When Darkness Falls (DS Coupland 7) by Emma Salisbury #bookreview @emmasauthor

Crime writer Emma Salisbury has certainly made good use of her time during the past few months of pandemic enforced restrictions, and has been very busy writing. As a result, the seventh in her DS Coupland series was published on Friday. This is great news for fans of the series – of which I am one. DS Coupland is definitely one of my favourite fictional detectives! I made good use of a miserable weekend and settled down to follow Coupland’s latest case.

Although it’s not the main focus of the book, it was interesting to read about how the world of policing had been changed by coronavirus earlier in the year. Coupland muses on how their work was no longer dealing with drunks falling out of the pub and into fights, but instead there was an increase in domestic violence with people confined to their houses. There was also the increased challenge of witnesses and the police identifying suspects with everyone now wearing masks and looking like they’re off to rob a bank! The main investigation in this book is the murder of a teenage girl, Carly. When investigating her death, Coupland discovers that it bears many similarities to a previous murder and begins to look into a possible connection. Before long, he uncovers links to other crimes, ones which pose a serious threat to the young people of Salford.

This is a dark story and some of it makes for uncomfortable reading, delving as it does into the murky world of sex offenders and abuse. This isn’t because anything is described in graphic detail, but rather because it’s disturbing to realise that the kind of things going on which happen in the book actually happen in real life, a point which the author makes with some statistics in notes at the end of the book..

I do enjoy that although DS Coupland is the lead character, we do also get chapters from the points of view of several of the other characters. Young DC Timmons – known as ‘Krispy’ because of his fondness for a certain brand of doughnut – is always a welcome sight and often adds a bit levity to the books, although he does get himself into some sticky situations in this one. Acting DS Ashcroft certainly gets a baptism of fire in his role but more than copes with the challenges he faces. It was good to see how Inspector Alex Morecroft is settling in to her new role too, having moved on from working with Coupland and his team. I always enjoy the insights into Coupland’s home life, particularly his tender relationship with his grandson ‘Tonto’, where we see the softer side to this tough detective.

When Darkness Falls is a gripping read, with plenty going on to hold your attention. There were some particularly tense chapters towards the end of the book as various investigations come together. With another child in danger, I was willing Coupland to catch the culprit in time, fairly confident that he would but also so anxious that he might not. This latest outing for DS Coupland does not disappoint and is sure to be enjoyed by fans of the series. While I hope that 2021 brings more freedom for us all, I also hope that Emma Salisbury is already working on Coupland’s next case!

From the back of the book

The body of a teenage girl is found two days after being reported missing. A discussion with the pathologist reveals that another girl was found in similar circumstances only her murder never made it into the press. When DS Kevin Coupland looks into the earlier case he finds out-dated views and social stereotyping have thwarted the investigation from the beginning.

Along with Acting DS Chris Ashcroft he lifts the lid on a world where victims are defined by their postcode, where certain crimes are written off as a ‘lifestyle.’ Yet beneath a layer of public indifference lies a world far darker than Coupland thought possible.

Just when Coupland thinks he’s getting closer to the perpetrators a child goes missing, blowing everything he thought he’d discovered out of the water.

The darkness keeps getting deeper…

About the author

I write gritty, crime fiction that focuses on the ‘why’ dunnit as well as the ‘who’. I worked for a housing association supporting ex-offenders into work which provided me with a lot of inspiration. Featured in the Sunday Mail and on BBC Radio Scotland, Talk Radio Europe and a number of other news and media outlets, my novels have regularly been in the top ten Hardboiled chart and I am a recipient of the Amazon All-Star bonus for being one of their most read authors in the UK.

Fans of Mark Billingham and Angela Marsons should try my Manchester police procedural series. If you like hard-boiled crime writers Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina and Ian Rankin then my Scottish crime series is for you. Like living on the edge? Why not try both…

When Darkness Falls – the seventh book in my DS Coupland series is out on 4th December, and is available now.


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