Recent Events

Saturday, 15 April 2017

‘Quieter Than Killing’ by Sarah Hilary

Published by Headline 
9 March 2017.  
ISBN 978-1-4722-2644-0

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome comes with a lot of baggage because her parents were brutally killed in their home by her fourteen-year old foster brother, Stephen Keele.  Whilst she was completely unaware of her parent's inappropriate approach to Stephen, Marnie is nevertheless haunted by Stephen's attitude towards her. Stephen, who believes that Marnie could and should have prevented some of the ill treatment he received as a foster child, blames Marnie for many of his problems. He is now serving his sentence for murder in an adult prison and obviously takes satisfaction in manipulating Marnie from behind bars. 

At work DI Rome is searching for a common factor between three violent attacks whose victims appear to have no obvious connection to each other.  Interestingly there is one thing that does link them. The victims have all been in prison or detention centers some years previously.  Are these revenge attacks by vigilantes seeking rough justice?  Initially none of the victims is willing to give a description of their attacker - or attackers. Why is that?  DS Noah Jake, whose wayward but loveable brother, Sol, has links to some very undesirable characters and gives DS Jake more than his fair share of grief, assists DI Rome in her investigations. The situation is further complicated when DI Rome's tenants are brutally attacked in the family home that she has rented out. It seems that the assaults are personally linked to DI Rome.  Whoever committed them had inside knowledge of her childhood home. They knew precisely where to look for a box of DI Rome's trinkets that had gone missing –well hidden in the house - at the time of her parent's deaths.  Marnie correctly suspects that the controlling hand of her foster brother Stephen is behind the reappearance of the box.

Whilst DI Rome, DS Jake and their team search for the attackers, we also follow the misfortunes and thoughts of a remarkably characterful ten-year-old boy.  Finn has been abducted, beaten, starved, and made to slave away at housework until he is in a state of collapse and we feel thoroughly sickened by the horrific abuse to which he is being subjected.  Much later that we find out how Finn fits in with the rest of this story. 

This is the fourth in the DI Rome series and although I have not read the first three I did not find this a problem.  The themes running through the book are of justice, revenge and the horrific consequences of child abuse.  The characters are so well drawn and believable that I ended up wishing DI Rome would stop taking so much upon herself and that DS Jake's brother was not such a problem for him.  There are many other characters in this multi-layered, complicated and thought-provoking story.  You need to concentrate when reading it, but the effort is more than worthwhile.
Reviewer Angela Crowther

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel Someone Else’s Skin won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was the Observer’s Book of the Month, a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness and Tastes Like Fear continue the DI Marnie Rome series. Sarah lives in Bath.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

No comments:

Post a Comment