Header collage featuring the cover of Night Angels by Danuta Reah

Night Angels

Are you the hunter, or the hunted?

“A tightly plotted thriller.” – Jenni Murray, Yorkshire Post

This website contains affiliate links. If you buy items using these links, I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.


Eliza is a forensic linguist, assisting the police in their attempts to identify a dead woman. But someone is trying to stop her. Can she find the answers before there are more deaths?

Seal: Nominated for the CWA Gold Dagger award
Seal: Nominated for the CWA Steel Dagger award

Night Angels

Night Angels is a novel of psychological suspense set in Sheffield and Hull.

One winter’s night, Gemma, a young research worker is driving to Sheffield across the Snake Pass.

As a game, she pretends that the black BMW she keeps seeing is following her. And then, on the loneliest stretch of the road, without explanation, her car breaks down. She is never seen again.

Unidentified dead

In Hull, a woman is found dead in a hotel room. Her face has been destroyed. Is there a connection between this death and the missing researcher, or the prostitute found dead in the Humber Estuary who may have been brought into the country illegally?

Forensic linguistics

Roz, like Suzanne in Silent Playgrounds, and Ania in The Last Room is a forensic linguist who specialises in minority languages, and establishing a speaker’s country of origin from their speech. She unwittingly holds the clue to Gemma’s disappearance, but is oblivious to the danger that is drawing closer and closer.

Anna is a young Roma woman who has escaped from the traffickers who brought her into the country. She is running from the dangers of her past, unaware that she faces the worst dangers ahead.

People traffickers

Senior Investigating Officer Roy Farnham sees the deaths of these prostitutes as the deaths of expendable women on the streets of Hull. Lynne Jordan, who first appears in Only Darkness, is the detective whose job it is to hunt down traffickers of women from eastern Europe. She is vehemently opposed to Farnham’s beliefs. As the investigation develops, she realises there may be a darker and more sinister force at work. It sometimes seems that the only one who cares about the dead women is the unknown person who lights candles to the dead in an old church.


Meanwhile, a stalker watches Roz in the silent corridors of the university at night, and as she sits alone in her rambling house in inner-city Sheffield. Anna hides on the streets of Hull, vulnerable and alone.

A killer capable of chilling violence is loose on the streets, and the only clue to what is happening is concealed in a recording of one woman telling her story – in a language that so far no one can recognise or understand.

How I wrote Night Angels

Night Angels arose from my work with asylum seekers in Sheffield. I worked for a charity that supports people whose initial asylum claims have failed, which means they are no longer entitled to any housing (which is usually group housing) or any financial support. I encountered too many young women who were surviving through prostitution, and were very vulnerable.

It also arose from my work in linguistics and forensic linguistics, something the book has in common with Silent Playgrounds, Strangers and The Last Room. I’m fascinated by how much our language tells others about us that we are not aware of.

I wanted to write about these vulnerable women and about the people who exploit them.

Hull and Sheffield

I was also fascinated by the landscapes of Sheffield and Hull, and the landscapes surrounding those cities. Sheffield is a city of hills and valleys carved by the rivers that run through the city and which were the early source of power for the steel industry. Hull lies in a very flat area of distant horizons and big skies. There is also the Humber Estuary that I have used in Night Angels, but also in Someone Who Isn’t Me.

The Snake Pass

The Snake Pass. © Clem Rutter under the Creative Commons 2.5 licence.

Snake Pass

I used to travel across Snake Pass a lot as a child, as my grandmother lives in a small village beyond Bury. The loneliness of the tops, of the hills Kinder Scout and Bleaklow that shadow the road. I often used to think how frightening it would be to break down up there at night. Even today, phone signals are not good, and when I wrote the book, they were non-existent.

Arts Tower and the Paternoster

I also wanted to make use of the possibilities of the Arts Tower in Sheffield University, with its paternoster lift, a lift that moves continually until late in the evening, carrying people up and down the building.

I also make use of the maze of old Victorian houses that the university has moved into and converted into offices, but the gardens and the gennels that link the gardens and the side streets create what is almost a network of secret passages that run between the buildings. Clearly, a useful system for someone who is up to no good, and there is someone up to no good in Night Angels.

Some foreign editions of Night Angels

Here are some of the foreign editions of Night Angels. These may or may not be currently available – check your favourite bookseller.