In Association with

Fresh Blood

Name: Alex Barclay

Title of Book: Darkhouse

“I would certainly recommend this book. There is a neat little twist near the end and it really does get going once everything starts coming undone!”


Joe Lucchesi is a very good NYPD cop. When the kidnapping of a child goes horribly wrong, Joe and his family move to the idyllic surrounds of Waterford in Ireland. It is there they begin a new, calm life. Joe’s wife, Anna is co-ordinating a decorating project on a lighthouse, while their son, Shaun, is fitting in with the other kids in the local school. He has even found himself a new girlfriend. The life of a NYPD cop seems a lifetime away. Then it all comes crashing round Joe’s ears. A man with vengeance in his heart has tracked Joe down and he will do anything to make Joe pay for his past. This man is a mass murderer. Woe betide anyone who gets in his way…


This book takes on two strands throughout the whole novel. One path takes us through the present, with the Luchessi family enjoying, for a time, living in Ireland. Then a girl goes missing and is eventually found murdered. Joe believes that someone is out to get him and has started taking victims very close to home, and that a member of his family could be the next chosen one.

The other strand describes the making of a serial killer from a very early age. The book starts at 1978 with the character of Duke. We come to see how his volatile homestead environment makes him the man he becomes.

The description of the Irish villagers, slowly turning upon the American family as they beginning to suspect that it is possibly their arrival that has brought these evil forces into their midst, is especially well drawn. The plot does move along at a leisurely, yet gripping pace. My only concern would be that sometimes the writing sometimes seems to be slightly forced. I would certainly recommend this book. There is a neat little twist near the end and it really does get going once everything starts coming undone!

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1.) What type of crime writing would you say you write?


2.) What type of crime do you prefer?? Series or standalone?

For so many different reasons, I love both. A good writer brings you along with his/her series and makes you feel part of the characters’ lives and development, which I really enjoy. By the same token, I love standalones for their tidy, satisfying finality. I know I won’t have to panic while waiting for the next instalment. But then, there’s a delicious joy in seeing a new book out in a series you’ve loved. Clearly I will never make up my mind.

3.) Have you always had ideas to write a crime novel?

I almost couldn’t ever face thinking about it, because it seemed far too unreal. It was a buried dream job for so long. It was only when I started writing Darkhouse and felt so at home and comfortable, that it resurfaced. I’m very blessed to be able to do this.

4.) What influenced you to write a crime novel in the first place?

I’m forever grateful to my hero Detective Joe Lucchesi and the malevolent Duke Rawlins for having their first confrontation in a dark hollow of my imagination; their story led me to my laptop. I’m not the type of person who could have sat down and said ‘I want to write a book, now what will I write about?’ I don’t work that way. It’s all about passion for me.

5.) What is your favourite crime read of all time?

I hate committing to favourites, particularly because there really are so many crime novels that have blown my mind. I will answer, however, with the first one that came into my head and that was Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.

6.) Would you describe yourself as a Crime fan and if so, which authors do you most admire?

I’m a massive crime fan and admire so many writers; Henning Mankell, Michael Connolly, John Connolly, John Sandford… I’m currently reading and loving The Straw Men by Michael Marshall and the rest of my bedside stockpile is Mark Billingham, Stuart McBride and Simon Kernick. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

7.) Which camp do you fall into? Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers?

Yikes. I haven’t read either. Does this make me a bad person?

8.) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (double mention for him!). Clint Eastwood captures so much in all his work, he really goes beneath the surface and extracts the essence. He gets emotion. In a lesser director’s hands, it would have been swept away. Some directors seem to panic when handed a crime novel and you get the sense that the script was thrown from screenwriter to screenwriter like it was on fire and in the end what appears on screen is a charred fragment of the original writer’s intent that someone threw a bucket of water over.

9.) Without giving away the story, which book included your favourite plot twist of all time?

Twists are my best friends. I can’t get enough of them. Nor can I make a call on which has been my favourite. But I keep coming back to Pam Ewing waking up and it was all a dream. Bobby was alive! It’s not a book, but it was a seminal moment…

10.) Where do you see crime fiction going next?

Instead of focusing on crime fiction as a whole, I stick with where I see my own crime fiction going and wait to get surprised by the marvels of other writers’ work.