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The Risk of Darkness: Simon Serrailler Book 3 (Simon Serrailler 3) Paperback – 3 Sep 2009


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The Risk of Darkness: Simon Serrailler Book 3 (Simon Serrailler 3) + The Pure In Heart: Simon Serrailler Book 2 (Simon Serrailler 2) + The Vows of Silence: Simon Serrailler Book 4 (Simon Serrailler 4)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099535025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099535027
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Hill is a prize-winning novelist, having been awarded the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which was adapted for the stage and became a great success in the West End. Her books include a collection of exquisite short stories, The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, and the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler. Susan Hill lives in Gloucestershire, where she runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books.

Product Description

Review

"Stunning" (Ruth Rendell)

"A master storyteller" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Exhilarating...addictive" (Independent)

Book Description

The Third Simon Serrailler Case

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. B. Kelly VINE VOICE on 17 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
This book could almost be classed in the dystopian novel genre. Hill depicts a society in which violence, whether random or targetted, is everywhere, as civilisation, even in the heart of an English cathedral city, crumbles.

I agree that it can't really be called a crime novel. The story follows on immediately from the Pure in Heart, but the child-abductor of that novel is arrested at the beginning and the story meanders off in different directions: a man literally driven mad with grief by his wife's death; a young clergywoman struggling to realise that she's taken the wrong job and having to cope with murder in the family. As before, loose ends are left and who knows if they'll ever be knitted up?

Hill has a habit of beginning a new chapter talking about 'He' or 'She' and not letting on who the character is for a couple of paragraphs. I found this irritating, as if she was just playing guessing games with me. Such tricks are best deployed to some purpose: when the reader is to be misled over the identity of the character who has taken central stage.

I also struggle with the character of Simon Serailler and find it hard to care what happens to him, which is a major flaw. Cold fish is putting it mildly. The way he treats his ex-girlfriend is unforgiveable. Given the warmth of his twin sister, there seems no real explanation for how he is. There are some good major characters but minor ones often seem underwritten.

That said, I kept turning the pages.
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Urbangril21 on 2 Jun 2006
Format: Hardcover
I think this is the book I have looked forward to most eagerly in the last year, having been bowled over by the first two Simon Serrailler books. And I wasn't in the least disappointed. If you liked the first two, which you really do need to have read before starting this one, you will love, love, love this book. It's got a twist to rival the twist in The Various Haunts of Men - and no, I am not even going to hint at what it is! -, the characterisation of Simon and his family, not to mention the new major characters, both good and bad, continues to fascinate, the plot is as gripping as the first two books, and the atmosphere is beautifully done. I can't be too specific because I don't want to spoil any of the surprises Susan Hill has in store for her readers. But I do highly recommend this book and hope very much that we don't have to wait a whole year for no. 4 in the series!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L Barrington on 9 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
All was going well with this book for some time. The characters are obvious stereotypes, but I quite warmed to them and their storylines and found the crime storyline interesting and a page turner.

It all fell apart for me because I kept waiting for an amazing twist that never happened (this must have been the small twist near the beginning of the book which, while cleverly done, wasn't the genius that I was expecting, so I assumed that there must be a better one coming towards the end to justify the hype. There wasn't). The book isn't given a proper ending and I was really hoping that all the various characters and storylines would end up intertwining, but no, this didn't happen either. I was left feeling cheated, as if I'd wasted my time on a 'story that never was'. A shame because it started promisingly and I really wanted to know more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By eod on 12 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started with this series of novels around book 5 & enjoyed that & subsequent novels enough to read the earlier ones. If I'd read the earlier ones first I'd not've read any more.
I'm not interested in the endless drivel written about the wretched family & the friends which goes on & on &......on! Or in the detailed conversations. And loose ends? There are loads of 'em! It is SO frustrating! What did happen about Jane's mother? And the abductor/murderer? And what was the point of Diana? And Max? And what about the gardener chap in book 2? And too many others? Far too many loose ends.
I enjoy murder-mysteries & realise that they aren't renowned for their comedic content but these first books are such depressing reads. So many nasty, nasty people in one small-ish city - if one extrapolates that to the country as a whole there's no hope for any of us!
I'm really sorry I read the early ones as I'm not sure I can now face any more in the series which is a shame as I was enjoying the books.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 29 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
Having recently read The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler 1) and The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler 2) I have to say this is the darkest of the series so far. This picks up immediately after the end of the second book and starts with the capture of the child abductor. The sub-plots involve a man going mad from grief after the death of his wife, and the introduction of a female rector to Lafferton, as well as the continuation of the stories of the Serrailler family.

As other reviewers have said, this is mis-represented by the publishers as a crime novel; rather, it is a novel in which a crime does take place but it is certainly not a mystery or police procedural book: it is a contemporary slice-of-life set in a middle-England cathedral town.

I found this book (appropriately to the title) very dark and quite bleak and painful. The portrait of Max, especially, is acutely done but is also so traumatic that I would have trouble re-reading it. Simon himself becomes more central than in some of the earlier books and we witness his relationship with Diana first-hand, as well as getting more insight into the his relationships with other women.

Overall this is a dark and quite disturbing book that focuses almost pessimistically on the shadows of life and more than one characters is involved in thinking about the nature of human evil. This is a fine series overall but I feel like I need to read something much lighter before moving on to the next Serrailler book.
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