probably a mistake. The fact the novel is based upon true crimes, makes it all the more terrifying. The characters, the twists, the setting (Sydney) and the threads running through this were masterful and it is a story that will stay with me for some time. Sensational!

Thank you to NetGalley and Ultimo Press for the gifted e-book.

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Ohh wow this was a book that kept my totally absorbed and I just ploughed through it, what a read !
The story is drawn from a lot of true events and to be honest it freaked me out at times at just how easy it to find yourself a target either by stalking, hacking or even worse such is the life most of us live and never realise how easy it can be to find yourself at the mercy of someone or even the dark web.
It’s a very dark read that centres on the main character of Reagan who is living her life more or less off grid when events happen to change all that and from then on the story becomes extremely scary. I loved the writing the author did a lot researching and that really gave the book an edgy feel, the characters were believable and it had me guessing and suspecting throughout and I will look forward to reading more from Ashley Kalagian Blunt, many thanks to her I loved the book.
My thanks also to NetGalley and Ultimo Press for giving me the opportunity to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Wow! This book has kept me reading til the early hours and I have absolutely no regrets about how tired I'll be in the morning.

I loved the premise of this book, I thought the concept sounded original and interesting and it most definitely was! The writing flows naturally and the book keeps up a really good pace. You may have your suspicions quite early on but trust me, you don't know the half of it!

Its cleverly written and multilayered. Its also very current with the social media/ online/ dark web side of it because these things do exist and these things do happen. The book has a few wee subplots and what makes them all so addictive is the fact that they are all realistic. From the attitude she dealt with in her youth (I'm trying gto avoid spoilers coz it's just such an amazing book n I'd hate to take away from that for anyone) through to the risks of the modern online world and the people who have access to them. That's nice and vague!

The characters are all well written. They're again, just realistic and relatable. There's no main character running into the basement when chased by a serial killer or wandering alone after dark just so the killer has a chance to murder her. She's a strong woman who's fighting to just live her life and its hard not to feel empathetic because I'm sure a lot of women have experienced some of the topics covered in the book

And the twists? Hmm...... I did have suspicions from early on but u had absolutely no idea of how it did actually turn out! Plus, I loved that it's not one of those thrillers where every character is written to be super suspish just to try and cover for the real responsible party. These are all just normal people living normal lives.

I'd absolutely recommend this one to anyone! Such an amazing thriller and it 100% delivers on everything you'd want. There's no waffle or pages and pages droning on about pointless descriptions or just upping the word count with irrelevant side quests, in this book absolutely everything is relevant and it really was a pleasure to read

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Wow what a book thank you ever so much for the opportunity to review. I could not put it down. Would definitely recommend to others

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I've been unable to put Dark Mode down tonight. It's nearly midnight, and having just finished it, I'm lying awake staring at the ceiling with my brain whirring through a photo montage of all the ways society fails women and girls.
I won't spoilt the plot, but in summary,the author tackles male extremist groups that scream hatred of women online. We know these extremists exist, we know they walk among us. Damn we know this is all so so realistically scary!
I don't know what else to say, I'm genuinely a bit speechless. But please read this book it's insanely good. Just don't read it before bed like me!

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JUST FINISHED: Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

“She shouldn’t have been wearing-“
“Did she say no?-“
“Well, why was she out at-“
“Serves her right for-“

Here’s an idea—women are not responsible for the physical, mental, and emotional violence perpetrated against them! These types of attitudes are discussed in Dark Mode, a psychological thriller exploring the shady side of the internet, stalking, and the horrifying fact that there are cohorts of men out there who thrive off hating women.

I was hooked from the beginning, as this book is packed full of simple, punchy writing that propelled me through the story. I also loved the plant-talk that was woven throughout this—it added a point of difference within the genre that felt really fresh.

The discussions of victim blaming, doxxing and incel culture (amongst other groups) was really well done, and a particular element of this reminded me of A Clockwork Orange in its writing and language style—and I loved it, in all it’s terrifying glory.

Check this one out if you haven’t already! 🪴-Mika

*Huge thanks to NetGalley and Ultimo Press for the eARC*

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This book is grim right from the word go as the main character stumbles across a dead body whilst out on a run in the opening pages. She freaks out and doesn't report it since she doesn't want her past catching up with her.

What follows is a whole lot of paranoia and very creepy scenarios and it makes you think about the scary reality of putting yourself out there online. Some of the things that happen made me wince with mortification.

One of the best thrillers I have read recently. Completely gripping from start to finish.

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I loved the way Ashley has seamlessly weaved a real life cold case into the book!! The Black Dahlia is a fascinating cold case and it just added another level to the story. It was really hard to find something that I didn't love, but if I had to pick something it would be all the scientific plant names. I'm not a gardener, so just give me the basic plant name.

Overall, this is a dark and captivating thriller that has so many twists and turns you won't know what way is up!! Make sure you clear your calendar before you start this as you won't want to stop til it's finished!! I'm really looking forward to reading Ashley's next book!!!

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book.

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