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Saturday 1 October 2016

‘Tastes like Fear’ by Sarah Hilary

Published by Headline,
7 April 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-3683-8

A homeless girl is offered shelter, in a house where safety is as terrifying as the streets ... then there’s a car crash, caused by a girl who’s run away. DI Marnie Rome hopes that maybe she’s located lost school girl May Beswick, whose parents and spiky sister Loz are desperate to find her. When a girl’s body is found, the hunt is on ...

A short summary doesn’t do justice to the plot strands of this riveting read. Hilary’s tale is spun around the edgy tensions of being adolescent: wanting security, yet also wanting to experiment to find out who you are, and in the process risk danger. The tale is told in the third person, mostly from DI Rome’s persepctive, but the book opens with Christie being found by Harm, the terrifying controller of the lost girls. She becomes house-mother to his world, and the narration of life there is continued by Aimee, Harm’s favourite, who has been given the role of invalid child. DI Rome and her sidekick, DS Noah Jake, are believable characters: dedicated, intelligent, good at their jobs in spite of hindrance from their superior officers. Both have difficult relationships with a brother: Rome’s parents were murdered by her stepbrother, now in prison, but still trying to play games with her, and Jake’s brother is entangled with drug dealers. Another key character is Loz, May’s spiky, determined younger sister, who decides to take a hand in bringing May’s killer to justice. The writing and characters draw you into the story, and the bleakness of teenage life in an inner city, the cry for help that is hidden behind aggression, is vividly drawn. The plotting is very clever, with several twists I really wasn’t expecting, and the ending satisfying. This is the third in the series, and although there are no spoilers, the relationship between Rome and her brother particularly is on-going, so you might like to start with Someone Else’s Skin.

An atmospheric and compelling PP set in the nightmare world of teenagers in run-down London estates, and on the streets. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Sarah Hilary was born in Cheshire before moving to the South East to study for a First Class Honours Degree in the History of Ideas. Her debut, Someone Else's Skin, won the 2015 Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. Tastes Like Fear, the third book in the D.I. Marnie Rome series, was published in April 2016.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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