REVIEW: Dark Ink by Gary Kemble (Harry Hendrick #2)

Dark InkTitle: Dark Ink by Gary Kemble
Pages: 320
Published by: Titan Books
Publication date: 8th October 2019
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones

Synopsis:

Investigating sordid political corruption, journalist Harry Hendrick grows uneasy when he hears rumours of a chilling figure behind it. Mistress Hel plies her dark arts from a luxurious suburban lair, motivated be a desire for revenge from a past marred by terrible wrongs.

Harry hears of demonic visions, of people under a supernatural thrall, and is slowly drawn into her web. Inside are diabolical ceremonies and visions that threaten both his sanity and his life; something black and infernal reaching out into the world…

My review:

Dark Ink is a chilling and gripping story with corruption right at the heart of it. Filled with dark magic and sordid pasts, it’s the perfect book to pick up for Halloween.

Following the events that happened in Strange Ink, Harry Hendrick is keen to forget the past and is working as a freelance journalist but the bills are stacking up and he’s waiting for his next big story. Unfortunately for Harry his next big story might just be as gruesome as his last. Harry is approached by Queensland Police to unofficially investigate a string of horrific deaths where the same letter turns up at every crime scene: “I have sinned. I give my life for the Goddess.” But while he is investigating he ends up tangled in the same web and is drawn into Mistress Hel’s lair. The stakes are much higher this time round and it really is a race against the clock. The tension really ramps up towards the end and a lot of dark and buried secrets are uncovered.

I really enjoyed being back in this world and seeing how Harry was coping in the aftermath of Strange Ink. He is a really likeable character but he’s also incredibly flawed, vulnerable and is still recovering from the events of Strange Ink so I’m not surprised that he acts like a bit of an idiot in this book. Whilst investigating a potential story, he becomes ensnared in Mistress Hel’s web and becomes completely entranced; an obsession with her immediately begins and he seems to lose sight of everything else. It was interesting seeing him fall so completely and utterly under her spell but also seeming to fight it as well. There’s moments when he becomes lucid and realises he needs to break free but then he falls right back under and nearly ends up destroying his career in a desperate attempt to please her.

I was really intrigued by Mistress Hel and thought she was an awesome villain. She seemed to easily take control of others and treated men like they were puppets. However, Mistress Hel has a very tragic past and as a result is a very damaged character. Even though she was prepared to kill hundreds of innocent people, I felt sorry for her and what she had been through. She’s motivated by revenge and wants to hurt those who hurt her. Sadly I felt this part of her was glossed over and pushed to the side in favour of the Goddess who she serves. I would have liked more focus on her tragic past and justice for how much she and others suffered.

An aspect I really liked about Strange Ink was how corrupt the people in power were and how they would stop at nothing to ensure they got their way. It was very satisfying seeing Harry take these people down and I was pleased to see that this theme continues in Dark Ink. However, I was disappointed that it wasn’t the focal point of the story this time, especially after Harry uncovered Mistress Hel’s tragic past. I felt the horrible secrets Harry uncovered was pushed to the background and forgotten about. It would have been better if there was more focus on the corrupt people being brought down and justice being delivered.

I remember the ending of Strange Ink being absolutely shocking and the ending of Dark Ink was very much the same. Mistress Hel is ready to unleash the Goddess and Harry has to do everything he can to stop her. The stakes are incredibly high and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. If you’re looking for a dark and twisted story to sink your teeth into for Halloween, this is the one.

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