Book Jacket


rank 5941
word count 36037
date submitted 16.03.2012
date updated 10.04.2013
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: moderate

A Long Fall Into Darkness

K.C. Hardy

D.I. Cummings (retired) has Alzheimer's but is determined to finish his last unsolved case, if only he could remember where his keys were...


Bob's last case before retirement ended in failure. He knew exactly who was responsible for the disappearances of dozens of teenage girls but his evidence was destroyed by his incompetent son-in-law.

Twelve years later Bob is coming to terms with his wife's death and being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. When girls begin disappearing again he seizes the opportunity to finish what he began so long ago. But how do you uncover a serial killer when you can't remember what you had for breakfast and can't find your way back home?

When one of his own family go missing the investigation becomes a race to discover the truth before she becomes another victim.

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crime, fiction, killer, novel, police, portsmouth, serial killer, tunnels, underground

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rikasworld wrote 456 days ago

Hi, I've read all your uploaded chapters and it's impressive writing. It seems effortless and is very polished.
I was also impressed that Bob could work the satnav he bought to help him remember the way home. It's more than I can do! Seriously, his stroppy personality and the various aspects of his dementia are convincing and his relationship with Charlotte is quite touching. (I assume she is going to be in need of rescue). Nathan is quite horrific and again convincing, as is his hold over Toby. I think the alternative chapters work well as a structure.
The only typo I spotted was in Authonomy ch. 7 (6) where you need 'that's what your mum keeps saying' not you're.
How is the polishing up going? Are you ready to start sending this out to agents and publishers yet?

Spilota wrote 504 days ago

This is decidedly creepy. I saw it mentioned on the forum and came to have a look. I like the way you are telling it by going back and forward in time, with Bob and his troubles, then back to the twins and the developing of Toby', I suppose. A few minor typos where you have you're rather than your, etc, but this has grabbed my imagination. Hope you will post more soon. Yes, might be better bringing the info in the prologue in later, would definitely add to the suspense.

Kev Hardy wrote 507 days ago

After taking a long break I'm back in the saddle and currently working on a second draft incorporating all the really wonderful feedback I've had. The major difference is that I have removed the prologue which a few people had problems with - which i agree with. By withholding this info at the start it adds to the suspense when the boys first discover the tunnels. Some of the detail from the prologue will now be imparted by the housekeeper later on in the book.
As soon as I have something together I will update the chapters here.
Thanks again to all those who have been kind enough to take the time to comment.

Seringapatam wrote 513 days ago

Kev, You had me hooked in from the word go about the chalk.... Its a very interesting book considering its a million miles away from what I would normally read. I can see this doing very well. You have a good flow to the narrative voice and an ability to catch the reader in the early stages of the book. There is a good pace that I think helps the book to make it so much easier on the eyes. I like this a lot and will score it high. well done.
Sean Connolly,. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A. O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

Terry Murphy wrote 543 days ago

Hi Kev,

After reading three chapters my overriding thought was, 'wow, where can I buy this?' It really is that good.

The writing is elegant, yet effortless and has that warm, wry voice just below the surface. And there is no doubting the intrigue set up by the unfolding storyline. The opening structure is very clever and does its job brilliantly.

I'm not sure about the 'prologue' to be honest, that is my only significant crit. It is well written and informative and I'm sure it is fundamental to understanding later events, but in my view it sets the wrong tone for the book at the start, and I could see why it might be off-putting. Assuming it has to go at the beginning, I'd suggest calling it something different, like a 'preface' or something, so readers know it is background information that they can skip if they wish and go back to when/if needed.

I can also see Ceez's point below about early backstory slowing down what is a superb narrative. It's always a tricky call - In my view, you just about get away with it but I don't think you would lose much by paring it back a little.

Overall, I think this has a wonderful 'feel' to it. I loved the Elvis reference and the Big Sleep gag, too. I genuinely believe that with some high-level editing [by this, I just mean clips and tweaks here and there that might come only after 10 or 12 edits by the author but on a first edit by a pro] this has strong commercial potential.

All the stars for now, and shelf support when I can get to it.

Best wishes,


Mark Cain wrote 566 days ago

Wonderful, professional-quality writing here. Great descriptions, particularly at the beginning. There is also excellent, very believable characterization, the subtle touches of early-onset Alzheimer's, the melancholy of a mournful spouse, well two actually, but I was thinking of the MC, who loved his wife, though he had effectively lost her love years ago. There are the twins, Lottie, just lots of wonderful characters.

I have a mystery writer friend or two on this site whom I think would love this. I certainly do. High stars!


Nanty wrote 690 days ago

A Long Fall into Darkness.

'what are (you) doing? - Typo in brackets.
'...geting a life sentence and ten years in jail.' - The difference, which isn't stated, is the killer would go free?
'...Porchester air of morbid functionality about it.' - Thought this was rather odd - a crematorium's function is no more than an oven to dispose of a corpse, which is is morbid when you think about it, and I've yet to see anyone sing and dance at any of the few funeral's I've attended. Also hate 'ality's' what's wrong with function?
'...a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz etc.' - Toby reciting the words over and over again, is more than enough to give a reader a good impression of his distress and reluctance. References to Dorothy etc, cheapen this passage and I can't help feeling this is fairly amateurish and has no place in otherwise good prose.
Very good description of Toby's descent, likening the rancid stench to stinking plimsoles and stale, sweat-soaked gym kit. The tension is slowly notched up to make this passage really gripping, culminating in a dreadful accident.
' could age how long someone had been in the health service...' - Age doesn't read well, perhaps gauge would fit better.
'...suddenly had to vomite...' - As this is a reflex action - suddenly vomited, would have more immediacy.
Toby finding he skeletons and not mentioning to Nathan - I thought that was a bit odd.
'Nathan admitted defeat...' - Should be Toby.
The relationships between the characters are very well drawn. Toby and Nathan, completely different despite being twins, their practically non-existent contact with a drunken father, Bob's animosity slamming up against too slick, too suave Noah, has comedy within the pathos of perceived/actual betrayal. Bob and Nigel, Bob and his daughter and Charlotte his grandchild, all so well observed and realistically brought to life.
I also liked how you have taken your time with Nathan and his gradual development, completely believable and all the more scary for it.
The work could do with a little edit and a bit more polish. That done I think you have something commercial.
Not sure what audience this book is targeted at, but it would work well for YA as well as the adult market.
High stars for the time being and a place on my shelf when I next have a turn about, which won't be for some weeks yet.

JMF wrote 705 days ago

I saw this on someone else's shelf and thought I'd take a look. This is very good indeed and I have only read the first three chapters. I'm going to place on my WL and it will be one of the books I circulate onto my shelf in due course. An excellent read, great idea for a story.
Highly starred.
Shadow Jumper

Tod Schneider wrote 710 days ago

This is absolutely brilliant writing! It's always a nice surprise to find real gems on this site, and this one qualifies. Your writing is truly masterful; everything flows so smoothly, with dialog and description balanced and carefully crafted. Nothing to pick on here at all. Best of luck with this!

elmo2 wrote 772 days ago

read the frist four entries and then skimmed some ahead, i like this, smooth writing, apt descriptions, metaphors, and similies, inventive, i think a reader would be intrigued by the notion of an alzhiemer victim trying to solve a crime, the tille fits both plot lines, bob's and the twins, like the pologue, this story has a historical background, very english isn't it, i wanted to read more and that is always the best sign, entertained

ceejezoid wrote 782 days ago

Hey Kev, returning the read!

A few notes, as I wrote them:

Prologue - Not quite sure about this, its like reading a history book. I'm sure it will become important later on, so I shall reserve judgement on whether this sort of information could be given in story.

Great descriptions of the two boys and excellent use of action to demonstrate their different personalities.
Sudden POV shift to the housekeeper that confused me.
I'm not sure why you have the other characters in this. To be honest, I don't think there is much here that, if important, couldn't be brought in later. The two sections of the boys' story is cracking, this is just slowing me down.
Again, I think you've given me extraneous information. "Bob had said his goodbyes years ago." and the Elvis song seem to sum up most of what I need to know about the state of Bob's marriage, especially considering you're going to get to the scene with Noah in a couple of chapters.
Erm, wouldn't 'being fifteen in '26' make her 88 in 1999?
Great funeral reading!
Hang on, when is this set? Mentions being 15 in 1999, but Jackie has 'been with the Lions since 2008', and apparetly for 18 years, putting us in 2026?!?!?!?!

Overall Kev, I think this is some top class writing. There are a couple of bits of exposistion which slow things down. This is a shame as the main story is driving along brilliantly and I think it could put off readers who only read the first chapter or so. After the drive to the funeral it isn't really an issue, just those opening chapters. The dementia angle is being handled subtly and the story of the two boys (presumably the link to whatever crime will bring Bob back) would stand alone, meaning that both plot lines carry equal weight. I don't read much crime but I like Bob - there is more than enough in here to keep my interest and I shall be back to read some more at some point - have lots of stars!

fledglingowl wrote 803 days ago

K.C. Love the scary title and the scarier cover for your book. Both the short and long pitches were real hooks for me. A detective who's losing his mind and his direction - have to read to see if you can pull it off.
Very smooth. I found no errors in the first two chapters I've read - and believe me I looked. Grammar/style wonderful. The plot is still not clear to me, but the little boys are so realistic, good job. Felt Audrey might be too passive, her boss needs a good shaking to engage with his sons. Anway, keeping you on my WL, high stars and I will be back for more.
The Milche Bride
Clarissa's Kitchen

rikasworld wrote 824 days ago

This is beautifully written, I think. For me it only really gets going once you get to Bob, I assume the part with Nathan and Toby is going to be part of a case and it's fine but Bob's entry really raises the game. You suggest the beginning of dementia very subtly. I liked his granddaughter's description of him as a dinosaur baking in the desert. The whole funeral really rang a bell with me. I've had a lot of those recently, with very elderly parents rather than a wife but the feelings have been very much what you describe so realistically. High stars and staying on my watchlist to read more. PS The Big Sleep, like it!

armonia wrote 827 days ago

I love the relationship between Nathan and Toby. Very real, very brother. Finished Chapter two and If I had time I would read on. I will tomorrow for sure!

As far as word error I am no help, grammar is my enemy. :)

Anyway just wanted to let you know I was taking a look. More on this later.