Her Dark Path, by Ken Ogilvie

Book: Her Dark Path: A gripping crime mystery full of twists and turns

Author: Ken Ogilvie, 2017

What role do members of society play in resolving murder mysteries?

Can one be innocent if the rest of their family is part of the problem?

The story takes us back in time, to a question that has intrigued society for millennia – can a human being exist as an individual within society, or, are individuals part of a networked society from which they cannot disentangle?

In, Her Dark Path, Ken Ogilvie uses the murder of Abigail McBride to bring into focus complications of solving murder cases, more so when grieving family members are bypassed during the investigation process.

The author uses Conroy, a fictitious small town in Ontario for readers to find answers to a myriad of questions. For example, who, within the law enforcement specialities qualifies to investigate which crime and how do they get chosen? What about the involvement of the local community? Who is a suspect, who does not want the crime investigated and why?

I applaud Ogilvie in his mastery as a mystery writer. He interweaved the suspects to the extent that each time I thought I’d solved the mystery, he brought in a new suspect with enough evidence for me to forgive the previous one. I was left panting by the time I reached the end of the novel because, I never got a reason to put the book down until I turned the last page.

What issues did the book bring to the fore?

  1. Challenges that women are faced with, both in social and professional arenas. For example, Rebecca Bradley did not want to continue her relationship with Cartwright, but she had to tone down her no, out of fear that making her position clear would result in her not being allowed to investigate the McBride case.

    • Related to the above, Rebecca had to take the biggest risk, the final attack to prove to Sykes that she was qualified for the job.

    • We see similarities with many other women characters in the book. They work hard to earn a living while some of the men seem to have lots of money, yet they spend most of their time along the streets in town, cafes, bars, eateries – where they are served by female employees.

  2. The role of law enforcement officers in the justice system – solving crime. One wonders how O'Reilly had managed to survive within the police force with such laxity, or is it because he cannot investigate himself?

  3. To what extent can professionals solve crime, murder mysteries without the involvement of members of society/community?

  4. One might want to ask, why does the process of solving a murder mystery always result in expositions? Secrets that community members have kept well that far, suddenly get exposed – who lives where, who has an affair with who, who should be feared, who can only bark because they have no teeth, etc.

  5. There’s also the larger question, murder cases destabilize society which is expected to resort back to normality once the culprit is caught. How will people get back to normal life when their secrets and other crimes have been exposed during the investigation process.

  6. Why are local people rarely willing to talk to law enforcement officers, provide information to aid in solving the crime?

The author’s style of writing gripped my attention – the choice of words, befitting character descriptions on first encounter, descriptions of setting and speeding cars have stayed with me long after I read the last page.

Often, I caught myself panting from joining in the race to catch the criminals before more damage could be done. The author makes all the characters so human until I could see some of them along a road, a street, in a cafe and many other public places.

The book sheds light on the role of professionalism in solving murder cases. If Rebecca did not have a personal investment in the McBride murder case, would the real criminals have been caught?

I like the way Ogilvie humanizes Rebecca. She sets out focused, very professional, but becomes a regular person while she’s with community members. We see her getting carried away, becomes too trusting of people, she reveals too many details of her findings to her interviewees, putting herself in dangerous situations where, intuition or training should have prepared her to avoid.

I highly recommend Her Dark Path to anyone working in the justice system, and to all readers of crime and mystery fiction.

The only side-effect from reading Her Dark Path is that it left me with more homework than I had bargained for. I have become more observant, formulating stories in my mind each time I hear a police siren, each time I see police cars in high speed, each time I see an ambulance on a highway.

Did they just find another cave?

I give the book five stars because the author maximized on suspense, thus held my attention, kept me guessing and wanting to read more to answer the why question. The book is well written, edited and proofread, does not give a reader an excuse to slow down.

What is your take on the book?

Thanks for reading this book review. I endeavour to write a review on the books that capture my interest. Please recommend books for me to read.

Eileen Omosa.Comment