The Soul of Discretion: Simon Serrailler Book 8 Hardcover – 2 Oct 2014
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"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'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) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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)
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
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.
Two quibbles. Simon Serrailler is a very highly regarded senior police officer who has gone undercover before undertaking this latest and most serious operation.Read more ›
It is one of those subjects that I realise has to be addressed and fiction is probably as good an arena for it as any other. However, I have now reached an age where I do not have to read about such a subject when I am reading purely for enjoyment. In a previous book, Hill came very close to this subject matter without, as I recall, becoming fully immersed in it.
Because this subject is so nauseous to me personally, I have admit that these comments are made without finishing the book. I will do that in due course, when I am feeling somewhat stronger.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book!!!!! As usual so gripping!!! Why don't they make a TV serial of this guy? I love him and can't wait to see what he looks like!!!! Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mandy Lovegrove
I didn't know whether to put 3 or 4 stars. I put 4 because I finished it. It was an easy read but I was waiting for some surprises. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Bazanne
They just get better, I can't wait for the next book in the series. I love the family storyline along with the suspense. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Pauline Morgan
I have read all the books in this series and they are all excellent. The sort of book where you want to know what happens but you don't want the book to end....Published 1 month ago by Mrs Sheila Birchall
Another great book from Susan Hill; the characters so believable the plot also. Serrailler always on the mark and although you know it's going to turn out OK your never quite sure... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Su Donley
A much darker book than previous ones in the series dealing with 3 separate disturbing themes. One wonders if Susan Hill was depressed when she wrote it or if she thought she... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Yorkshire exile