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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.
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.
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.