A terrifying novel of psychological suspense
The footsteps echoing behind you, the hand reaching out to touch your shoulder, the breath on your neck, the soft whisper in your ear, the nameless terror out there in the dark...
Every woman knows what it's like to fear the man on the empty road, but what if there really is a man out there, and he's a vicious killer, and he's stalking you...
On Sunday, 30th March, 1997, Lisa Griffin, 25, left her parents' house in Mexborough, and set off home to Sheffield, where her husband, Stuart and her three year old daughter Karen were waiting for her. They expected her back shortly after nine thirty. She had phoned at twenty past eight to tell them she was catching the quarter-to train. She said goodbye to her parents - her father, Harry, had recently come out of hospital. He and his daughter were very close, and she had made the trip specially to see how he was. "We didn't want her to go to the bother," Harry said afterwards. "Not with the kiddie and her job and all that. But when our Lisa makes her mind up..."
It was dark by the time Lisa left. She waved to a neighbour as she set off on the five minutes walk to the station. A woman remembers seeing someone answering Lisa's description going into the station around twenty to nine. That was the last time anyone saw her alive, apart from her killer.
Lisa never arrived home that night. Her body was found shortly after six the following morning, dumped by the railway line outside Mexborough station. She had been beaten and strangled. Her eyes had been gouged out and her body had been mutilated. She had died around midnight.
This was the first in the series of killings that became known as the 'Strangler Killings'. Women in the South Yorkshire area were abducted, mutilated and killed. Their bodies were dumped on or near the railway line that runs through the Dearne Valley, and between Sheffield and Hull.
Follow the links - in the text and below - to explore the world of Only Darkness:
"Menacing, highly atmospheric thriller in which women commuters travelling alone on late-night trains only a whisker from Sheffield are found murdered and mutilated beside the line. Debbie Sykes, a teacher at the local college who thinks she may have seen the killer's face, is fingered as his next victim. And while police lay plans to catch him before he strikes again the killer sits at home playing with his train set on which he plots his murder moves. Scary stuff given an extra boost by dark and persuasive psychology in chilly provincial settings where horrible things happen which may freeze your blood, clearly the genre still has legs"
"Only Darkness is a must-read. But be sure to lock the door first."
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
"She brings the smell of death quiveringly alive."
"Dark, edgy and compelling, this is a first novel from a writer to watch"
"Rotherham may not resonate with the neon-lit noir that gives LA or even London their sense of mythic suspense yet Danuta Reah's debut, Only Darkness, manages to pull off this most unlikely of feats. Her trick is to use South Yorkshire's parochiality against itself, balancing a neighbourly ethos of community with a claustrophobic menace of intrusion. Her setting becomes as unnerving as any of America's meanest streets."
"But who and where is the Strangler? ... strong and cunning, and is most definitely targeting our heroine... He has only to watch what she does and where she goes, and eventually she will walk into his arms. From this quiet but menacing beginning, Danuta Reah builds an effective and realistic thriller."
"Only Darkness will make you shudder with surprise and fear in equal measure... If TV's Cracker and Frost are anything in your line, then Only Darkness is a must-read. But be sure to lock the door first."
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Only Darkness was first published by Collins Crime in 1999; it was reissued by HarperCollins in 2010, in a paperback edition, available from Amazon.
The ISIS Soundings audiobook (2001), read by Patricia Jones, is not currently available.
Some foreign editions
Only Darkness has been published in German (as Letzter Halt), Spanish (as La Via Muerta), in French (Toujours la Nuit) and in Finnish as Pelkkää Pimeyttä.