Publication Date: October 2nd 2014 from Chatto and Windus.
DC Simon Serrailler is faced with his worst crimes yet, and Lafferton is left reeling.
I love the Simon Serrailler novels. Always have done from the moment I picked up “The Various Haunts of Men” all those years ago, and fell in love with a character, his family and the place in which they reside, a town called Lafferton.
Without doubt, whilst every single novel has been brilliant, this was the best one for me since the original – the plot is poignant, scary, heart wrenching and horrific, with some extremely dark themes at the heart of it and a series of events that sends our well known characters into a place of shadows, and will leave you bewildered and overwhelmed. Stunning in its emotional resonance, whilst often being very matter of fact, in a lot of ways with “The Soul of Discretion” Ms Hill has given the series a completely new lease of life and when I put this down my first thought was “how in the HECK am I going to wait until the next one?”. Which says it all.
The writing really is sublime, especially when you think that most people would call this Crime Fiction. I’m not sure I would give it that label, even though there is always a crime and a mystery within the pages. For me it is really more of an ongoing family drama as we watch events unfold around Simon, Cat, Judith, Richard et al, sometimes life affirming, sometimes completely awful, but actually when taken overall pretty close to life. There are ups, there are downs, good things happen, bad things happen, and throughout it all the characters we come to know and love cope with it all or don’t – the sideline that Simon is a Police Officer is really just an anchor around which to base things.
That is not the say the Crime/Mystery elements of the Serailler series are not the very best anchor to have – every single time Ms Hill manages to comes up with an intelligent, emotive and intriguing storyline that adds to the series as a whole whilst allowing her characters to move on in life, with new experiences that always have resonance in the next novel – as such, taken as a body of work, this is really really excellent.
The depth of characterisation is sensational, the prose is gorgeous and flowing, bringing to life the story being told. In the case of this particular instalment there are some truly breathtaking moments – towards the end, as things came together, I was on the edge of my seat…the author achieves a slow but sure build up then BAM, suddenly you are off on a race against time where you are honestly not sure if there will be a happy ending. Clever and boy did I enjoy this one!
This is actually one series that I would highly recommend you read in order rather than dip in and out of, it is one of my collection series (yes chronic impatience meant I devoured the story via netgalley but I will certainly be buying a physical version to accompany the others) and one that in a few years, perhaps when it is done, I shall look forward to going back to and reading start to finish.
Highly Recommended. Especially as a series.
Find out more here: http://www.susanhill.org.uk/
Follow the author on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/susanhillwriter
Happy Reading Folks!