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The Soul of Discretion: Simon Serrailler Book 8 (Simon Serrailler series) [Kindle Edition]

Susan Hill
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The eighth Simon Serrailler case

'Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does the result is stunning' Ruth Rendell

The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.

When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone – not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon’s father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.

To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description


    "This is modern crime writing with a dark, fierce edge - and all the better for it" -- Geoffrey Wansell Daily Mail

    "A wonderful storyteller... she is also one of those rare crime writers whose books invite a second reading" Scotsman

    "Hill's Serrailler novels have developed into a series whose appeal stretches beyond their genre... The secret of Hill's narrative style is that she forces the readers to invest emotionally in her characters. And then she makes ghastly things happen to them... It sounds easy, but it isn't" Spectator

    "The Simon Serrailler novels are in a league of their own; literate, detailed and full of drama - they stand head and shoulders above the majority of crime novels. This is the eighth novel in the series and is the darkest and most disturbing yet. It is also the best." CrimeSquad

    "Kept me turning the pages, gripped" Woman & Home


    'Not all great novelists can write crime fiction but when one like Susan Hill does the result is stunning.' (Ruth Rendell)

    'What you know about human nature is simultaneously being enlarged and improved upon thanks to Hill's almost Shakespearean insights into what it is to be.' (The Daily Express)

    'She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages.' (The Independent)

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1690 KB
    • Print Length: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Vintage Digital (2 Oct. 2014)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0701187646
    • ISBN-13: 978-0701187644
    • ASIN: B00GO9BMRG
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    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.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
    By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
    Format:Kindle Edition
    When so many books use crimes of rape and sexual abuse as easy, almost throwaway, devices to structure a story, it's a relief to meet one where the author takes these ideas seriously. Hill is always a sober, clear-sighted writer with a sense of moral calibration: here she tackles high profile issues - a paedophile ring, rape - without sensationalism.

    The rape story, especially, foregrounds vexed issues around the shifting of blame from rapist to victim, and tackles head-on the misconceptions around what is a 'real rape', as one characters terms it.

    For long-time readers of this series, Simon has moved Rachel into his flat; Cat has new challenges to tackle; and the Richard/Judith marriage stumbles on. Simon himself, in a slightly unbelievable development, is assigned to an undercover job with a child protection/pornography unit - and comes up against one of his personal worst cases.

    As ever, this isn't so much a crime novel - though, arguably, the crime element is stronger here than in some of the other books - as a book set amongst a family where one of the key characters is in the police.

    This may be acutely distressing in parts but Hill is unflinching as she casts her eye over modern society. Her characters belong, in lots of ways, to a narrowly upper-middle class milieu - Oxford-educated, choir-singing, let's-buy-a-second-home-in-France, professionals - but part of the vision this offers is how a sense of privilege may itself feed some of the worst social abuses.

    If you haven't read this series before, this may not be the best place to start - but this is undoubtedly one of the most literate, socially-intelligent, and emotionally-engaged series currently being written.

    (I received a review copy via Netgalley)
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    17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Well Handled, Susan Hill. 29 Oct. 2014
    By Pigwin
    Susan Hill is a wonderful writer and I buy her books for the sheer pleasure of reading her beautiful concise prose. Before she started writing detective fiction Hill produced atmospheric ghost stories with complex characters that often chilled the blood.

    She switched with the ease of a master to writing the Serrailler series of detective stories. DCI Simon Serrailler is the central character in Hill's series and this is his eighth outing. Over the course of the previous novels we followed Serrailler both as a professional and also in his personal life. There is naturally a cast of regular characters who feature in the novels and Serrailler's sister Cat Deerborn, is a doctor which gives Hill the scope to explore such important themes as the Health Care System, terminal illness, hospice care and more controversially, assisted dying along with the usual detective fiction themes of brutal murder and intrigue.

    This novel is superbly written and Hill deals sensitively and unmelodramatically with sexual crimes and in particular with the question of consent and when consent can be deemed to have been effectively given. It is difficult to deal with the horror of paedophilia, rape etc. but Hill manages to do so without sensationalism while also pointing out the difficulties and perhaps flaws inherent in the legal system.

    I recommend this book not just to fans of the genre but to readers of general fiction but with the caveat that it is deals with very disturbing topics and is not one of those books, however well written, that I would return to again.

    For those new to the series, The Soul of Discretion can be read as a stand alone novel and if you enjoy it as much as I did you might wish to read the other books in the series.
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    23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Soul of Discretion 2 Oct. 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition
    Simon Serrailler is asked to take on the most dangerous and difficult job of his career. Naturally he has mixed feelings about it but his overwhelming feeling is that the job must be done. His family - sister Cat and her children and his father, Richard and stepmother Judith - are used to him being incommunicado from time to time but for Rachel, his partner, it is difficult to deal with. She isn't finding it easy living with Simon.

    While Simon is preparing for his new undercover existence there is a rape in Lafferton and an elderly woman hears strange noises at night in the empty building next door to her flat. Simon's sister, Cat, needs to find another source of income and their stepmother, Judith is wondering whether her marriage was all a mistake.

    I found this a tense and harrowing read and probably, in my opinion, one of the best books in this excellent series. It does not shirk the difficult issues of terminally ill people, child abuse and rape and it deals with them sensitively and well. There is little graphic violence but the book is all the more horrific for its absence.

    The book could be read as a standalone novel as there is enough background information to inform the new reader about the things they need to know. However, reading the whole series in the order of publication gives a more in depth picture of the series characters. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form 7 Feb. 2015
    By Anon
    Format:Kindle Edition
    I have to admit that I thought that the last couple of books in this series have got rather bogged down in the family, rather than being crime books. The first book in the series was brilliant and refreshing, and others have been good or less good. However this is a page turning, roller coaster of a book in as much as Hill's precise and intelligent prose can be. But then she has written some terrifying ghost stories, so she does know how to build up the tension.
    The subjects of the book are child sex abuse and acquaintance rape, so it is not easy reading or a lightweight whodunit. If you want that, stick to M.C. Beaton.
    This is an exploration of the impact of sexual offending on everyone, with the emphasis on the perpetrators and those people who bring them to justice. It is not an easy read. As someone who has worked with sexual offenders doing lengthy prison sentences, it is clear that this is a well-researched book. Some people have called this a graphic book, I think there is very little detail bearing in mind the subjects but if you are easily upset by the nature of the story lines, or if you have been affected by these issues, do not read it. If you want to believe that we live in a world where bad things don't happen to women and children, this is not the book for you.
    To me the storyline that does not work as well is Cat's involvement with a dying patient. I can see that this is part of Cat's journey through the palliative care system, and assume that Susan Hill sees this as her story, which very much runs parallel to Simon's. I suppose that these books are as much about the state of the NHS as they are about crime and the police service. It is interesting to see how they have developed and almost taken a life of their own which I would not have anticipated from the first book in the series.
    I devoured this book in almost one sitting, and plan to reread it shortly, I enjoyed it that much.
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