Title: After Dark
Author: Jayne Cowie
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?
After Dark is a book I am struggling to review, because it ignited so many feelings in me and I don’t know how to effectively sum this book up! One thing that’s easy to state, though, is that I was completely hooked from start to finish.
The novel is dark, focusing on the investigation of a crime (the type of novel I love!) set in a dystopian Britain where men are under curfew at night. Not only that, but they have to wear electronic tags around their ankles which alerts the authorities if they break the curfew. As a result, they’re no longer able to work in careers like policing, where they’d need to be out of the house overnight. It’s all in a bid to stop spiralling levels of violence against women – something that is all too familiar to us in the present day, sadly.
We encounter several different characters in After Dark – there’s Pamela, a police officer investigating the murder of a young woman, whose body was found at nighttime. Pamela doesn’t believe that all men should be ruled out of committing the crime, just because they in theory shouldn’t be able to leave the house undetected.
Then there’s Sarah, who works at a tagging centre and whose teenage daughter Cass holds a lot of resentment for her mother as she believes she is to blame for her father being in prison.
And Helen, a teacher who is determined to move in with her new boyfriend, despite warnings from others about him.
I loved the way this novel reveals twists and surprises along the way, and we find out some of these characters are more connected than we first thought. I thought After Dark was incredibly intelligent and interesting. The political side of the police’s investigation is also an interesting one. The author does a fantastic job of making you consider whether curfew is actually a good thing – despite the fact that it has reduced male violence against women HUGELY. Is it really fair to tag and restrict half of the population from the age of 10 because of the actions of a few awful people?
It’s surprisingly easy to read – I raced through it in no time (partly because I just could not put it down!) and loved the characterisation.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll finish by saying that if you enjoy intriguing, thought-provoking mysteries that really make you think ‘what if?, and you’re a fan of crime fiction with a twist, then this is (in my opinion) the perfect novel for you!
My rating: 5/5
Many thanks to Penguin for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.
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