The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the third installment of the Simon Serrailler novels by Susan Hill. I read the first one, The Various Haunts of Men, a few years ago, but only got around to reading the second one, The Pure In Heart, a few days ago. As I had this book on the shelf, I thought I might as well dive straight in while the story was still fresh in my mind, as this novel continues on from book two.
Quite early on in the book we find out the identity of the person who abducted a child from his garden, and that revelation in itself is a bit of a twist. By the end of the book the person in question hasn't confessed or given any reason or motive for their crime - I'm assuming it will be followed up in book #4.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say that there are a few deaths throughout this book, and although they are not all connected to each other, they are tied together in one way or another either by Simon, or his sister Cat (a local GP).
In The Pure In Heart I found Simon Serrailler to be quite an enigmatic, appealing character, but I didn't feel that as much in this book. He is an introvert, and so am I, so I can definitely relate to that side of his personality. However, he came across at times as very self-absorbed and selfish, and I hope that those attributes aren't assumed to be a normal part of introversion. I also wasn't too impressed with his treatment of his ex-'girlfriend' (if that's the right word for her), even though she came across as quite annoying.
As I mentioned in my review of The Pure In Heart, the chapters relating to the missing, presumed murdered, children, I found very hard to read. I'm not saying that I was completely immune to them before, but since I became a mother myself, I find they really affect me, and make me feel quite upset.
I thought this was a well-written story - not a straightforward crime, or detective, novel because it focuses more on the relationships of all the characters, rather than just being a straight 'whodunnit'. But I can't say that I really enjoyed it, because of the subject matter and the effect it has on me. I actually felt very down when I'd finished it, a bit like when you've watched a news bulletin full of tragic events. I think I should avoid novels like this, so I don't think I'll be reading any more of the Simon Serrailler series.
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