Book Reviews

Review: Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre

Places in the Darkness kept me up way past my bedtime to finish this captivating novel AND it kept me up even longer when I couldn’t fall asleep I was still thinking of this book! As the polar opposite of a night owl, that should say something!


In the City of the Sky, there has never been a murder. It is a city populated by scientists and engineers – those who dream of touching the stars and going beyond. The city is supposed to be a beacon of the future, a reflection of our distant dream of launching off into the cosmos. But in reality, it has many of the problems most cities do: underground trade, illegal alcohol, and prostitution to name a few.

And who better to investigate the murder than Nikki Freeman, the symbol of – what many might say – one of the worst in the City in the Sky, in terms of corruption. But to save the day, she is paired up with Alice Blake, the epitome of rules and regulations. As the murders increase and the very fabric of their memories is questioned, Nikki and Alice begin to question what surrounds them and each other.


I was instantly swept away with the science fiction of the world. The detailed lectures about consciousness or even the inner workings of the technology did not lose me, but instead captivated me.

Consciousness does not exist (ix)

And with that first line I was hooked. I am such a huge fan of science fiction which probes at this question of humanity and consciousness. So that’s basically all you need to hear from me about this book. But if you need more reasons why, I’ll give them to you!

Female Friendship

book review Places in the Darkness by Chris BrookmyreNikki is an amazing firecracker and she gets even better as the book progresses and you learn more about her character. Additionally, there was something in Alice that reminded me of myself, maybe her belief in the rules? Regardless, I loved both of these characters and also appreciated that this was a book centered on their friendship and alliance. The plot didn’t get side tracked with romantic interests, this was about their growth as people and their journey. I thoroughly enjoyed that we were given both of their point of views, and sometimes of the same situation to really get a feel of how their thought processes changed.

Thematic Giants & A Riveting Plot

So I am a total sucker for books that explore the ethics of future technology, mostly because I think it is such an important issue we should be talking about today. But even more than that, this book looks at issues of privacy, underground markets, and consciousness. I don’t want to spoil you from the fun of reading it yourself, but it is such a great read – in terms of themes – and you need to read it so I can talk to you about it!

Secondly, the plot was captivating. Maybe it’s the dynamic side characters, or the genuine feel to the world, but I ate this book up and could come back for more. This kept me up so late and it was one of those cases where I thought, “just another page” and then it kept going till the ending. There was so much depth and multiple layers of intricate plot which not only inspire a pit in your stomach, but also a need to know more.


It had the perfect mix of introspective characters, science fiction exploration of the ethics of technology, and a wonderful concept.  If you’re at all interested in dynamic heroines, or ethical discussions of the future, or a seedy underbelly of a space city – then you need this book in your life.

Hunt this book down on Amazon(US), your local indie, and add it to Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.


What is the last book that kept you awake past your bed time?

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