Add a subheading 26 - Review:  Into The Dark by Stuart Johnstone
Crime Fiction

Review: Into The Dark by Stuart Johnstone

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Into the Dark by Stuart Johnstone
on July 22, 2021
ISBN: 9780749026431
Genres: Scottish Crime, Police Procedural
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
four stars - Review:  Into The Dark by Stuart Johnstone

'Cut his eyes out, so he has. What kind of a monster could... Cut his eyes out?'The brutal murder of ten-year-old Callum Bradley sent shockwaves across Scotland but, as the weeks have stretched on with no solid leads, the investigation has been scaled back. Sergeant Don Colyear, Community Police Officer, is tasked with tying up a loose end: a 999 call which may have hinted at the boy's mutilation and murder. However, the call was made fully three weeks before the crime took place.The caller turns out to be a resident at an Edinburgh care home, drifting in and out of lucidity due to dementia. Enough to write off the potential lead as a dead end. But when a fresh murder disturbs the city, the clock is ticking and Don is drawn far away from his usual beat onto a dark path to catch a violent killer.

Into The Dark is a stark warning that we can all become products of our past if we allow it to consume us.  The past can haunt us, and it can keep tiptoeing back into our lives.   Is it ever possible to bury the past?  This premise is one that sends chills down my spine.  Edinburgh is known for its culture, its connections with Europe but it also has got a dark side.  Murder and deceit can be found in dark corners just like any other city.  Sergeant Donald Colyear is back in Edinburgh and is about to be found embroiled in a case that is as dark as it is brutal.

See no evil

Hear no evil

Speak no evil

Don is now settled in his new role of community sergeant on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  He manages a small team and is the happiest he’s been for a long time.  Not much happens, he just needs to keep on top of paperwork, local robberies, vandalism, and anti-social behaviour.  Yes, life is good.  That is until Alyson (DC in CID) calls upon him for a favour.  An elderly gentleman in a care home within Don’s beat has made a call about a victim missing eyes, well, it just happens to match a case of a murdered boy that they are desperate to crack.  They both go along to interview Mr. Beeswax.  Unfortunately, it isn’t all plain sailing – he has advanced Dementia.

I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Don and Martin.  So often that period in life is seen as a nuisance and once our parents are being taken care of by someone else that it is out of sight, out of mind.  It was a beautiful depiction of having genuine respect for another human being.  Stuart Johnstone’s examination of the human condition was succinct and touching.

The murder of a young boy and the subsequent events leave Police Scotland reeling.  Long hours, snappy conversations and the divisional bureaucracy is splitting hairs.  Events lead to a crescendo of shocks and emotion.  There is a romantic interest for Don and it’s great seeing him moving on, with some hilarious moments from his colleagues in the community policing department.  The author hasn’t only created a bubble of death and mystery but real deep-thinking points also.   

Into The Dark was like quicksand.  When you opened the pages of the book it sucked you in, further and further, until you were all in…nothing was going to pull you out.  Johnstone steers you in each direction, a myriad of compulsive, addictive stories.  He’s the crazy driver but you got in his car willingly.  You’re in for the long haul, there is no getting out.   The backdrop was spot on, a true portrayal of Edinburgh.  From the weather to the culture, each character sees their city differently.  Their experiences aren’t the same.  It really breathes a dark and foreboding element into its pages…fear lurking within. 

Into The Dark is hypnotically readable.  It was intense and surreal with a sense of creeping dread pouring from its spines. 


20200706 124701 01 - Review:  Into The Dark by Stuart Johnstone

Not too long ago… Stuart was a cop.

Stuart has been writing stories for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until he left behind his career in the police that he began working on novels.

He brings with him a stark authenticity to his Don Colyear crime series.

“The stories and characters I collected in that time have undoubtedly shaped my writing.”

Out in the Cold, the first of the series, is available November 2020.

Stuart has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.


four stars - Review:  Into The Dark by Stuart Johnstone


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