After reading something a little out there for me as my first read of 2010 and before I headed into the wonderfully bizarre world of Murakami I thought I would go with a book I could almost guarantee would be a straight forward read that I would enjoy. What could be better than the latest offering in a crime series you love, though as you may have seen yesterday the next one is almost out as Susan Hill is bringing out Simon Serrailler for his fifth outing. Back to his forth outing though with my latest read and a read that gave me a reaction I wasn’t expecting.
Susan Hill writes good crime, simple as, and ‘The Vows of Silence’ proves this once again. In the town of Lafferton a gunman is terrorising the inhabitant’s lives, with a particular penchant for younger women. Who is this killer and why is he killing what the police believe are random victims. You as the reader are party to the killer’s thoughts as these are interspersed within the chapters of the lives of the victims, though you are not aware who the killer is, unless you follow the clues very carefully. The fact that Susan Hill lets you get to know the victims in these novels adds an emotional twist, a particular murder of a single mother I found quite harrowing to read. I cared that she died; she wasn’t just another body in a crime novel. That in part is what makes this series special.
By this novel, the fourth instalment so far, we are getting to know Simon Serrailler better though having said that he still remains some what of an enigma, maybe its more we know the people around him and their reactions and thoughts of him. We know his family, co-workers and the few people of Lafferton that he socialises with, unless of course Susan Hill kills them off and these books do have a high death toll, this one being no exception. In fact is was one story about one of the main characters partners becoming terminally ill which actually pushed me over the edge and made me weep, seriously a crime novel having that effect!
This latest in the series I think is the most stand alone of the books since the The Various Haunts of Men the first in the series and the first book I ever blogged about. You could read the rest alone the latter two, The Pure in Heart (which I cannot believe I have never reviewed on here, but I haven’t) and The Risk of Darkness are quite linked though I shall give no more away. In this book we meet some new faces, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Helen and Phil even if there is a tragic end, and a face from the past comes back into Simon’s life. Like any other back stories you will find yourself soon up to scratch though in my humble opinion I would read them in order as it will hit you harder emotionally. It was the emotional force of some of this book that I wasn’t prepared for; either that or I am getting softer and weepier in my old age.
This is a great series and so far I think, though it could be because it’s the most recent one that I have read, this is my favourite of the series. It’s a gripping and psychological thriller that has a very tender heart in the centre of it. I don’t know of many books in the genre like that other than another of my favourite authors the wonderful Kate Atkinson. I am already looking forward to the next Serrailler book and have of course added it onto my wish list, its out in a few months, not that I am hinting.
Have you read any of the Serrailler series? What other crime series would you recommend that can grip you with its thrills and its heart?