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The Crack Magazine


This Little Dark Place

A. S. Hatch, Serpents Tail

This debut novel is told in the form of an extended letter, which has been written by Daniel from a place of incarceration. He tells Lucy – we don’t find out who she is until the end – that he’s sure she has read a lot of reports about his case, but much of it is sensationalist, and he is keen to put over his side of the story. We discover how Daniel met and fell in love with Victoria on Christmas Eve. They get a place together but cracks begin to form in their relationship when she cannot get pregnant. As Victoria follows increasingly crackpot ideas about how to conceive, which she finds on the Internet (wear the colour orange; don’t hang around dying old people), Daniel finds solace writing to Ruby, a prisoner he “meets” via a pen pal programme. The pair open up to each other but when Ruby is released things begin to go awry. The author didn’t fully sell me some of his narrative twists but this is still a pretty neat and original psychological thriller that I polished off in two sessions.