Reviewed by Cavan Scott
Leo Stamp should be happy. His business is booming, he lives in a dream home and a shiny Aston Martin rests in his garage. But Leo cannot rest. He is haunted by his brotherâ€™s murder, when they were children, hates his dead father and covets his best friendâ€™s girlfriend, Sadie. Every night he confides in a James Bond poster that hangs on his wall. Disturbingly, the poster always replies. And just when it canâ€™t get worse for Leo, he dies and finds himself living his best friendâ€™s life while a homicidal demon takes up residence in his old body.
Darren J Guestâ€™s debut novel is an ambitious, if at times bewildering, character piece. The cast is limited to Leoâ€™s close circle of friends, but their depth is impressive. None of them are particularly likable, but feel more real for it. You find yourself rooting for people that you wouldnâ€™t want to spend time with, which is an achievement in itself.
ClichÃ©s are turned on their heads and twists move so fast that if youâ€™re not paying attention youâ€™ll wonder what the hell just happened. Gripping, witty, intelligence and tense, while Dark Heartâ€™s plot does at times border on convoluted, itâ€™s never long before Guest gets things back on track. One to watch.