The Dark by Emma Haughton

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose. 

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all. 

And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .

The Dark is a creepy and chilling thriller that reminiscent of The Thing (which has a little cameo here!!) with its research station cut off from the rest of world. And it’s this environment that Kate decides will be the right place for her to escape her past. Of course, a vulnerable and mentally unstable woman is probably the last person that should be put in charge of the medical needs of the resident staff but when she looks into the death of the previous doctor, it looks like her personal tragedy might make her the perfect person to discover the truth. But locked away for weeks with a possible murderer also means that her interfering puts them all at risk…especially Kate herself.

Kate is a complex character, driven in her need to investigate her predecessors accident by her own personal demons. How she passed any psychological tests to take up her new position was a mystery in itself as she was a very damaged woman! Her drug taking made her an unlikeable character much of the time and she made some incredibly stupid decisions that meant I had little sympathy for her, but that didn’t take away any of the concern for her and the other occupants of the station. In fact nearly everyone had secrets to keep and pasts to hide so anyone could have been responsible for the incidents that start to happen the minute Kate arrives. A cast of unlikeable and unsympathetic characters didn’t make this book less of a compulsion for me though as I do love a read where you have a huge choice of suspects and this reminded me of Murder on the Orient Express at times with a host of suspects stranded together.

Emma Haughton has written a compelling storyline with a stunning setting that is visually delivered by this descriptive narrative. I could see it working well visually as a film or tv drama as it has that “hiding behind a cushion” feel to it where the tension becomes almost unbearable at times. Atmospheric and tautly plotted, The Dark is a gripping psychological thriller from start to finish.

Emma Haughton grew up in Sussex; after a stint au pairing in Paris and a couple of half-hearted attempts to backpack across Europe, she studied English at Oxford University then trained in journalism. During her career as a journalist, she wrote many articles for national newspapers, including regular pieces for the Times Travel section.

Following publication of her picture book, Rainy Day, Emma wrote three YA novels. Her first, Now You See Me, was an Amazon bestseller and nominated for the Carnegie and Amazing Book Awards. Better Left Buried, her second, was one of the best YA reads for 2015 in the Sunday Express. Her third YA novel, Cruel Heart Broken, was picked by The Bookseller as a top YA read for July 2016.

The Dark, Emma’s chilling new thriller for adults, will be published by Hodder in August 2021.

Find out more at or Or get in touch via Twitter: @Emma_Haughton

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.