A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Something in the man’s eyes strike her mute. An impulse to run fires her nerves. And then he shows her a gun.

Map of the Dark cover image

Despite her turbulent family circumstances, FBI agent Elsa Myers cannot resist a call to arms when a teenage girl goes missing in Queens. Initial reports indicated that Ruby might have left under her own steam, but as time goes on, her family and the authorities become increasingly concerned that she was taken against her will.

During the course of the investigation, Elsa will have to fight to overcome her own demons, all of which are being dragged into the light the further into the case she digs. Can she bring Ruby home alive?


A Map of the Dark is a well-paced thriller/mystery surrounding a missing teenager; pretty standard fare for me! I have more recently been sticking to crime novels that are set in the UK, as I find this helps with immersion, but in this case the setting was somewhat incidental. There are two main threads for the reader to focus on here; what has happened to Ruby, and whether Elsa will find her in time, and what happened in Elsa’s past that is being dredged to the surface as she gets more involved in the case?

I enjoyed this book, as it kept me guessing, and I found the conclusion both satisfying and well supported by the preceding story. I get a little tired of the ‘shock-twist’ ending that seems to have been pulled out of thin air, but that’s not what I got here. All in all this was a well rounded story with characters I grew to care about, even in the short time I spent with them.

Oxygen drains away like the end of a brilliant afternoon, leaving you in a lavender twilight, and for a split second you’re convinced that it’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been.

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