Chasing the Dark – Sam Hepburn

Joe’s mum is dead.

Killed alongside a stranger, in a hit-and-run car crash. Her last words, a message for someone he doesn’t know. Angry and alone, he takes his dog for a late-night walk, where he finds himself at the gates of a mansion belonging to an old movie star.

It’s here that Joe begins his chase to uncover the truth of what happened that night …

Other Books by the Author

Quicksilver (As Sam Osman)

Serpent’s Gold (As Sam Osman)

Book Trailer

Author Website


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18 thoughts on “Chasing the Dark – Sam Hepburn

  1. To summarize, Joe Slattery’s mum has been killed in a hit and run incident but Joe doesn’t believe it was an accident. He turns detective to discover the truth and uncovers a lot more.
    I really enjoyed this book. There was always drama and I liked the way that Joe becomes a detective. I never knew what was going to happen next and was really shocked when it came to the end. The climax was brilliant and not predictable at all.
    Joel Y7 Newminster

  2. I thought that Chasing the Dark was the type of book that would be an adventure book sort of style. I thought this book had a very good story line and loved how it was mysterious so you didn’t know what would come next. I also liked how the story line was concerned with how Joe had to find out why his mum got killed in a car crash, but he also found other family secrets along the way. Overall I loved this book and thought it was an exciting, nerve-racking adventure book.
    By Sarah

  3. I enjoyed this book because it was exciting and there were a lot of surprises. I liked the way all the different subplots built tension but I got confused when people said that Joe had saved the professor. I liked the way that Joe was so sure he knew the identity of the Vulture but it turned out that she was a woman. Oops!
    This was a great mystery.
    Stephanie Shek, Y6

  4. This book is a brilliant and realistic mystery starring Joe Slattery, a teenage boy who ends up living with an aunt who doesn’t want him following the death of his mum. Joe is convinced her death is suspicious and the story follows his attempts to find out what happened. The twists and multiple plot threads kept me gripped. It was impossible to work out the identity of the Vulture, even at the end. I was wrong!
    Joe’s character develops as the plot unfolds and it was interesting to see how his behaviour changes when he’s with certain characters. I thought this was realistic. I particularly admired Nina and expected something definite to happen between her and Joe because of the chemistry they developed near the end of the book. Perhaps that’s being kept for the sequel?
    Georgia Phillips, Y8

  5. When I listened to an outline of the plot, I thought this book sounded good and I was looking forward to reading it. However, at some points I got really confused about which side who was on!
    It’s an exciting and imaginative story with lots of twists and turns which I appreciated.
    Emma Thorne, Y7

  6. I thought this was one of the best books I’ve read this year. Even though it’s slow at the start, it speeds up once you get past the first chapter. There were an awful lot of characters but they were all very different and interesting. I was rather put off by the strong language which continues throughout the book but I agree that it adds to the realistic feel. This was an amazing book!
    Lydia Goldsmith, Y7

  7. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of action. I felt like it was actually happening as I was reading it. I thought there were too many characters at first but when I got into the story properly, they sort themselves out into groups and this helped me keep all the different threads together as I read. More or less. Overall, I thought this was a real page-turner.
    Grace Coffey, Y6

  8. Chasing the Dark was an exciting read. The author managed to catch my attention as soon as I began to read this story. I particularly like how the author, Sam Hepburn, has created a very curious character, Joe Slattery. I also found the storyline interesting and exciting as each time a new chapter began it was like opening a door to a new piece of evidence. There was plenty of description which allowed me to set the scene and imagine the characters in my mind.

    Overall I really enjoyed this book as it had a great amount of suspense in it. I would definitely recommend this book to mystery lovers!

    By Laiba

    When I first glanced at the cover of the book, I generally thought it was a book for boys. I sensed that the book would be very mysterious – and the blurb said it too. You see, I love books that have a mystery or a ‘chase’ to find something. “Joe Slattery, a boy left with nothing, who must uncover the truth of his hidden inheritance.” This little bit made me feel that there was a huge secret and truth behind the story of this book. And I was right! Up to page 7, I noted down that the story explained in great descriptions about Oz (the dog) and the mysterious glass house (Elysium). What I really loved about the story was that Joe was getting some crazy theories about why Mum was killed, and then the story proved him wrong again and again. One door opened, and then suddenly closed again! One of my FAVOURITE books! Loved it!

    By Mayisha

  9. It was very slow starting but good after a bit. Everyone is a bit sketchy and Joe is a bit of a know it all, like, he can hotwire a car? Really?

    By Josh, Y7

  10. This story was very fast-paced. Within the very first few pages, the protagonist – Joe Slattery – had already started to investigate Elysium! I enjoyed the speed of the book but quite often found myself wanting to skip descriptions so I could get on with the plot.
    I thought Joe’s point of view was credible. He thought and acted in character throughout. I also enjoyed the occasional humour which balanced the sometimes very dark themes and mysterious plot.
    I was mildly irritated that all Joe’s escapes and wild plans worked out. I really couldn’t believe that he was able to open the door of the room he was locked in, steal a car, drive it to a hospital, hotwire another car and finally drive off in that… and get away with it! I’d like at least one thing to have gone wrong so he’d have to improvise.
    Although, I’d have liked a few more mistakes from Joe, he’s an excellent character and I enjoyed him leading me through this action-packed novel.
    Kathleen Swinglehurst, Y8

  11. I liked this book a lot. The character of Joe is engaging and I’d never have predicted the ending. I will try to get the sequel when it comes out.
    Demi Wright, Y8

  12. This book is one of the best I have read in a long time, which is unusual considering that it’s not a style I would usually choose. It was packed with excitement and I had no idea what was going to happen from one chapter to the next. The facts of the case were laid out at the very start, which I liked. I also liked the characters; I sympathised with Nina and Joe and felt that there every triumph was mine. Despite this, I felt Joe’s aunt was too unreasonable to be totally credible. I enjoyed the parts when Joe started to hot wire cars and escape from Ukrainian mob bosses; they were really exciting and I was happy to be carried along. In retrospect, I admit that these super powers were too far-fetched to be believable! This book seemed complete in itself and I can’t really see how it could make a series. Nevertheless, I am eagerly awaiting the next one. This one was brilliant!
    Tom Colvin, Y8

  13. I thought this was an excellent book. I really liked the twist right at the end of this book when Joe discovers he’s not who he has always thought he is. I felt I really had to keep on reading to find out whether Sadie died by accident or because she knew something valuable. There are so many false trails in this story to keep you interested and guessing.
    The only downside for me is that there were so many characters I lost track of whose side they were all on.
    Jessica Hawkins, Y7

  14. I think this is a very good book. It had plenty of action all the way through and the character of Joe hooked me from the very beginning as he wasn’t an obvious hero. My favourite scene is when Joe climbs a wall to find out what’s happening to the professor. It was like a screenplay.
    I thought the author tied up all the loose ends very well at the end and this made up for the bits I couldn’t follow because there were far too many characters to keep track of. I found all the Ukrainians very confusing and I had to keep going back to remember who they were exactly. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this story very much.
    Morgan Brown, Y7

  15. I really enjoyed this book! It was thrilling.
    I liked the way Joe got all the answers to his questions at the end and everything was explained so it didn’t matter that I hadn’t followed all the twists and turns!
    I loved the build up to all the exciting and genuinely scary bits like when Joe meets Yuri for the first time. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.
    Eve Massey, Y6

  16. I didn’t really like this book. I couldn’t get into it and I thought it was very slow and the story line wasn’t going anywhere. I think the storyline has great potential but it just isn’t for me.


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