Author: Tarn Richardson
Publication Date: Early 2020
Publisher: Red Door Publishing
1914. The outbreak of war. In the French city of Arras, a Father is brutally murdered. The Catholic Inquisition – still powerful, but now working in the shadows – sends its most determined and unhinged of Inquisitors, Poldek Tacit to investigate: his mission to protect the Church from those who would seek to undermine it, no matter what the cost.
Yet as Tacit arrives, armed forces led by Britain and Germany confront each other across No Man’s Land. As the Inquisitor strives in vain to establish the truth behind the murder and to uncover the motives of other Vatican servants seeking to undermine him, a beautiful and spirited woman, Sandrine, warns British soldier Henry Frost of a mutual foe even more terrible lurking beneath the killing fields that answers to no human force and wreaks their havoc by the light of the moon. Faced with impossible odds and his own demons, Tacit must battle the forces of evil, and a church determined at all costs to achieve its aims, to reach the heart of a dark conspiracy that seeks to engulf the world, plunging it ever deeper into conflict.
Morally complex and fast paced, this is a gripping work of dark fiction set in an alternative twentieth century, where humanity’s desire for love, compassion and peace face daunting challenges in a world overwhelmed by total war and mysterious dark forces.
Thanks to Anna@Red Door Publishing for my spot on the blog tour and the author for a copy of the book. All my thoughts are unbiased and honest. When I received the email with the synopsis of this book how could I say no? Pegged as gothic horror…it already had me by the scruff of my neck and as I delved further and further into this twisted and deviant tale it had fully sunk its claws into me. Move over Dan Brown, the gothic horror genre has a new poster boy, Tarn Richardson. This is the first book in The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I for one am fully invested in this rollercoaster ride until its completion.
How can I even begin to write a review for a book of this magnitude? In truth it has taken me a few days to actually sit down and try to extract the jumbled mess that is my thoughts. This book certainly got the grey matter pumping. The book cover is all shades of ominous. Don’t stare at the cover for too long because it will suck you in. It’s got a magnetic field all of its own. The cover is serious catnip for a kitten, it’s a booklovers dream.
So, I have made quite the statement by suggesting that this is better than Dan Brown, right? Well let me tell you, it really is. Wow, this was just fresh, more of an original take on historical fiction with that edgy, raw cutthroat emotion that I NEED in a book like this. Do you want to travel at a nice steady pace of 40mph or go hell for leather at the speed of sound? This novel launches a rocket under your behind and doesn’t look back. The book flows stunningly, its effortless and seamlessly so. This author can write, and I mean WRITE. He could write himself out of a sinking ship. Oh, and did I mention that he can snap at your heartstrings? Yeah, he can. I love the trauma that he can put his reader through but them still begging him for more. That’s exactly how I felt. Ugly, ugly ugly tears.
So, the story, we meet our main character, Poldek Tacit. The story is set during the start of World War I with snippets from the late 19th century. Now, Poldek is the most quietly ominous character I have read about. His quiet deliberation is terrifying. He is an inquisitor with the catholic church. I would not like to meet this guy in a dark alleyway, so I suppose that he is the perfect man for the job. After the brutal murder of a priest in his church, Tacit is sent to Arras with Sister Isabella to investigate the murder. These two were gold together. The relationship dynamics were an equal dose of explosive and comical. A book that is as dark as this needs a little light relief, right? Tacit has been conducting himself recently in a way that has led to the powers that be wondering just how strong his faith is…can Sister Isabella use her wicked ways to see just how deep the faith flows?
The horror element to the story was so clever, so intricate, it weaved a web of malice that a spider would be jealous. The horror/supernatural element of the story was so multi-faceted, a subtle sense of dread, threatening shadows no matter what way you turned. The narrative is quite like nothing you have dared to read before. This is a novel that authors like Dan Brown. Stephen King or Thomas Harris WISH they had wrote. LOVED the ending which did leave me speechless (which is a nearly impossible thing to do, just ask my husband!) I’m completely in awe at Tarn Richardson’s amazing skills at creating a world that just brought all my horror fantasies to life and thank you for creating amazingly deep but relatable characters that I will struggle to leave behind.