April 2017

Sarah Hilary - Quieter Than Killing

"Her writing is of the highest calibre, and her novels are always thought provoking."

Marnie and Noah are investigating a series of assaults. The attacks appear to be random, the targets young and old, men and women, but all were convicted of violent crimes and recently released. They are on the perpetrator's trail when outside events come to the force.

Marnie's parents' house has been targeted by a gang of youths, her tenants attacked in an apparent robbery and Marnie can't help but feel there's a connection to Stephen, her foster brother. Noah's brother Sol is about to fall foul of the gang he pretends not to be involved in.

As they investigate, they begin to question whether all three cases are linked ... after all, some crimes are quieter and more insidious than killing.

There is an underlying sadness to 'Quieter Than Killing'. Yes, it is a work of fiction, but I cannot help thinking about the amount of children who are the forgotten generation - lost to gangs and crime at such a young age. This is all too real in 21st century Britain, and Sarah Hilary has brilliantly tapped into that sense of lost innocence and youth, to deliver a powerful and chilling thriller.

I like Marnie Rome. She's a tough detective, yet she has heart. She thinks and sees the case from various angles and uses logic rather than intuition. However, so heavily scarred by her past, she has a vulnerability that Hilary allows to escape, subtly, from time to time, and that is where Marnie Rome shines as one of the top detectives of modern crime fiction.

Her sidekick, DS Noah Jake, is a total contrast to Marnie. He's younger, stable, happy, yet he too has family issues that return to haunt him. The love for his brother is touching yet is severely tested. I often wondered about how much you should help family members in trouble before you have to let them go while reading Noah's story.

It is not difficult to understand why Sarah Hilary won a top award with her debut novel. Her writing is of the highest calibre, and her novels are always thought provoking. They will stay with you long after you've finished.

Reviewed by: M.W.

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