Author: Sarah Hilary
Published: October 2017 by Headline
Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review
It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.
DI Marnie Rome, DS Noah Jake and the team are investigating a series of violent vigilante type assaults. Nothing was taken from the victims and the connection between them seems to be they all have a criminal record. There are no witnesses, no DNA found at the scenes and no CCTV footage. When one of the victims dies the case escalates, turning into a full-blown murder enquiry.
There are several threads running simultaneously, including the abduction of a ten-year old boy by someone as yet unknown, being held at an unspecified location. These sections make for uneasy and sometimes distressing reading. Personal aspects are brought into play concerning Marcie and Noah. Marcie’s parents’ home is ransacked and the tenants attacked, badly enough to need hospitalization. It was what hadn’t been trashed, what had been taken, that rang bells for Marnie and despite her best efforts, checking the house brought back the horrific scenes from six years ago.
Noah’s brother, Sol, is out of contact leading Noah to suspect his younger brother’s gang affiliations are still active, despite his protestations to the contrary. Noah is desperately hoping his brother isn’t implicated in the ongoing case.
Sol’s sixth phone in a month. Upgrades, or something worse? Gang members changed their phones daily, afraid of surveillance. Eight months ago, Sol had said he was getting out, shaking off the last ties to the gang he’d run with since they were kids. What would Trident’s DS Kennedy make of Noah’s brother? Was Sol on his radar? He’d been close to any number of crimes, always swearing he stood wide of the serious stuff. Thank God he’d never served a custodial sentence, since their vigilante appeared to be targeting Londoners with violent pasts.
Marnie misses her friend and mentor, Commander Tim Welland who has been forced to take sick leave. His temporary replacement, DCS Lorna Ferguson, is brought in from Manchester. Her aggressive and unfriendly manner isn’t appreciated by the team.
A character driven, dark and well constructed plot. The tense narrative is written from several third person perspectives, giving a rounded view of each of the story threads, while at same time subtly sending out misleading and distracting clues to keep the reader guessing. The ongoing development of the major players is excellent, giving a deeper understanding of each one. The most fascinating, and chilling, aspect is the interaction and dynamics between Marnie and her foster brother, Stephen, as more is revealed about the events that turned Marnie’s life upside down. I think this story arc has just about run its course now and will hopefully conclude in the next book. Won’t have to wait too long to find out!
Sarah Hilary is adept at using her story to highlight, without being preachy, certain issues in society that need addressing, and how the effects can often be long term and devastating. A compelling and intense read.