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The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill

The Risk of Darkness (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Susan Hill

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4453923,513 (3.64)97
Title:The Risk of Darkness
Authors:Susan Hill
Info:Knopf Canada (2006), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill (2006)


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This is a chilling book with two key storylines. One is continued from the previous book, ‘The Pure in Heart’, in which children are disappearing. The second explores the line where grief and anger descends into madness, where we can be threatened in our homes, in the streets which are familiar beneath our feet, and will never feel safe again.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler is called to Yorkshire where a child has been abducted. Is it the same modus operandi, is it the same kidnapper?
Simon is also squabbling with his sister Cat about how he treats his girlfriends. She thinks he isolates himself too much, he likes women but doesn’t want them to get too close. All the regular day-to-day life of the Serrailler family continues from the previous two books, providing a warm framework of family and community, into which barges the threat of violence. Cat, with a newborn baby, struggles to balance baby caring and the demands of a GP. She feels responsible for her patients, the ordinary people of Lafferton.
Meanwhile, we get glimpses into the lives of these ordinary people in their homes. Are they going to be victims or criminals? Susan Hill blends invisibly the fear factor of crime fiction and the security blanket of familiar family lives, daily routine, eating breakfast, squabbling with each other, going to work. I turn the page, not knowing what is going to happen next, wanting to know but not wanting it to happen. She is a master of her craft.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 5, 2015 |
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

I’ve been ripping through these audiobooks, since they’re short (well, they are compared to my last two years of listening comprised of the Outlander and Game of Thrones series), read very nicely and each one picks up where the last one left off. This makes them a very easy listen. I’d read The Risk of Darkness on its own a few years ago, and concluded at the time that Death was the central character, but I’d say that’s probably true of all of Hill’s books. Perhaps what I meant was that the novel doesn’t really have a central character, not even Simon Serrailler whose professional adventures and angst-filled private life are constantly interrupted by the subplots shouting for attention.

This novel’s main problem is its multiple plot lines, which are interesting but lend an air of messiness that no doubt reflects real life but won’t provide a satisfying read for crime fans used to having stories tied up a little more neatly. I found Hill to be less than completely convincing with the story of the man driven bonkers by bereavement and by the insertion of the priest with the atheist mother, although I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader who was on tenterhooks wondering if this was a Love Interest (the priest is female) and how, if it was, Hill was possibly going to make it work with the decidedly secular Simon.

Where I found the novel most compelling was in the story of the young single mother and her daughter, who are profoundly affected by the resolution of the child murder case. I’m not sure what it says about a novel’s main story when what I liked most about it was a fairly minor subplot, although I did find the clifftop scene memorable and wish Hill could write more such unlikely adventures for Simon. Realism be damned. ( )
1 vote JaneSteen | Jan 5, 2015 |
I love, love, love the Simon Serailler series by Susan Hill. This is the third of the series. I’m not sure why I love it so much, but I expect it is because she creates such fully rounded characters, with lives far beyond the mysteries. And her detective is fascinating, maddening, and appealing to me. And his family is just as complex as he is.

Moral questions and assumptions we make about victims and perps are often turned on end.

I’m going to jump into book 4 tomorrow. I can’t wait! ( )
2 vote majkia | Apr 23, 2014 |
Love this series. Complex characters, moral questions, well developed,relationships among the character s combined with a strong element of mystery make this a winning series ( )
1 vote ccayne | Nov 24, 2013 |
Hill really is a fine writer, and this series really hits its stride here. ( )
1 vote ehines | Nov 3, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0701176822, Hardcover)

Simon Serrailler's story began in "The Various Haunts of Men" (about a serial killer) and continued with "The Pure in Heart" (about a kidnapped schoolboy). Susan Hill is not afraid to tackle difficult issues, nor to face up to the realities of stress in an ordinary English police station. Her third crime novel, "The Risk of Darkness", even more compulsive and convincing, follows up the child abduction and explores the crazy grief of a widowed husband, a derangement, which turns to obsession and threats, violence and terror. Meanwhile, handsome, introverted Simon Serrailler, whose cool reserve has broken the hearts of several women, finds his own heart troubled by the newest recruit to the Cathedral staff: a feisty female Anglican priest with red hair..."The Risk of Darkness" is packed with action and adventure. Like "Various Haunts", it hinges on a terrific twist, which comes as a complete surprise to the reader; and like "The Pure in Heart", it deals in depth with complex daily problems.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Following on from the child abduction in her previous novel 'The Pure in Heart' Susan Hill explores the crazy grief of a widowed husband, a derangement which turns to obsession and threats, violence and terror.

(summary from another edition)

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