Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Tastes Like Fear – Sarah Hilary


Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this, the latest in the DI Marnie Rome series, from the publishers Headline as Sarah Hilary really has bought something quite special to a genre which already has plenty of sub-genres. This series is not quite a police procedural, there is far too much detail about the perpetrators and victims thoughts, hopes and fears in her books for that, but nor is a full on psychological thriller, as there is the ever-present police work with its procedures and methodology, although refreshingly, not so much about police politics to fit into that category, but hey wherever these books fit, I love them.

Tastes Like Fear didn’t disappoint in any way at all although I was a little wary when I read the synopsis as the words teenagers and harm jumped out at me, but I needn’t have worried because of course Sarah Hilary has tackled the subject of teenage runaways without resorting to endless descriptions of excessive violence, not that this book is all nicey-nicey, but I really got the feeling that this is a book that will take you behind the headlines, to the reality of life as a teen in the UK (and probably many other places in the world too.)

As in the previous two books there are multiple strands of plot as Marnie Rome and her partner DS Noah Jakes are off trying to find out who the girl was that caused a fatal traffic accident by running out into the road half-dressed. With two sets of casualties from the car accident, a missing runaway girl what the pair don’t need is a body found in a show-room apartment at Battersea Power Station. Just working out how whoever killed the girl could get into the building is a big enough puzzle. And that’s without the personal issues that both are facing with their brothers. These storylines subtly intersect with the other strands of the novel enhancing the story without taking over the investigation into a number of missing girls in the Bristol area.

One of the best things about this series is that it is firmly set in the present time; the author covers subjects as wide as gangs terrorising a council estate along with the misplaced teenagers who are disenfranchised for a whole variety of reasons, and not those that we instantly think of. The way some of our young people need to hide in a world where privacy isn’t always possible. With all the secondary characters as finely drawn as the chief protagonists, this is one book where I didn’t doubt for one moment that the story which was unfolding before my eyes could happen, the mark of a truly skilled writing by Sarah Hilary.

Although the reader has an insight into where the girls are and what is happening in their lives through short excerpts that doesn’t mean that this is a book without a mystery and nor is it one without action, I found myself gripping the book tightly as the ending got nearer and everything began to become clear.

This is an outstanding read, one I would recommend to anyone who likes intelligent crime fiction, this is a book that made me think about those who evade our eyes in the busy modern world. Although I’m sure this would work well-enough as a stand-alone read, you will be missing out if you don’t experience this series from the beginning.

I’d like to thank the publishers Headline who sent me a proof copy of Tastes Like Fear prior to publication on 7 April 2016. This review is my thank you to them.

Previous books in the series:

Someone Else’s Skin
No Other Darkness


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

21 thoughts on “Tastes Like Fear – Sarah Hilary

  1. Woah. This looks amazing. I stopped reading thrillers since I was 15 because they all seem to follow the formula that was getting too tiring for me. I love how this one delves deeper to the characters. I don’t remember a thriller whose main characters I could still remember so this looks like one awesome treat. Noting it down!

    Great review btw. Now I want to read it.


  2. It sounds as though there’s a lot of richness in this one, Cleo, and that’s great. You make an interesting point, too, about that fine line between a psychological thriller and a police procedural. I’ve been reading some books lately that sort of fall in that same category. Glad you enjoyed this as much as you did.


    1. This is a really good series which has real depth. I know what you mean about switching back and forth between time periods, I like those books but it is a nice change to be in one time-line for a change.


  3. Am just reading it now and loving it even more than the previous ones in the series! And I loved those. But unfortunately my batteries on the ereader tend to run down very quickly, so I keep having to lay it aside to recharge. That’s the advantage of physical books!!!


  4. Very interesting and enticing me to read this series. Should I start with the first book? Is that as good as this one?
    I’m fussy about psychological suspense. If it’s combined with a police procedural, as is Fiona Barton’s The Widow, then I can probably deal with it.
    I think we mystery readers are always on the look-out for new authors, but we all have likes and dislikes.


  5. Great review, I must get to this. Sounds quite like Eva Dolan’s work when you mention it has a strong contemporary streak. I enjoy them, but worry it will date the book faster. I guess only time will tell.


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