Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts is exactly what it says on the tin. Two different sorts of stories running concurrently and eventually meeting at the end.
Jonathan Dark is a detective with London’s met investigating a stalker who has already killed and is now hunting a new victim. Maria the Stalkee is a mud lark (someone who hunts for artefacts in the mud around the Thames river). Maria is more at risk than the last Stalkee though as she is blind. Or rather she was blind, had an operation to regain her sight and decided she didn’t like it so she now wears a blindfold in order to live as if she still didn’t have her sight.
So I’ll deal with this half of the story first. The characters of Jonathan and Maria are both strong leading personalities. Maria serves to antagonise and frustrate the reader with her refusal to remove the blindfold and see even when she is in grave danger. Although her bravery is admired by the police, the reader cannot help but feel like they want to rip the blindfold from her face and make her look after herself. The ability to create characters which evoke such emotion is always one I admire in a writer. Jonathan is a character the reader can Pity, his wife has left him for reasons unknown until further into the book which I won’t spoil! He’s also recently lost a colleague and friend and is haunted by nightmares and whispers as he sleeps.
The other part of the story features around a mysterious criminal organisation known only as The Ring. Associated with some of the big names in politics, business and celebrity it’s hard to trust anybody in the book because neither you (the reader) nor the main characters know who is involved. Frank is a funeral director who can see ghosts, he finds out about The Ring when an associate dies and comes to him as a ghost to enlist his help in getting revenge on his murders. It is not obvious at first how the two stories link and admittedly it can become a bit confusing at times as the narrative juxtaposes between the two storylines quite rapidly. Persevere though as it does all start coming together eventually.
Overall I found the book really interesting. I liked the different storylines and the twists that involving ghosts in what is essentially a detective story brought on. I also liked the elements of social acceptance which came with the different characters. I felt it gave off a feeling that not all is what it seems and that people have their own reasons for doing things. I don’t feel as some reviewers did that these elements took away from the story but more that they strengthened it with a back story which was interesting and in parts heart breaking.
If I had one criticism it would be to say that at times I felt there were just a few two many similes. Really fantastic enviable similes admittedly but I don’t think as many were needed as were included. That small point did not ruin the book for me though as overall I really enjoyed it and towards the end I found I couldn’t put it down!