Book review: Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

Have you ever started reading a book and then, maybe twenty or thirty pages in, had the delicious realisation that this was the start of a new reading relationship, that here you had found an author and a series that was going to give you weeks of reading pleasure in the months and years ahead? I’m sure you have. It’s happened to me a few times too, with Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books, the Flashman novels and others: the delicious realisation that this is the first in (checks online) a whole series of stories and you’ve got all the rest to go. There ought to be a German polysyllabic word for this.

Well, that’s what I thought twenty or thirty pages into Full Dark Moon. Two great lead characters in Bryant and May, detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit of the Metropolitan Police. Crimes that straddled the border between the mundane and the fantastical. A view of London that provided new insights into places I had seen many times before. Oh, yes, this was going to be good.

But then, but then…

As I read further, I slowly and reluctantly decided that this was not a series for me. Not that what I have written above wasn’t true but rather that the crimes upon which the mystery turned were simply too gory: they splattered suffering and pain over the rest of the book. Yes, I know it’s just a story, but for me fantastical crime is that: fanastical. I really don’t need to know the bloody details.

So I finished the book but decided that this was not a series I was going to read further. Oh, the disappointment.


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