- Author: Sarah Hilary
- Published: February 2014 by Headline
- Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural, Fiction, Book Review
Introducing D.I. Marnie Rome, this powerful novel that will enthral fans of Val McDermid and Mo Hayder.
Called to a women’s refuge to take a routine witness statement, D.I. Marnie Rome instead walks in on an attempted murder.
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome focuses on her job, leaving little room for anything else. She knows first hand what it’s like to deal with a terrible and violent loss. Five years ago her parents were horrifically murdered by her foster brother. The resulting emotions are what drive her. Her colleagues know of her past and how hard she fought back, but few know the real Marnie.
During the course of an investigation Marnie and her partner, Detective Sergeant Noah Jakes visit a women’s shelter to interview a resident and walk into an attempted murder. Hope Proctor has stabbed her husband, Leo, in self-defence. Witnessed by several of the residents, yet they have differing accounts of the attack. And the big question is, how did Leo get into the shelter in the first place, when the building was supposed to be secure at all times. It was only by chance that Marnie and Noah were there. They wanted to interview Ayana Mirza about her brother who is wanted in connection with a serious assault.
‘The door was on the latch,’ Noah said. ‘Was it?’
“Yes.’ Marnie stood taking stock of the silence.
‘Maybe they’ve evacuated the building, while the scaffolding’s put up.’
‘Not according to Ed. Support staff work nine to five, Monday to Friday. There should be someone in charge. Come on.’
They started down an empty corridor that smelt of stale cigarettes, talcum powder and milk. At the far end: a fire exit, closed. The silence was thicker than ever.
Noah rubbed his fingers, chilled. It wasn’t just the quiet; everything felt wrong about the refuge, as if they were walking into a trap or –
A scream tore up from their right.
Marnie Rome broke into a run.
Noah stayed at her heels, the back of his neck spooked into goose bumps.
Domestic violence is at the heart of the story; between couples and families who commit appalling acts in the name of honour, with the added horrors of female genital mutilation, homophobia and racism. It makes uncomfortably dark reading in parts. There are several threads playing out simultaneously, which overlap and capture the attention as they unfold.
This is a really good, skilfully written debut novel with a compelling, believable story line, realistic dialogue and credible characters. The narrative takes several unexpected and shocking turns. The pace doesn’t slow and the plot becomes ever more complicated, the reader only finding out the plot points when they are revealed to Marnie and her team as they work through the investigation. A quintessential police procedural, chasing the truth.
Marnie Rome is a strong and complex female lead with a dark past which has a huge impact on her character and the way she works. I think there’s a lot of potential for her and much more to learn, which is how it should work with a series. I enjoyed Noah’s character too. He’s Jamaican and gay, and has obstacles of his own to overcome. A more reserved personality than Marnie, but just as dependable, and has a great deal of respect for Marnie’s experience and knowledge. They work well together. Marnie also has support and a burgeoning relationship with psychologist Ed Belloc, who is connected to the refuge.
Look forward to following up with book two.
About Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was the Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series is out now. The Marnie Rome series is being developed for television.