- Author: Rob Sinclair
- Published: November 2016 by Bloodhound Books
- Category: Psychological Thriller
Outwardly, Ben Stephens appears to be a normal, hard-working family man. In reality, his life has been in turmoil since the murder of his wife, Alice, seven years ago. The killer was never caught.
Dark Fragments is a fast-paced thriller with a blend of mystery, suspense and action that will appeal to readers of psychological thrillers, as well as a broad section of crime, thriller and action fans.
Ben Stephens’ life has never been the same since he discovered his wife’s body in their bed, although he has subsequently remarried to Gemma, the woman he was having an affair with during his marriage to Alice. Ben works, under sufferance on both sides, for his wife’s father but his career has taken a downturn as well as his marriage to Gemma, and to top it all off he’s involved in a ‘business venture’ with a well known, very dangerous criminal and is in serious debt. Ben visits Alice’s grave regularly and when he’s followed there on one occasion, and his family threatened he desperately considers his options.
Ever since they were children Ben has felt second best to his successful and now estranged twin, Dani, a police detective who was Alice’s best friend. When Dani visits out of the blue with too many uncomfortable questions for Ben, events unfold dramatically and Ben has decisions to make. Whether or not he makes the right ones only time will tell.
That gloomy feeling was further cemented when I saw the black Range Rover pulled up outside the park gates. As we approached, its engine thundered to life. By that point I could feel my heart heaving in my chest.
They wouldn’t have come here, would they? When I’m with my kids?
A mixture of fear and disgust filled me. I stared at the blackened windows, unable to see anything of who sat inside – although I knew full well to whom the car belonged.
The fast paced story is narrated by Ben, so his viewpoint is biased. The chapters are short and sharp, interspersed with sections where Ben is speaking with someone, giving the impression of a psychiatrist or therapist, about his life, dissecting his behaviour and the self-imposed and very dubious events which culminate in his current circumstances.
Initially I felt sympathy for Ben, with the tragedy he suffered and the situation he was in, but as the story progresses his behaviour escalates in a terrifying way, becoming more and more erratic as his rage and weakness control his actions and bounce him from one dire situation to another. His attitude is superior and seemingly without any sense of culpability, blaming everything and everybody but himself for his troubles and expecting support from those around him regardless. His desire for retribution for supposed wrongs fuels his egocentric tendencies. I have to say, sympathy didn’t last very long and I found myself becoming more shocked and disbelieving.
‘Yes I regret how my life has turned out. But no, I don’t regret all of the things I’ve done. They were … necessary.’
Ben’s disturbing and volatile character is portrayed extremely well….his only redeeming feature is his love for his children. The plot is full of twists and turns and I would never have guessed that ending!
Reviewed for Rosie Amber’s book review team and based on an advanced reader copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Rob Sinclair
Rob’s first novel, Dance with the Enemy, was published in June 2014 and is the first in the Enemy Series following embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan. Rise of the Enemy, the second book in the series, was released in April 2015, with the third book, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.
Rob’s latest novel, the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments, released by Bloodhound Books in November 2016, has been described as ‘clever’ and ‘chilling’ and an ‘expertly crafted’ story.
Rob worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. He now writes full time.
Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.