Fresh Talent: The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds

Fresh Talent: The Dark Inside by Rod Reynolds

The Dark Inside – Rod Reynolds

1946, Texarkana: a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Disgraced New York reporter Charlie Yates has been sent to cover the story of a spate of brutal murders – young couples who’ve been slaughtered at a local date spot. Charlie finds himself drawn into the case by the beautiful and fiery Lizzie, sister to one of the victims, Alice – the only person to have survived the attacks and seen the killer up close. But Charlie has his own demons to fight, and as he starts to dig into the murders he discovers that the people of Texarkana have secrets that they want kept hidden at all costs. Before long, Charlie discovers that powerful forces might be protecting the killer, and as he investigates further his pursuit of the truth could cost him more than his job…

Loosely based on true events, The Dark Inside is a compelling and pacy thriller that heralds a new voice in the genre. It will appeal to fans of RJ Ellory, Tom Franklin, Daniel Woodrell and True Detective.

Read if you loved: James Lee Burke  /   Daniel Woodrell  /  David Peace

Rod Reynolds Biography

Rod Reynolds was born in London and, after a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, he decided to get serious about writing.

He recently completed City University’s two-year Crime Writing Masters course and The Dark Inside is his first novel.

He lives in London with his wife and daughter.


Rod Reynolds on the Inspiration Behind The Dark Inside

On February 22nd, 1946, a hooded man stepped out of the darkness of a secluded lovers’ lane near Texarkana, Texas, and brutally attacked a young couple parked up in their car. The youngsters, Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larey, were enjoying a moment of privacy after a double date. The couple survived, but Larey was subjected to a vicious sexual assault, and Hollis suffered a fractured skull from a blow so hard, Larey mistook it for a gunshot.

They were the only people to see the attacker and survive.

Over the next three months, the masked man went on to kill five times, terrorising the twin towns of Texarkana Texas-Arkansas. When journalist Kenneth Dixon arrived to cover the murders, he found himself in a place so pervaded by fear, “the shadows seem to be breathing.”

These horrific true crimes, known as The Texarkana Moonlight Murders, serve as the inspiration for my novel, The Dark Inside. I stumbled across the case by chance, but was immediately gripped by what I read. The killings were savage and arbitrary in nature, but it wasn’t that alone that seized me; it was the way this monstrous killer brought an entire town to its knees, leaving the locals paralysed with fear. I started to imagine what it would be like to live under those conditions, an atmosphere of dread hanging over everyone and everything, and immediately I knew I had the seeds of a novel – and a story I was desperate to tell.

My hero – in the loosest sense of the word – is washed-up New York reporter Charlie Yates. Sent cross-country to cover the killings after a bust-up with his editor, Charlie arrives in Texarkana only to be immediately plunged into this nightmarish world of fear and murder – one he discovers is fuelled by secrets, deception and corruption.

Charlie started out as a voice, and nothing more – a world-weary, angry, morally-compromised narrator that I could hear in my head; one that was nevertheless not so hardened as to be unmoved by the horror he finds in Texarkana. His profession, his backstory, his character all came together later, as I planned and then wrote the novel. There are parts of me in Charlie – not necessarily ones I’d like to admit to – and parts of people I have known. But as you always hope will happen when creating a protagonist, he took on a life of his own, and in doing so, took centre-stage; the story of Charlie’s quest for personal redemption became inextricably bound-up with his hunt to find the killer. And as a result, The Dark Inside became a story about much more than simply discovering who was under the hood.