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Hunting in the Dark by Greg Leach (CreateSpace, 2013)

Reviewed by Tim Shearer


‘Sol Dearday has been a jobbing private investigator for most of his working life. At the age of forty-one, he realizes that this has been mere preparation for his main case: an investigation into himself, into how a single devastating event in childhood has shaped his adult life. A chance encounter takes him to a small town, in search of a father he has not spoken to in thirty years. ’


While Hunting in the Dark draws on the style and tropes of genre fiction, its locus is literary, exploring themes of memory and identity, belonging and alienation. In the course of his search Sol encounters characters whose lives are as complex, fractured and secretive as his own. As he becomes more deeply involved in them – the hotelier and his promiscuous wife; the waitress and her abusive father; Trevor and Glenda Holland, the eccentric occupants of 20 Blessmore Avenue – he is compelled to confront his own behaviour, his recklessness and hypocrisy, the ‘magnitude of his betrayal’ of Jackie, his girlfriend. As the plot moves towards its startling climax, the tension is felt all the more acutely through the precise, disciplined prose: ‘He looks at Walter’s jagged face in profile, a face sculpted by raw experience. Occasionally there are twitches and tiny spasms that suggest an internal monologue, a raging and thrashing writ small.’



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