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

No Other Darkness – Sarah Hilary

Crime Fiction  5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

One of the things, and there were many, that I loved about Sarah Hilary’s debut novel was it took a fairly common issue and went far beyond the obvious whilst simultaneously giving the reader a complex and well-written crime mystery to explore. No Other Darkness is no different although the issue chosen is not as common-place as domestic violence it isn’t so rare to be unheard of.

The mystery starts with the bodies of two young boys found buried in a bunker in a garden by the owner of the house, a father of two young boys and it isn’t long before DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jakes are called to take a look. This is a harrowing story line made more so because we are given a view of the boys last days from the viewpoint of the eldest boy. The detective’s first job is to find out who the boys were and then how they came to be placed in the bunker and by whom The investigation is led by Marnie with her team including DS Ron Carling who is more office based as he looks for leads starting with Missing Persons and the expert help from Fran the pathologist who looks at soil samples and the like.

As in Someone Else’s Skin the author skilfully gives the reader all the clues but allows enough gaps for the wrong conclusion to be reached, time and again as no sooner was one of my theories disproved there was another incorrect assumption to be made. In addition to her other skills this author sets the pace just right, with some contemplative investigation which ends up with an edge-of-your seat action packed finale.

I am a lover of series as I do like the mix of a story arc and current investigation and Sarah Hilary keeps the balance just right with the character’s lives adding to the story with the reader given more information about Marnie Rome’s traumatic background. Noah’s character is also developed and we learn more about his background too and his brother Sol but these strands of the characters’ lives are used to add shades to the story rather than overshadowing it or giving information that has no connection to the case in hand. For once we have a couple of detectives (and a team) which are admirable, there are few of the politics that tend to dominate this genre and despite her background Marnie Rome’s past only serves to underline how ‘normal’ she is for this genre, yes bad things have happened but she is still a compassionate detective who doesn’t allow the past to overshadow her current investigation although she is aware of any comparisons.

If you too are looking for something more in-depth than a simple police procedural then this series is well-worth following and whilst I think this book could easily be read as a stand-alone, you would be seriously missing out if you don’t start at the beginning. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sarah Hilary who sent me a copy of this book which I had to hide out of sight in a cupboard so that I could read and review it close to the publication date of 23 April 2015.

Sarah Hilary lives in Bath with her daughter, where she writes quirky copy for a well-loved travel publisher. She’s also worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. An award-winning short story writer, Sarah won the Cheshire Prize for Literature in 2012. Her debut novel SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN has been selected as a Richard & Judy Autumn 2014 Book Club pick.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 8)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary, the second in the DI Marnie Rome series which is proving to be an excellent follow-on to Someone Else’s Skin

No Other Darkness

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post.

I have just finished Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jaquiery

Death in the Rainy Season

Blurb

Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt. Quercy – dynamic, well-connected – was the magnetic head of a humanitarian organisation which looked after the area’s neglected youth.
Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet. Morel must navigate this complex and politically sensitive crime in a country with few forensic resources, and armed with little more than a series of perplexing questions: what was Quercy doing in a hotel room under a false name? What is the significance of his recent investigations into land grabs in the area? And who could have broken into his home the night of the murder?
Becoming increasingly drawn into Quercy’s circle of family and friends – his adoring widow, his devoted friends and bereft colleagues – Commandant Morel will soon discover that in this lush land of great beauty and immense darkness, nothing is quite as it seems . . .
A deeply atmospheric crime novel that bristles with truth and deception, secrets and lies: Death in the Rainy Season is a compelling mystery that unravels an exquisitely wrought human tragedy. Goodreads

Next I am planning on reading How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost You

Blurb

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?
I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don’t you?
My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my shattered life.
This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he’s dead?
If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (April 7)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My intro this week is from No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary whose debut novel Someone Else’s Skin wowed me last year.

No Other Darkness

Blurb

Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will…
Five years later, the boys’ bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome’s career begins.
Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.
For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this… Amazon

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Five years ago

Fred’s crying again, a snotty noise with a whine in it, like the puppy when he’s shut outside. Archie’s the oldest, so it’s his job to take care of Fred when Mum and Dad aren’t around, but he’s fed up of drying Fred’s eyes and wiping Fred’s nose. Most of all, he’s fed up with telling Fred it’s going to be okay. Archie doesn’t like telling lies, especially not to his little brother.

Please note the quote is from a proof copy

Do you want to know more? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 9)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

It’s been a while since my last Friday Finds and I have some great additions to share with you. Through NetGalley I have been lucky enough to receive copies from three authors whose previous books I’ve enjoyed.

Firstly, Second Life by S J Watson, the author of Before I Go To Sleep which I awarded 4 stars to back in 2011 and has recently been made into a film.

Second Life

Blurb

She loves her husband. She’s obsessed by a stranger.
She’s a devoted mother. She’s prepared to lose everything.
She knows what she’s doing. She’s out of control.
She’s innocent. She’s guilty as sin.
She’s living two lives. She might lose both . . NetGalley

Second Life is being published by Random House UK on 12 February 2015

Secondly, Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt is being published by Amazon on 10 February 2015 and is the second in the DS Allie Shenton series, a shame because I haven’t read the first one, Taunting the Dead although I did enjoy Watching Over You last year

So I purchased Taunting The Dead Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Goodreads

… to enjoy Follow The Leader

Follow The Leader

Blurb

A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E.
Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.
As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.
The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader. NetGalley

And lastly The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer. Amazon kindly informs me that I purchased Blacklands by Belinda Bauer back in August 2010, I then read all of her subsequent novels including the fantastic Rubbernecker although I haven’t yet read The Facts of Life and Death which was published in 2014.

The Shut Eye

Blurb

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.
And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse? NetGalley

The Shut Eye will be published by Random House UK on 12 March 2015

I also have a copy of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh which is due to be published by Little Brown Book Group UK on 23 April 2015.

I Let You Go
Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.
DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.
As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . . Goodreads

I have also been lucky enough to receive a proof copy of Sarah Hilary’s second book No Other Darkness after her wonderful debut Someone Else’s Skin, the first in the Marnie Rome series (and one of the top ten reviews most read by you guys)

No Other Darkness

Blurb

No Other Darkness finds Marnie on a case that hauntingly echoes her own family tragedy. Detective Inspector Marnie Rome and her partner Detective Sergeant Noah Jake are investigating the recent discovery of two dead boys in a bunker beneath a London garden. Terry and Beth, under whose garden the bodies were discovered, have two children of their own, and are also fostering a difficult boy named Clancy. Clancy reminds Marnie of her foster brother Stephen, who murdered her parents. Is Marnie’s past blinding her to the truth? Only one thing is certain: when Terry and Beth’s biological children vanish, Marnie can’t waste a moment finding them. Goodreads

So that concludes my finds for this week!

What have you found to read? Please share in the comments box below.