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A Breach of Security (Kindle Single) by…
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A Breach of Security (Kindle Single)

by Susan Hill

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271402,159 (3.46)8

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Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

Authors who have a series are often advised to either make the first book in the series permanently free or to write one or more short stories as giveaways to attract new readers to the series. The fact that I found A Breach of Security free on Audible, and its seeming disconnectedness with the series as a whole, suggests the latter—if I were Susan Hill I’d certainly object to giving away the first book in the Serrailler series, as it’s possibly the best one and works well as a standalone book (which it might have originally been). A Breach of Security is (at the time of writing) also available as a Kindle Single, which carries an Amazon-set price of 99 cents. Well worth it if you’re looking for a short crime read with a bit of a difference.

I’ve seen other reviewers cover the incongruities in the story—Sam’s apparent age and the absence of certain characters and story lines, not to mention no consequences from the last book’s dramatic ending—so no need to talk about them except to submit my theory of this being meant as a pull-in for new readers. Which seems to have been written before or during the writing of The Soul of Discretion—another of my theories about Hill is that she’s a pantser, a writer who doesn’t plan her endings but lets the story unfold itself as she writes it. I would LOVE to see her editing process. For my own part I rather liked the detaching of the soap-opera aspects of the series, leaving in the relationship that works throughout the books—Simon’s closeness with his triplet Cat.

Once again, dear old Lafferton proves itself to be just as dangerous a place to be as the fictional county of Midsomer. This time it’s a gay pride parade that gets disrupted by right-wing thugs, throwing the police into a bit of a wobbly over an upcoming military parade that’ll have a royal guest.

Susan Hill’s always been fond of the short story form, and shows her skills in this one with a very nice bit of misdirection. She also, interestingly, shows her main character being completely clueless about what’s actually going down—he’s part of the action because of his job but not because of his abilities. That’s highly realistic, and makes a very wry point about blindness in official circles, but I’m not sure whether I’d want to showcase my detective by having him fail.

Still, Hill is never one to follow the predictable path and that’s one of the things I like about her. I get the impression that her stories are completely hers, with absolutely no concessions to the market or the publishing industry. I love the way she writes and (most of the time) relish the air of brooding that hangs over all her characters, any and all of whom may fall prey to disaster any moment. I might cavil at some aspects of the Serrailler series, but it never bores me. ( )
  JaneSteen | Jan 24, 2015 |
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