Book Reviews

A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis Book Review @MulhollandUK @KatiaLief #MapoftheDark #BlogTour

hell yeah Review

  • A Map of the Dark.
  • Karen Ellis.
  • 320 pages.
  • Psychological / Thriller / Crime / Mystery / Fiction.
  • My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.

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Book Blurb:

A girl missing
A woman, searching
A killer, planning…

A thrilling new FBI series for fans of Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. 

FBI Agent Elsa Myers finds missing people.
She knows how it feels to be lost…

Though her father lies dying in a hospital north of New York City, Elsa cannot refuse a call for help. A teenage girl has gone missing from Forest Hills, Queens, and during the critical first hours of the case, a series of false leads hides the fact that she did not go willingly.

With each passing hour, as the hunt for Ruby deepens into a search for a man who may have been killing for years, the case starts to get underneath Elsa’s skin. Everything she has buried – her fraught relationship with her sister and niece, her self-destructive past, her mother’s death – threatens to resurface, with devastating consequences.

In order to save the missing girl, she may have to lose herself…and return to the darkness she’s been hiding from for years.


Book Review:

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is also part of the blog tour for A map of the Dark.


The book’s title A Map of the Dark immediately reminded me of the classic Iron Maiden tune Fear of the Dark:

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark,
I have a constant fear that something’s always near,
Fear of the dark, fear of the dark,
I have a phobia that someone’s always there.

And so, I give to you:

A Map of the Dark, A Map of the Dark,
I read a crime thriller that really is quite killer,
A Map of the Dark, A Map of the Dark,
I have a sweet review for you to all peruse.

I bet none of you was expecting to start the review that way?!😂

Elsa Meyers is an FBI special agent, namely for the CARD (Child Abduction Rapid Deployment) division. Ruby Haverstock, a 17-year-old girl has been abducted at the end of her shift working in a Café on Friday evening. Detective Lex Cole, a new to the department Detective who’s just spent three years undercover with Vice is assigned to the case. It is his first child abduction case and he requests the help of Elsa as her reputation for finding abducted children precedes her.

Interspersed with the hunt for Ruby are the occasional chapters that focus on the predicament of the captive. They are only short but add a creepy edge to the book as you get a first-hand account of the captive’s situation. There are also some short chapters that act as interludes from the present day narrative and take us back in time to Elsa’s childhood and her traumatic memories.

Set against the backdrop of the abduction case is the story of Elsa’s father, Roy, who has recently been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and sadly, doesn’t have long left to live. Elsa’s younger sister and her teenage niece are also dealing with this heartbreak making for an interesting family dynamic and relationship between them all.

A Map of the Dark isn’t purely an abduction story and the sole focus isn’t just on the kidnapping of Ruby. The book is as much character-driven as it is story-driven with Elsa’s character and her past playing a large part in the story. For me, this is where A Map of the Dark really excelled with the characterisation of the main character adding an extra layer and depth to the book.

Elsa is a complex and damaged character suffering from her own familial secrets and personal demons and is haunted by her past. However, it’s also those same demons from her childhood that now drive her and Ellis does a stellar job of showing with Elsa how a person’s past, no matter how long ago can affect their present.

The story told in A Map of the Dark is both well-executed and well-written by Ellis who never glorifies the subject matter that she deals with. The hunt for Ruby is a race against the clock and at times it can be harrowing especially as the story progresses and more about the kidnapper is revealed. Then you also have the revelation that Ruby’s abduction might not be the isolated and solitary case that it was thought to be and that it might, in fact, be the latest in a long line of abduction cases perpetrated by the same person dating back years. Add in plenty of twists and turns along the way (one revelation near the end is shocking) and as Ellis builds to the conclusion, ramping up the tension you will find yourself gripped and constantly turning the pages.

And now the highly quotable bit:

The pacing in A Map of the Dark never lets up and combined with Ellis’s writing creates a dark and compelling read.


Pre-order A Map of the Dark (released January 11th).

Amazon UK Amazon US  Book Depository


About Karen Ellis.

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Karen Ellis is the pseudonym of longtime crime fiction author Katja Lief. Katja is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and the Authors Guild. She is the author of several internationally bestselling crime novels, including The Money Kill, the fourth instalment of her Karin Schaeffer series published in 2013 by HarperCollins and nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award.  She teaches fiction writing at The New School in Manhattan and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.


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8 thoughts on “A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis Book Review @MulhollandUK @KatiaLief #MapoftheDark #BlogTour

  1. Woohooo- a thriller review 🙂 nice one, Drew… so glads you enjoyed it and it’s really cool to break up the fantasy genre every now and again! 🙂
    So, here’s the question- will Drew be reading more thrillers? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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