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The Dark Room By Sam Blake

The Dark Room‘The Dark Room’ is the latest book by Sam Blake.

Rachel Lambert leaves London afraid for her personal safety and determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of a homeless man with links to a country house hotel called Hare’s Landing. New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner. As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…

Is there no end to Sam Blake’s talents? When she’s not writing gripping crime thrillers set in rural Ireland, she’s also known as Vanessa O’Loughlin creator of Writing.ie and organiser of the epic Murder One Crime Festival, an annual literary crime festival bringing in some of the world’s finest writers who have their readers gripped with their suspenseful and gory tales.
 
Although I know Sam/Vanessa from attending the events and chatting at events, ‘The Dark Room’ is actually the first book that I’ve read by her.
 
The story starts off with a mysterious person, posting a letter who’s identity and contents of the letter is not revealed. The story then follows on from the perspective Irish natives Caroline and Rachel. Caroline has come to Hare’s Landing Hotel to escape the drama from her job in New York, a successful journalist, her work has come under fire and she’s taking some time to reflect, whilst film location scout Rachel has come to Ireland for a break. After her boyfriend Hunter, was injured in a hit and run and the barge they live on was ruined in a robbery, she’s retreated to Hare’s Landing for some respite but also to try to solve some mysteries about a homeless man called Alfie Bowes that Hunter was working on a documentary with. Both Caroline and Rachel become close friends when they realise there are many mysteries about the hotel.

From the whispered hushes about the former owner called Honoria Smyth who took her own life. The hotel is filled with reminders of the glamorous author and the constant disapproval from the house keeper called Mrs Travers, who dislikes the women’s interest in the history of the opulent surroundings.

The story is riddled with mystery and suspense and as the women delve deeper into the hotel’s history, they begin to see connections to old and new disappearances. The story is set in a small seaside town called Glencurragh and it makes for interesting and insightful reading as the women adjust to being the gossip of the town.

I genuinely loved this story, it’s fast paced, gritty and has so many clever twists riddled throughout that keeps the reader on their toes. Both Caroline and Rachel are great leads, both with a passion for problem solving and curiosity for knowledge and occupied with Rachel’s dog called Jasper, they were a tremendous trio.

A well crafted crime novel combined with small town gossip and a luxurious hotel that’s steeped in history, ‘The Dark Place’ is a chilling and gripping story that’s has menace and suspense dripping from each page in this atmospheric tale.

You can buy ‘The Dark Room’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Murder One – New International Crime-Writing Festival For Dublin

Murder One

A stellar cast of crime and thriller writers have been lined up for a new crime writing festival taking place in Dublin in November. Murder One will feature a host international authors including Peter James, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, Lynda La Plante, Lisa Jewell, Ruth Ware, Mick Herron and Robert Goddard together with many of your favourite Irish crime writers including Liz Nugent, Jane Casey, Patricia Gibney, Jo Spain, Karen Perry, Sam Blake and many more.

A three-day long weekend crime writing festival running from 2 – 4 November, Murder One will also feature readings and interviews with Irish and international authors, panel events, a speakers’ corner and forensics and writing workshops. Murder One will be a broad church which will aim to accommodate the kindred genres of thrillers and spy fiction.

International bestseller, Michael Connelly will open the festival with a special preview event on October 28th at 2.00pm in City Hall with Declan Burke moderating. Thereafter the main programme takes place in Smock Alley, one of Dublin’s premier event venues, from 2nd – 4th November.

International bestseller Lynda La Plante brings festival attendees a unique free workshop for anyone interested in the world of forensics or Crime Scene Investigation. This interactive event is hosted by Think Forensic whose experts include CSI’s, forensic scientists, and senior investigating officers. In Lynda La Plante’s CSI Murder Room, get a hands on introduction to forensic science and be briefed on the crime of the day, inspired by Lynda’s newest thriller Murder Mile. Lynda herself will be interviewed by Niamh O’Connor on Saturday 3rd November, talking about Murder Mile and the Steve McQueen movie due out in November, based on her novel ‘Widows’.

Murder One has been developed and will be curated by two of Ireland’s most experienced literary event programmers, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin of Writing.ie, and Bert Wright formerly of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and currently curator of The Dublin Festival of History and the DLR Voices Series. Working with Dublin City Libraries, Dublin City Events, and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, the organisers aim to attract not just an avid local audience but also literary tourists from all over the world.

With crime writing consistently the highest selling genre worldwide, the time is ripe for a great literary city to expand its festival portfolio and Murder One, it is hoped, will become one of the key events in the national and international crime festival calendar.

Bert Wright said: “Not for nothing was Dublin chosen as one of the first UNESCO Cities of Literature. UK visitors always remark upon the enthusiasm and sophistication of Dublin audiences and this has been a festival waiting to happen. Irish crime writers are now rightly respected and admired the world over. England Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own crime festivals, so it really was time for Dublin to step up to the plate. It’s all enormously exciting and we can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Vanessa O’Loughlin said: “As a crime writer myself I’m constantly delighted by the passion and enthusiasm of Irish crime fans and I’m confident that they will welcome this new landmark festival in Dublin. In addition to my fellow Irish writers, we have attracted some major international names to make our first year a memorable one. In 2017, the top three bestselling books were thrillers and we plan to thrill festival goers whether they enjoy cosy whodunits or Cold War spy dramas. Check out murderone.ie to see the plot unfold.”

Alison Lyons, Director of Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, added: “Crime novels are enjoyed by a wider variety of readers than possibly any other genre, and are consistently among the most popular titles borrowed in libraries, so we have no doubt that there is a huge appetite for Murder One. We look forward to being a part of the festival and bringing readers and authors together, especially our widely celebrated and internationally renowned Irish writers of crime fiction.”

For more information and how to buy tickets, go to