ARC REVIEW: After Dark by Jayne Cowie

Title: After Dark by Jayne Cowie
Pages: 
416
Published by: 
Penguin 
Publication date: 
12th May 2022
Genre: Thriller
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones

Synopsis:

WELCOME TO A WORLD WHERE WOMEN HOLD THE POWER.

They dominate workplaces, public spaces and government.

They are no longer afraid to cross a dark car park, catch the last train, or walk home alone.

With the Curfew law in place, all men are electronically tagged and must stay at home after 7pm.

It changed things for the better. Until now.

A woman is murdered late at night and evidence suggests she knew her attacker.

It couldn’t have been a man because a Curfew tag is a solid alibi… Isn’t it?

My review:

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book to review!

After Dark is a very gripping and unputdownable book that offers a view into a world where women hold all the power. 

Under the Curfew law, men are electronically tagged and are not allowed to leave their homes between the hours of 7pm and 7am. It changed things for the better until a woman is murdered late at night and has male DNA on her body. The police must investigate whether she was murdered by a man and how he was able to bypass the Curfew. 

The story follows four women: Pamela, a police officer on the verge of retirement; Sarah, who is a tagger and reported her ex-husband to the police for breaking Curfew; her daughter, Cass, who strongly believes Curfew is wrong; and Helen, who is on the verge of starting a family with her boyfriend and ignores advice that they’re not a compatible couple. 

I found this to be a very thought-provoking read as I had so many questions about the Curfew law and how it worked. I thought some things worked really well and would probably be good to have in real life too, like the Motherhouse, which is a home for women only. I liked the idea of having a place where you felt safe and could almost have a family with other women. The Motherhouse is where Sarah and her daughter live so it was good to have an inside view of what it was like. 

I did like Sarah’s chapters and found her situation quite interesting. She’s trying to protect herself and her daughter, but Cass only ever finds her mother at fault so they have a rather difficult relationship. Sarah supports Curfew and even went as far as getting a job as a tagger, which involves checking tags and even tagging boys as young as ten. I’d have liked to have been given the reasoning behind tagging ten-year-olds as I thought that was quite a young age to have to follow Curfew. There’s so many things I was considering while I was reading this and it would definitely be interesting having a debate about it with someone. 

While I did like having the perspective of a woman who doesn’t believe in the Curfew and defends men’s violent behaviour, I found Cass to be a very immature character at times and I was surprised to find out that she was eighteen as she acted much younger. Her argument against Curfew was mainly because she missed her dad and was angry at her mother for reporting him. I liked when she was debating the Curfew with her teacher and classmates but I think she could have been more open-minded as to why some people supported it. However, I did agree that it was unfair to place restrictions on all men. It didn’t escape my notice that the men we follow in this story were all quite nasty. I found myself wondering where all the decent men were as they can’t all be violent against women.

Pamela’s chapters were probably my favourite as she’s the only police officer left who remembers what it was like before Curfew. All the new recruits refuse to consider that a man was able to break Curfew. While Pamela knows the law can be broken, the other officers consider it to be a rock hard alibi. I appreciated how Pamela refused to be silenced and carried on investigating whether a man could have broken Curfew.  

After Dark is an absolutely fascinating read that will keep you up all night and stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Jayne Cowie is definitely an author to watch for. 

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