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Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight - only for her to find she doesn't want it. Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight - only for her to find she doesn't want it. Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights on Maria, and is leaving her messages in the most gruesome of ways.


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Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight - only for her to find she doesn't want it. Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight - only for her to find she doesn't want it. Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights on Maria, and is leaving her messages in the most gruesome of ways.

30 review for Jonathan Dark or The Evidence Of Ghosts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I absolutely loved the first novel by A.K. Benedict, “The Beauty of Murder,” and so I was delighted to read this second book. They do say that second novels are difficult things to get right and I did find this a little over complicated in terms of plot and with a mix of mystery and fantasy, which did not always blend together well. When Maria King finds she is being stalked, D.I. Jonathan Dark is sent to investigate. He believes the stalker is the same man who killed another woman recently and i I absolutely loved the first novel by A.K. Benedict, “The Beauty of Murder,” and so I was delighted to read this second book. They do say that second novels are difficult things to get right and I did find this a little over complicated in terms of plot and with a mix of mystery and fantasy, which did not always blend together well. When Maria King finds she is being stalked, D.I. Jonathan Dark is sent to investigate. He believes the stalker is the same man who killed another woman recently and is feeling guilty about not saving her and also suffering marital problems. Add to that the fact that Maria King was previously blind, has had her sight restored, but prefers to use a blindfold, and you already have a great deal going on before you have even really entered the story properly. Throw into the mix a funeral director who sees ghosts and a criminal organisation called The Ring and you have what ends up being a rather confusing novel. I would say this is much more a fantasy novel than a crime novel and there were certainly parts of the book which I loved. I adored the descriptions of London and, although I found Maria King a rather annoying character, I did believe in Jonathan Dark and really liked Frank the undertaker and the ghosts who populated his life. Jonathan is haunted by his failures, as well as by real ghosts and, when he discovers this world that he knew nothing about, he must try to use it to save Maria’s life. I did feel the whole storyline about the criminal organisation worked less well and there were times when I really did have to re-read parts of the book to try to get straight what was going on. Although I was left a little perplexed by this, it was beautifully written, with dark humour and a great sense of place. London was virtually a character itself, with Maria King and her delight in finding treasures along the Thames and Jonathan’s liking of shadowy side roads, which mirror his own secretive self. Overall, though, there was just too much happening all at once and a confusing array of storylines intersecting. I would like to see Jonathan Dark in a sequel to this, as I do feel the characters have promise and could easily go on in a series. I am sure the author has a lot more to offer and, although I did not love this novel, there were things about it I really did enjoy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Bolton

    Maria has a stalker. Maria’s stalker killed his last victim, meaning Maria is in danger. DI Jonathan Dark and his team are trying to find him before he can kill again. Maria is blind. Well, actually she isn’t. Blind since birth, she recently had a sight restoring operation, but can’t cope with what she sees being so different to what she previously imagined. So Maria wears a blindfold, feeling and hearing and smelling her way around London. Maria is also a mud-lark. Every day at low tide, she co Maria has a stalker. Maria’s stalker killed his last victim, meaning Maria is in danger. DI Jonathan Dark and his team are trying to find him before he can kill again. Maria is blind. Well, actually she isn’t. Blind since birth, she recently had a sight restoring operation, but can’t cope with what she sees being so different to what she previously imagined. So Maria wears a blindfold, feeling and hearing and smelling her way around London. Maria is also a mud-lark. Every day at low tide, she combs the beaches of the Thames looking for archeological treasures. Fiercely independent, she pushes back against the efforts of police, colleagues and friends to keep her safe. Meanwhile, a hugely powerful organized crime mob, The Ring, has its grip on London’s hierarchy, spreading its dark tentacles across every aspect of capital life. Oh, and there are ghosts. Everywhere. Some people can see them, some cannot. Some are sweet, some are seriously disturbed. Some are downright terrifying. And did I mention that Jonathon is a cross dresser? This is an absolutely glorious crime/fantasy/ghost-story mash up. In a seriously crowded genre, AK Benedict has produced something original, quirky and enormous fun. After years of researching the Lacey Flint books, I thought I knew the underground, alternative side of London very well, but this book taught me so much. Beautifully written, darkly funny and constantly surprising, this is probably my find of the year so far.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I really wanted to like this book. The blurb is excellent and if the story had actually followed this premise, it may have worked out. And yes, it starts well. It's different and you hope this author is offering something new. However, it's just so disjointed that it's practically unreadable. You know that feeling when you walk into a room and pause...because you've completely forgotten why you went in there? That's what every scene in the book feels like. What is this doing here? How is this rel I really wanted to like this book. The blurb is excellent and if the story had actually followed this premise, it may have worked out. And yes, it starts well. It's different and you hope this author is offering something new. However, it's just so disjointed that it's practically unreadable. You know that feeling when you walk into a room and pause...because you've completely forgotten why you went in there? That's what every scene in the book feels like. What is this doing here? How is this relevant? Why should I care? Suffice it to say, it wasn't for me. It's a shame because I can still see something in the underlying ideas. Thank you to A. K Benedict, Orion, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    I’m a little in love with this book. It is something different, and not so much about the surface of it but oh so much about the many layers underneath, thought provoking, haunting (sometimes literally) and full of descriptive authenticity that shines from every page. Jonathan Dark is a police detective with a difference who is determined to save Maria from a stalker who has killed before. Maria has regained her sight but finds she does not wish to use it – meanwhile another London is hidden just I’m a little in love with this book. It is something different, and not so much about the surface of it but oh so much about the many layers underneath, thought provoking, haunting (sometimes literally) and full of descriptive authenticity that shines from every page. Jonathan Dark is a police detective with a difference who is determined to save Maria from a stalker who has killed before. Maria has regained her sight but finds she does not wish to use it – meanwhile another London is hidden just beneath the bright lights and both of them come to know it.. Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is a remarkable read in a lot of ways, a definite page turner but also often gently lulling you along – like the river running through it, the narrative bends first one way then another, taking you on a dark yet often humerous journey, focused on the senses and the writing is really quite beautiful. Add to that a bit of a rip roarer of a plot that is highly engaging and works its way up to a frantic chase to the finish, some really strangely wonderful and eclectic characters and a genuinely intriguing and atmospheric styling and you have a really marvellous read. I was a fan of The Beauty of Murder, this authors first novel – with Jonathan Dark she has continued that gorgeous speculative storytelling and created a wonderful new mythology – hopefully one that we will learn more about in future novels. Yep I’m definitely a little in love with this book. Highly Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Fenton

    I downloaded this book after meeting AK Benedict at Harrogate Crime Festival last year and it’s sat patiently on my kindle waiting for me to read it. Having read several psychological thrillers in a row I decided it was time to read something different. What I didn’t expect was just how “different” Jonathan Dark would be. I think I would be quite safe in saying this book covers most genres; crime, police procedural, supernatural, fantasy and paranormal. This is definitely NOT a standard crime boo I downloaded this book after meeting AK Benedict at Harrogate Crime Festival last year and it’s sat patiently on my kindle waiting for me to read it. Having read several psychological thrillers in a row I decided it was time to read something different. What I didn’t expect was just how “different” Jonathan Dark would be. I think I would be quite safe in saying this book covers most genres; crime, police procedural, supernatural, fantasy and paranormal. This is definitely NOT a standard crime book. It’s more of an intricate descriptive journey in and around London featuring ghosts, a DCI with several personal issues, a stalker with a killer obsession, a blind woman who isn’t actually blind, ghosts, a secret and highly powerful organised crime syndicate, ghosts, a dedicated police team determined to catch the killer and more ghosts. (I think I may have mentioned there are quite a few ghosts in this story). It’s quite usual to read a police procedural book where the main character has a troubled backstory, but NOTHING will prepare you for Jonathan Dark. He is perhaps the most troubled and slightly disturbed protagonist I’ve met. As much as you want him to solve the crime, catch the serial killer and find happiness, you also feel he needs therapy NOW. Personally, I loved the combination of ghosts, serial killers, a damaged detective and the wonderful descriptive and atmospheric description of London. If you are looking for something different – try this.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts is a delightfully surprising, supernatural read. It is a little bit different, combining a murder mystery with a ghostly element. The story takes us to present day London and we meet Jonathan Dark. Dark is a police officer in the Met, with a dreadfully sad personal life and a few secrets. He is hunting a stalker, who has developed an obsession with a young blind woman Maria. Maria is complex and hard to make sense of at times. She was blind and thanks to an Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts is a delightfully surprising, supernatural read. It is a little bit different, combining a murder mystery with a ghostly element. The story takes us to present day London and we meet Jonathan Dark. Dark is a police officer in the Met, with a dreadfully sad personal life and a few secrets. He is hunting a stalker, who has developed an obsession with a young blind woman Maria. Maria is complex and hard to make sense of at times. She was blind and thanks to an operation is sighted. Maria does not want to see the world and is continuing her life unsighted. A creepy stalker is following her every move and leaving Braille messages. Can Dark save her, before events take a nasty turn? Will Maria find out who her stalker is? And how does it all link to ghosts and an underworld crime club? This is a book about ghosts, but they are secondary to the stalker/murder investigation. A K Benedict creates a rather fun modern day world complete with a collection of ghosts. They walk amongst us, mostly unseen and just do their thing. A few people see them and can communicate with them. You do not need to believe in ghosts to be utterly enchanted with this world. Added to that is the lovely Jonathan Dark, a man determined to protect the very independent Maria, from a stalker with deadly intent. Dark and Maria are such strong characters. Dark is the sort of man you want on your side, but at the same time you are drawn to give him a hug. I feel we have just scratched the surface of his character and his abilities. As for Maria, I really tried to empathise with her and to like her. I could understand her reluctance to see the world in all its glory, but I was willing her to take off that blindfold. I was practically shouting at her to just embrace sight. I did love seeing London, through the rather unusual perspective of Maria. I cannot imagine what it is like not to see a big busy chaotic city or negotiate it, without tripping up everywhere. I really had fun reading Jonathan Dark and entering into the imagination of A K Benedict. Please can we have more Dark? I think he has so much potential as a character. This book is absolutely recommended, if you fancy a quirky supernatural crime read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Babs

    This book starts promisingly. Maria King is blind, but has a stalker who has killed before. DI Dark takes up the case, determined that Maria will not suffer the same fate as the previous victim. So far, so good. However there is a LOT going on in this book. Maria is blind, but has recently had an operation to enable her to see; yet she still wears a blindfold. A confusing detail which I don't think added anything to the story. There's also a side-story about cross-dressing, which was equally conf This book starts promisingly. Maria King is blind, but has a stalker who has killed before. DI Dark takes up the case, determined that Maria will not suffer the same fate as the previous victim. So far, so good. However there is a LOT going on in this book. Maria is blind, but has recently had an operation to enable her to see; yet she still wears a blindfold. A confusing detail which I don't think added anything to the story. There's also a side-story about cross-dressing, which was equally confusing. There's the secretive sect that controls London, made up of some of the city's most powerful people; and then there's the whole sub-story of ghosts and unknown spectres that suck the energy from ghosts. This is told along-side the story of a funeral director, his recently deceased wife, his murdered colleague that ran a crematorium and a jewellery shop that makes diamonds from deceased people's "cremains". What starts off as a promising "whodunnit" with an intriguing protagonist, quickly descends into a confusing story with far too many elements. The whole ghost-side of the novel could have been left out without any detrimental effects. Unfortunately the inclusion of the supernatural side of things invites natural comparisons to Ben Aaronovitch's "Peter Grant" series of books which merges the murder-mystery / whodunnit / ghost-hunting genres a whole lot more successfully. The book is also over-written in parts with constant and annoying use of analogy. E.G "... There's a hint of irony in his answer, only slightly, but discernible, like the colour of milk with a drop of blood in it ..." (loc. 918) or "... Separation from Barbara would rip Frank up, like a prayer book in the hands of an atheist ..." (Why?! Because an atheist couldn't possibly respect someone else's property?! loc. 2401). These are only two of many examples I could have chosen. I do thank Netgalley and Orion for the opportunity to read this book. Unfortunately it wasn't for me.   This review was originally posted on Babs' Bookshelf

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allie Riley

    Wow. I absolutely loved this multi-layered and adroitly plotted book. Great characters and it kept me guessing almost to the end. Creepier by far than the ghosts was the stalker. The passages where his thoughts were voiced were downright disturbing. I am hoping that this is part of a series because I would love to see more of Jonathan Dark.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Trelawn

    This is a tough book to review. Let's start with the positives. It has a strong premise; that ghosts wander freely throughout London alongside everyone else with some people able to see and even interact with them. I have always enjoyed the "other" London theme. I'm thinking of the Peter Grant series and Shadow Police. And this book is similar in that it follows a member of the Met, DI Dark, as he investigate a stalker who has killed before. The characters are strong and the premise good so now This is a tough book to review. Let's start with the positives. It has a strong premise; that ghosts wander freely throughout London alongside everyone else with some people able to see and even interact with them. I have always enjoyed the "other" London theme. I'm thinking of the Peter Grant series and Shadow Police. And this book is similar in that it follows a member of the Met, DI Dark, as he investigate a stalker who has killed before. The characters are strong and the premise good so now to the weak points. The plot just doesn't stand up to the amount of things the author is trying to hang onto it; ghosts, on going police investigation, protagonist with personal issues and victim with issues of her own. I can see where Benedict is trying to go with this but she is not entirely successful. That said, by the end you can see that the story is being set up for a sequel and I would be interested to see how she develops this spectral London and the character of DI Dark. This is not a bad book is just felt in parts like the author was in such a rush to get where she was going that she sacrificed the proper development of some threads.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Two Envelopes and a Phone

    Not perfect, but a pleasure. Maybe a bit matter-of-fact or quick, at times, in dealing with its supernatural elements - but this does give a Fantasy novel a certain charm - “you aren’t shocked all this weird stuff is normal to some, are you?”. It’s not just Fantasy - it’s Dark Fantasy, I guess Urban Fantasy, call it Horror - ghosts, and a stalker with a serial-killer side hustle - call it Horror/Mystery hybridization. The horrid culprit lurking in this novel is a weak spot in the book, but it’s f Not perfect, but a pleasure. Maybe a bit matter-of-fact or quick, at times, in dealing with its supernatural elements - but this does give a Fantasy novel a certain charm - “you aren’t shocked all this weird stuff is normal to some, are you?”. It’s not just Fantasy - it’s Dark Fantasy, I guess Urban Fantasy, call it Horror - ghosts, and a stalker with a serial-killer side hustle - call it Horror/Mystery hybridization. The horrid culprit lurking in this novel is a weak spot in the book, but it’s fun trying to figure out if this somewhat two-dimensional creepo is someone we’ve already met, and if so, who? (I did okay; I saw the truth before reveal-page...but late in the proceedings.) If our corporeal creep is two-dimensional, the fourth-dimensional stuff in this book helps make up for it. I had just come from a Ramsey Campbell novel, and took a risk going to Jonathan Dark right after - similarities in style (though Benedict remained a tad user-friendlier; I love Campbell’s cactus-on-my-brain prickly effect, but not full-on, two books in a row) had me majorly regretful, at first. But this book then began to distance itself from The Overnight’s plot, and claustrophobia - though the hard-to-spot ghostly evil crawlies of Campbell did remind me of the nastier spectres featured in Benedict’s book, the Whisperers. “Are these the same soul-sapping slimers?! Didn’t I just leave this fiend-fest!?”. Far from ruining things, it was actually sick fun feeling like the same little horribles had followed from one book to the next. Besides Ramsey Campbell’s particular chill set, Jonathan Dark also flashed me back to Tim Powers, and even Tea With The Black Dragon. In the end, though Benedict’s novel sells itself, and succeeds in its own distinct way. I could feel a unique experience coming on, even in the early chapters. Part of this is accomplished via Finnegan’s opening exploits, but also due to Maria’s insistence on wearing a blindfold, despite starting the book as a character who has recently gained her sight. Resuming a lifetime of blindness, out of fear of losing what she got from it. Plus ghosts and her stalker. Creepy book. Precipice-level enjoyment.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie_la_geek

    Sadly I had to DNF this one. I wish I could have struggled through but I have so much to read and I just couldn't get through this. The truth is this is not a bad book. I didn't hate it I just couldn't get into it. The plot was just too confused. I like it when authors mix genres and attempt something new so I give A.K. Benedict great respect for that. But the murder mystery/paranormal ghost story mix just didn't work for me. It was muddled, jumpy and lacked flow. Also, I wasn't a fan of the char Sadly I had to DNF this one. I wish I could have struggled through but I have so much to read and I just couldn't get through this. The truth is this is not a bad book. I didn't hate it I just couldn't get into it. The plot was just too confused. I like it when authors mix genres and attempt something new so I give A.K. Benedict great respect for that. But the murder mystery/paranormal ghost story mix just didn't work for me. It was muddled, jumpy and lacked flow. Also, I wasn't a fan of the characters. They could have been interesting but I just couldn't get on with them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Edward Cox

    Maria is blind. She sees London in a different way to most. For her, the city is a collage of sounds and scents and feelings. Jonathan Dark is a policeman. For him, London is a dangerous and shadowy place, far stranger than most would believe. Maria has a stalker. The stalker says he loves her, but the last time he told someone that the object of his affection wound up as the star of an unsolved murder case. Jonathan's unsolved murder case. Maria has seven days reciprocate the stalker's feelings Maria is blind. She sees London in a different way to most. For her, the city is a collage of sounds and scents and feelings. Jonathan Dark is a policeman. For him, London is a dangerous and shadowy place, far stranger than most would believe. Maria has a stalker. The stalker says he loves her, but the last time he told someone that the object of his affection wound up as the star of an unsolved murder case. Jonathan's unsolved murder case. Maria has seven days reciprocate the stalker's feelings or suffer the consequences. Jonathan has seven days to catch a murderer who is exceedingly good at covering his tracks. London is a big place, nothing is as it seems, and the dead are restless... JONATHAN DARK or THE EVIDENCE OF GHOSTS is one of those books that crawls under your skin from the very first page. Part crime drama, part ghost tale, part gothic love story - A. K. Benedict's spade stabs deep into the human condition and digs up the very best and worst that people have to offer. There is an itchy creepiness to the plot as it spirals down into places where everyone is a suspect, where no one can be trusted. I have to admit that, on more than one occasion, I thought I'd solved the crime in this book, but Benedict is a sneaky writer who knows how to dangle red herrings and deliver a well-timed sucker punch or two. JONATHAN DARK or THE EVIDENCE OF GHOSTS is an engrossing story of mystery and danger, love and loss, life and death, but at its heart it's a tale of people and the complicated nature of existence. It is so much more than your average police procedural, and you really need to add it to your reading list. This one is not to be missed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I kept hoping this book would get better, there were some glimmers along the way that it might, hence me actually finishing it, but it left me feeling I'd wasted time reading it. It seemed to be a mash of two books, police case, and ghost stories, which didn't link together particularly well...and whilst I was figuring that out, in came cross dressing references, for no valid reason to the plot. Could have been so much better. I kept hoping this book would get better, there were some glimmers along the way that it might, hence me actually finishing it, but it left me feeling I'd wasted time reading it. It seemed to be a mash of two books, police case, and ghost stories, which didn't link together particularly well...and whilst I was figuring that out, in came cross dressing references, for no valid reason to the plot. Could have been so much better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Harris

    I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley. Even if the book hadn't totally won me over within a few pages, i'd love it for the final words: "he can't get away. Death has no sequel." I hope that unlike Death, this DOES have a sequel, because Jonathan Dark is an intriguing and complex character and I'd like to learn more about him - and about some of the others. Blending a skilfully realised detective plot with a background of ghosts and hauntings, Benedict gives I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley. Even if the book hadn't totally won me over within a few pages, i'd love it for the final words: "he can't get away. Death has no sequel." I hope that unlike Death, this DOES have a sequel, because Jonathan Dark is an intriguing and complex character and I'd like to learn more about him - and about some of the others. Blending a skilfully realised detective plot with a background of ghosts and hauntings, Benedict gives new life (pun intended) to the "weird London" genre. Dark is a burned out detective, eaten away by his wife's infidelity, sleeping on the office floor, and throwing himself into work - tracking down a stalker and potential serial killer - to drown the pain. But he's not a stereotypical gritty copper: he has startling secrets and an intriguing family background. The other character who I fell for is Marie, who has a cool job - she's a professional mudlarker (imagine being paid to grub around the London tideline, scooping up the detritus of 2000 years) and a stubborn sense of herself: blind, she had surgery to gain sight but then decided to remain blindfolded anyway rather than lose the London, the world, that she had. There's a wonderfully described scene where Maria takes Jonathan round Spitalfields Market with his eyes covered, experiencing a new world of smell, sound and heightened awareness. (Indeed, this sense of place - not just of London in general but of specific locations - is one of the book's great strengths. Everyone and everything is tagged, precisely nailed down, whether it's the girl who "has been serving burgers to clubber and lattes to lovers all night"; the empty taxis that won't stop (because they have ghost passengers); the crane that looks like a "waiting gibbet" of the London skyline "turning into a Seventies kitchen" - the Cheese-grater, the Gherkin; or the observation that "there is always an Apple in a coffee shop -it's one of the rules"). There's also Marie's dog, Billy. No-one could fail to love Billy, surely? Unfortunately, Marie is suffering the attentions of a particularly unpleasant stalker. In the background is a shadowy, murderous cabal which looks after its own, complicating the investigation - as does the presence of ghosts, who have their own very definite ideas of justice. And even the ghosts are vulnerable, to a most unpleasant thing called the Whisperer which feeds on them in the night. But when ghosts aren't enough to nourish it, might it turn on the living instead? I felt that Benedict was taking something of a risk in combining the police procedural with the supernatural in the way she does. It's not that this is the first time it's been done - authors like Ben Aaronovitch, Sarah Pinborough and Paul Cornell have worked with the same combination - but in this book the two aspects feel, I don't know, so pure in themselves, such good examples of those genres that a crime mad reader or an urban fantasy fan might pick this up, scan a couple of pages, and assume it's straight genre (reading different pages of course). Will they then feel cheated when they realise what's actually going on? I don't think so. The combination works. The crime parts never become too Silent Witness: the fantasy never goes completely over the top. Even the ghosts are very grounded - some of them have jobs, travel on the Tube or buy and sell in a parallel version of that same Smithfield market. So - I think this is a brilliant mash-up, genuinely original and entertaining on every page. That's not to say the book is perfect. I wasn't wholly convinced by the behaviour of Tanya, for example, and there are one or two liberties taken with the Underground (I don't think there are any convenient emergency handles to open the doors of a halted train). But those are really slight things, far outweighed by the brilliant writing, the characters and the skill with which the central concept is explored.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leonie Hinch

    Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is exactly what it says on the tin. Two different sorts of stories running concurrently and eventually meeting at the end.  Jonathan Dark is a detective with London's met investigating a stalker who has already killed and is now hunting a new victim. Maria the Stalkee is a mud lark (someone who hunts for artefacts in the mud around the Thames river). Maria is more at risk than the last Stalkee though as she is blind. Or rather she was blind, had an operatio Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is exactly what it says on the tin. Two different sorts of stories running concurrently and eventually meeting at the end.  Jonathan Dark is a detective with London's met investigating a stalker who has already killed and is now hunting a new victim. Maria the Stalkee is a mud lark (someone who hunts for artefacts in the mud around the Thames river). Maria is more at risk than the last Stalkee though as she is blind. Or rather she was blind, had an operation to regain her sight and decided she didn't like it so she now wears a blindfold in order to live as if she still didn't have her sight.  So I'll deal with this half of the story first. The characters of Jonathan and Maria are both strong leading personalities. Maria serves to antagonise and frustrate the reader with her refusal to remove the blindfold and see even when she is in grave danger. Although her bravery is admired by the police, the reader cannot help but feel like they want to rip the blindfold from her face and make her look after herself. The ability to create characters which evoke such emotion is always one I admire in a writer. Jonathan is a character the reader can Pity, his wife has left him for reasons unknown until further into the book which I won't spoil! He's also recently lost a colleague and friend and is haunted by nightmares and whispers as he sleeps.  The other part of the story features around a mysterious criminal organisation known only as The Ring. Associated with some of the big names in politics, business and celebrity it's hard to trust anybody in the book because neither you (the reader) nor the main characters know who is involved. Frank is a funeral director who can see ghosts, he finds out about The Ring when an associate dies and comes to him as a ghost to enlist his help in getting revenge on his murders. It is not obvious at first how the two stories link and admittedly it can become a bit confusing at times as the narrative juxtaposes between the two storylines quite rapidly. Persevere though as it does all start coming together eventually. Overall I found the book really interesting. I liked the different storylines and the twists that involving ghosts in what is essentially a detective story brought on. I also liked the elements of social acceptance which came with the different characters. I felt it gave off a feeling that not all is what it seems and that people have their own reasons for doing things. I don't feel as some reviewers did that these elements took away from the story but more that they strengthened it with a back story which was interesting and in parts heart breaking. If I had one criticism it would be to say that at times I felt there were just a few two many similes. Really fantastic enviable similes admittedly but I don't think as many were needed as were included. That small point did not ruin the book for me though as overall I really enjoyed it and towards the end I found I couldn't put it down.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Booniss

    Brilliantly creepy and wonderfully written story about detective inspector Jonathan Dark and his coming to terms with both the existence of ghosts and his own nature as he tries to protect blind mudlark Maria from a stalker.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    'London is ghost-locked,' Frank says. 'Every corner, alleyway, highway, high-rise, gym, café, canal, library or house is haunted in some way. Every window has a ghost looking out. Part of you sees, and it is this part which is screaming at all times inside... Cities are difficult when you're in denial of ghosts. It is an unconscious stress to the body and mind. London is at once an old city heaving with history's spirits and a powerful, steely centre that attracts the young and driven. Its inhab 'London is ghost-locked,' Frank says. 'Every corner, alleyway, highway, high-rise, gym, café, canal, library or house is haunted in some way. Every window has a ghost looking out. Part of you sees, and it is this part which is screaming at all times inside... Cities are difficult when you're in denial of ghosts. It is an unconscious stress to the body and mind. London is at once an old city heaving with history's spirits and a powerful, steely centre that attracts the young and driven. Its inhabitants breathe in ghost motes every day. Some thrive ...' [loc. 168] Maria King is mudlarking when she receives an unpleasant and unwanted proposal of marriage. Due to the nature of the proposal, the police are called, and Maria is informed that she may be the latest victim of a serial stalker who has killed at least one other woman. Her peril is magnified by the fact that she wears a blindfold at all times: blind from birth, she recently had an operation to restore her sight, but is unwilling to be disappointed by the world. DI Jonathan Dark is assigned to her case. He's still haunted by his failure to prevent the death of the stalker's previous victim (who, uncomfortably, shares my first name and last initial). Dark is in the middle of a messy separation which he doesn't want: meanwhile, he's living in a Spitalfields cottage belonging to his cousin, who's scornful of the builders who say it's haunted. Meanwhile, Finnegan Finch is in despair. He's worried about the safety of his wife Rosa. Frank McNally, a thoughtful and compassionate undertaker, has to break some bad news to Frank: he last saw Rosa at a funeral, and it was the funeral of ... The dead and the living walk the streets of London in this crime novel, which is exceptional for its characters and its supernatural elements rather than the humdrum (and all too common) plot of a murderer preying on young women. This murderer has a sentimental streak and surprising creativity in his hunting. And his identity does remain a mystery until the final chapters -- which I applaud. London -- including some of the parts I know best, Greenwich and London Bridge -- is very present in this novel, and not just in a visual sense. Maria's blindfolded excursion to Borough Market made my skin creep: her sensory experience of the world is vivid, and so's her comfort with it. (Negative reviews of this book tend to dwell on her foolishness for remaining blind in the face of a threat to her life: but I appreciate that, unlike the ex who pressured her to have the operation, nobody here is forcing Maria to do something that she is so strongly against.) I read and enjoyed Benedict's debut novel, The Beauty of Murder : that, too, was enjoyable because of the characters and the weirdness rather than the plot, though that plot was more firmly rooted in the supernatural than this one. I found Jonathan Dark, or the Evidence of Ghosts a captivating read: the theme of vision, of what is seen and what is overlooked, of watching and of experiencing the world with different senses, is a constant thread. (Perhaps because English -- maybe all spoken language? -- is so sight-oriented: 'I see', 'artistic vision', 'looking after you'.) Of course, where there is something to see there is also the unseen: the world of ghosts which permeates the world of the living; the person behind the camera; the darkness beyond Maria's blindfold; Jonathan Dark's secret. You could say this is a novel about who sees what.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Crime with a difference: there is a supernatural element, so this is part detective story and part fantasy/horror. Set in London in and around the river at Spitalfields, with a mudlark blogger as the victim of a stalker who has already killed once and who seems invincible through his use of surveillance equipment. The story is told in the present tense throughout. The idea that there is no death as such raises all sorts of interesting opportunities, both for comic effect and, once Jonathan, the Crime with a difference: there is a supernatural element, so this is part detective story and part fantasy/horror. Set in London in and around the river at Spitalfields, with a mudlark blogger as the victim of a stalker who has already killed once and who seems invincible through his use of surveillance equipment. The story is told in the present tense throughout. The idea that there is no death as such raises all sorts of interesting opportunities, both for comic effect and, once Jonathan, the detective, realises his powers, for solving crime - except that even the dead are under threat, as we discover in a rather strange sub-plot. There is also a thread about a sinister and all-powerful, corrupt body which has existed for many years and which explains just how a certain group seems to get what it wants on public life in London. Requires quite a dollop of suspension of disbelief, but it does work, mostly.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I'm generally sceptical about books in which the supernatural is combined with the police procedural. I generally like my crime fiction to be gritty and firmly placed on solid ground so it was a surprise to pick up a book that was obviously dominated by ghosts and hauntings and thoroughly enjoy the escapist element of the read. The plot revolves around a serial killer who is stalking a blind woman who has just had an operation to restore her sight. There is a separate plot of a sinister crime gro I'm generally sceptical about books in which the supernatural is combined with the police procedural. I generally like my crime fiction to be gritty and firmly placed on solid ground so it was a surprise to pick up a book that was obviously dominated by ghosts and hauntings and thoroughly enjoy the escapist element of the read. The plot revolves around a serial killer who is stalking a blind woman who has just had an operation to restore her sight. There is a separate plot of a sinister crime group called The Ring who infiltrate all of society bent on evil and we meet Jonathan Dark a detective whose personal life is troubled but who can see ghosts. Definitely a book for which you have to leave your common sense outside the covers and just enjoy although I suspect I was also reading it in the middle of some more serious works so simply enjoyed the ride. I will definitely however be reading more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma Carter-Biggs

    This book could have been so much more. It could have been a crime thriller, a ghost story. A love story.. A story of self discovery. Instead it was none of those things. It had so many sub plots that added nothing to the story... Why were there ghosts? What did they bring to the tale? Why was there a mention of cross dressing? Who was the baddie and why? None of these queations were answered. I am loath to not finish a book once I have started it.. But don't bother. This book could have been so much more. It could have been a crime thriller, a ghost story. A love story.. A story of self discovery. Instead it was none of those things. It had so many sub plots that added nothing to the story... Why were there ghosts? What did they bring to the tale? Why was there a mention of cross dressing? Who was the baddie and why? None of these queations were answered. I am loath to not finish a book once I have started it.. But don't bother.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bee Wyeth

    Very interesting London crime thriller with a great supernatural element running through it. I really enjoyed it and I think the author has much improved on her first book. The two story strands don't quite mesh perfectly and I cared much more about one than the other but the characters were well drawn enough for me to want to read more of them. I hope there is a sequel or two in the future. Very interesting London crime thriller with a great supernatural element running through it. I really enjoyed it and I think the author has much improved on her first book. The two story strands don't quite mesh perfectly and I cared much more about one than the other but the characters were well drawn enough for me to want to read more of them. I hope there is a sequel or two in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Claire Huston

    3.5 stars This was an entertainingly different spin on the classic police-procedural/serial killer countdown story. Jonathan Dark is a great central character with all the classic problems of a downbeat detective and then some. The last few chapters in particular have great suspense and pace. Worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre and don't find the fantasy/supernatural elements. 3.5 stars This was an entertainingly different spin on the classic police-procedural/serial killer countdown story. Jonathan Dark is a great central character with all the classic problems of a downbeat detective and then some. The last few chapters in particular have great suspense and pace. Worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre and don't find the fantasy/supernatural elements.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Haslam

    I haven't read many books that centre around a blind character and that alone was enough to intrigue me to read it. The story itself flowed rather well and although there were and are parts that could have easily been shortened, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, even if it did take me a few days to finish due to work. I haven't read many books that centre around a blind character and that alone was enough to intrigue me to read it. The story itself flowed rather well and although there were and are parts that could have easily been shortened, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, even if it did take me a few days to finish due to work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juwy

    Love how the crime was portrayed but I didn't like how quick the murderer was captured and his after story. Love the uniqueness of the victim being a once blind women but has gotten surgery to get her eyesight back and still wears a blind fold. The mix of the fictional ghost world completely muddled with whats going on. Not really the type of book I would usually read. Love how the crime was portrayed but I didn't like how quick the murderer was captured and his after story. Love the uniqueness of the victim being a once blind women but has gotten surgery to get her eyesight back and still wears a blind fold. The mix of the fictional ghost world completely muddled with whats going on. Not really the type of book I would usually read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wayne's

    Interesting and fun. If you like Bryant and May or The Rivers of London series then you will enjoy this one. Thanks to my school librarian for both the recommendation and of course the book, gotta love your library!!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ewan

    I loved this. Need to gather my thoughts before I write even a short review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Disappointing. Too many unnecessary elements yet sometimes, there were too few links to each part of the story. Such that I felt like I must have missed reading parts of it sometimes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    D Cox

    Loved it! Another very unique and gripping mystery.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne Stevens

    A book that will delight lovers of London. It is strange and by no means a straightforward crime novel. However descriptions of London and of the main characters really bring them to life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Damian Knight

    a good crime thriller

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