Dark Past by Catherine Lee

The third novel (including the prequel) in the ‘Dark’ series by Catherine Lee.  I had the luxury of reading them all, one after the other.  I’ve enjoyed each one, and highly recommend Ms Lee’s novels to those who enjoy intelligent, well-written crime fiction.

Dark Past by Catherine Lee

‘What kind of secret would someone kill to protect?’

When Jill Fisher doesn’t turn up for work and breaks a lunch date with her sister Beth, Beth goes looking for her.  To her horror, she finds Jill dead in her apartment.  Detective Sergeant Charlie Cooper and his partner Detective Senior Constable Joe Quinn are called to the scene.  While they don’t believe that Jill was killed by a random intruder, it isn’t immediately clear who would kill Jill, or why.

In the meantime, Beth Fisher, a corporate lawyer in the Fisher family firm (where Jill had also worked) decides to finish the ancestry research Jill had been so passionate about.  Jill was convinced that the family had a First Fleet connection and Beth looks for a researcher to help her.

Cooper and Quinn’s investigations and Beth’s ancestry research raise a number of questions about the Fisher family and their business dealings.  There’s a mysterious disappearance years earlier which just might be relevant.  And the death of a researcher Beth has been talking to is hardly likely to be a coincidence.

All of this digging around results is a warning for Beth: ‘Stop looking into your family’s past.’

I picked this novel up, and couldn’t put it down. So many questions needed answers.  Would Cooper and Quinn discover who murdered Jill before more lives were lost?  What was the family secret that someone was so keen to protect?  Just what is the genetic research being undertaken by the Research Foundation?  And just who is the murderer?  Ms Lee has written a novel with a number of different strands to analyse and consider.  There’s plenty of tension too: for Beth as she tries to balance work and family while being overwhelmed by Jill’s murder, and for Charlie Cooper trying to balance his own family responsibilities while finding out the truth.

I finished the novel, fairly satisfied with the outcomes, and immediately picked up the next in the series.  I hope that Ms Lee can write fast!

Jennifer Cameron-Smith



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