REVIEW – The Darkness Around Her by Neil White

– Published 9th August 2018

by Neil White

Rating: *****
*Going to try my best to avoid spoilers but be warned just in case I slip up!*

The Darkness Around Her

The plot follows criminal defence lawyer Dan Grant in his attempt to bring forth his client’s innocence. On New Year’s Eve, a young woman was murdered by the side of the canal as she was running away from her abusive boyfriend. Months later, a trial is about to begin with Peter Box being accused of her murder. Forensics found traces of his blood on her shoe and he had been to the hospital for a gash in his head the same size as her shoe. All the evidence is pointing towards him, although that is all the evidence. They can only assume that whilst Peter was trying to kill her, she put up a struggle and hit him with her shoe. Dan Grant doesn’t believe that is the end of it. He can’t think that as he needs to do his job and defend Peter Box. When Dan’s boss comes to him to suggest there might be a link with an old case, the hunt for answers begin.

That is all I’m saying because I don’t want to ruin the twists and turns that happen throughout!
Holy ****! It’s not very often I read thrillers but when I do, I seem to always enjoy them. I won this book on the Reader’s First weekly draw and was very excited to read it after I’d read the first impression intro. The first chapter alone had me gripped and wanting to read more so I knew that was a good start. White was able to build up the tension in a perfect manner, making me feel like I was walking along the canal and through the dark streets with the girl.

Reading the rest of the book was no different. It was full of subtle twists everywhere. You’re faced with the obvious answer to the case but with no evidence or thorough theory of how is all happened. I say subtle twist because there wasn’t really a single moment where I was utterly shocked but there were smaller moments where I found myself say “Ahhh” out loud as things in my head began to click. There were other moments, however, where I guess you could tell what was about to happen but it was still a shock when it actually does as you spend most of the time hoping that someone else will be there or the police will come, or things will get figured out. I think that was down to the brilliant pacing of the story, nothing felt rushed and the shorts jumps of point of view allowed for the time to pass slowly, yet in hind sight, things all happen pretty fast.

There is a dash of romance but nothing like other thrillers or crime novels I’ve read recently. There was little mention of it but you knew it was there which was a nice touch and almost allowed you to believe you were leaving those characters to their own business. Although I was marginally gutted in the end for their relationship. Though I don’t believe that was the end.

I found myself second-guessing all the time. Knowing the facts and trying to figure out the answers, when it was staring right at me. Trying to figure out alternatives just in case there was a big change yet still wanting the original answers I had come up with to be true. It was almost like they were too. The initial answers in my head that I had at the start of the book were nicely concluded with that little bit of a twist that gradually grew throughout the book. Much appreciated!

The whole story was set around the canals that run through Lancashire towards West Yorkshire. The Liverpool-Leeds canal being one that is most frequently mentioned and the one that is closest to me and the one I have walked along many times. It was slightly worrying reading something so close to home yet it also made it that bit more exciting. The familiarity of the location brought it to life even more. In the beginning I kept reminding myself it was all fiction but it did really make you think about the dangers of walking along the water at night time and who could be living on the boats. There have been many times where I’ve walked past a canal boats and thought about who might live there or own it. Now I won’t be able to help thinking about what might have happened on it or be happening.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and since I’ve never read a Neil White book before, I started having a look at what other ones he has done. Looks like this is technically the second one in a series of Dan Grant, though it is easily a stand alone. I definitely need to check out some more of his books and then hopefully White will do another Dan Grant book to conclude the touch of romance with another thrilling story!

Until the next book…

I received this book in return for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Reader’s First and Zaffre for the book!

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