#BookReview – A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis (@MulhollandUK) #MapOfTheDark

A girl, missinga map of the dark
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter.

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.  

Published by Hodder & Stoughton (UK) January 11th 2017) 

I’m not a huge reader of crime/detective books – it’s not that I dislike them (from the ones I’ve read I’d say I really enjoyed them) – but possibly the fact that there’s just so many of them, it’s difficult to know where to start. But when A Map Of The Dark dropped through my letter box unexpectedly a few weeks a go, I put it to the top of my New Year TBR pile, keen to give it a go.

The book follows FBI agent Elsa Myers, a revered expert in missing children cases as she is torn between time with her dying father and a new case she has been specifically requested for. It’s clear very early on though that Elsa’s own background is as dark as that of the victims she fights so passionately to save, and through a series of flashback chapters, the reader comes to understand what drives Elsa, and what holds her back.

First of all, A Map of the Dark is very easy to get involved in right from the beginning. With an intriguing main character and a race against time to solve the mystery of  a missing girl I was hooked very early on and read this is huge, addictive chunks.

The mystery of Ruby’s disappearance is gripping as it is and I was desperate to know what had happened to the seemingly innocent, studious “girl next door”. As secrets are revealed, it appears that Ruby’s life was more complex than originally thought – but will knowing this lead Elsa to her before it’s too late? It was Elsa’s story however that really gripped my attention, providing almost a mystery within a mystery. There’s a darkness and deep vulnerability that surrounds this seemingly tough lady, and as her own shocking past is revealed, I felt genuine concern and empathy for her.

A Map of the Dark was certainly a gripping read, however as the book reached its climax I felt it was a little rushed. With some important and integral details of the  case being skimmed over, it lacked some impact. While I appreciated the characterisation of Elsa and the depth given to her own backstory, I wonder if this was at a cost to the investigation into the missing girls. This doesn’t stop the book been a thoroughly good read though –  dark, edgy and gripping it was a fantastic start to my New Year reading.

I read an advance review copy courtesy of the publisher.




4 thoughts on “#BookReview – A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis (@MulhollandUK) #MapOfTheDark

  1. This is the third review I read about this novel and her background is mentioned in all three.. some readers find it a positive point while others feel that it interferes to much with the main plot mystery, so opinions are very divided. Maybe I’ll read it just to see what side I’m on :-). I like background stories but it has to be balanced as well so I don’t know…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah good to know it wasn’t just me. I still really liked it and would definitely read a follow up. Would love to see what you think if you read it!

      Liked by 1 person

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