Dark Water – Robert Bryndza


Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.


Robert Bryndza has rapidly become one of my favourite authors.  This is the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series and once again Rob has written a book which captured my interest right from the start.

Erika Foster has recently been transferred (rather under a cloud) from Lewisham to Bromley and is no longer with the Murder investigation unit. She is now assigned to a team that is part of Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime.

During a search of a flooded, disused quarry, searching for a consignment of drugs, the Police divers also come across a bundle of plastic entwined in chains. Inside was a small skeleton, apparently a child. The remains are eventually linked to a 7 year old girl who had gone missing without trace 26 years earlier.

Erika asks to be put in charge of case despite the fact that her unit does not deal in kidnap or murder cases. She has a good track record in solving difficult cases but her boss, Superintendent Yale, doesn’t agree to her request.

She then pleads with her old boss Commander Paul Marsh, and ultimately with the Assistant Commissioner. She is eventually put in charge of the case however she is to run it from Bromley and report directly to Paul Marsh. It soon becomes apparent there is little to go on. The investigation into the child’s disappearance didn’t get very far at the time. No one had witnessed anything. There was one suspect who was arrested and questioned, but released a few days later without charge. The female officer in charge of the missing person investigation was later thrown off the case.

Oh yes, and there appears to be someone who doesn’t want the case solved, but who and why?

I love that there is some continuity in Robert’s Erika Foster books. We meet characters (former colleagues) who appear in earlier books but we are also given a little of their background so that Dark Water can stand alone (it’s very worthwhile reading the series – they are all excellent books).

The plot is good. I love the balance between description and dialogue. I like the way we get to know a little bit more of Erika in each book (although I have to say I think she is mellowing a little!). She is an interesting character, not without her issues. She is a good police officer but sometimes deviates from standard procedures and hasn’t risen up the ranks quite as quickly as you would expect, given her success rate with difficult cases. However I got a sense that things might be starting to improve for Erika in respect of her personal relationships.

There are plenty of twists and turns and attempts to thwart the investigation. Once again great storytelling. Robert Bryndza writes my favourite kind of book – one that keeps me up to the wee small hours, bleary eyed, but desperate to find out what happens next.

I would love to read more books in this series. I hope it’s not too long until the next one is published!

Robert has also written a series of Coco Pinchard books which are funny and very entertaining.  His website can be found here.


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