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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Risk of Darkness

Hill, Susan. The Risk of Darkness.

This is the third in Hill's series about DCI Simon Serrailler, and I'll be looking for the first two novels in the series, beginning with The Various Haunts of Men.

There are an awful lot of subplots --one of which I didn't care for, or rather, didn't care for the time invested--because there are elements in that particular plot line that add to the novel as a whole. The primary narrative concern, however, is with an unresolved case of a missing boy, a case which has continued to haunt the DCI and his department.

When another child goes missing, Serrailler is called in by the North Riding CID to assist in the case. Initially, both departments experience frustration, almost despair, until finally, with the abduction of a third child, there is an eye witness.

Obviously, the character development and other elements would have been a bit more satisfactory if I'd read the previous books, but I had no difficulty following the lines of the novel.

If some of the subplots seemed a bit unnecessary, unresolved, or distracting, the characters of Simon and his sister Cat appealed to me. I liked their relationship, their concern for each other, and their banter (they are two of a set of triplets; the third, Ivo, is in Australia) and found the subplot involving Cat's family difficulties interesting.

I'm aware that having read the previous novels would probably have elicited more interest, but the time spent on the Lizzie/Max subplot might still have bothered me.

While the novel had a conclusion (the "bad guy" is arrested; this is not one of those novels with an annoying cliff hanger), there is a feeling that several aspects will explored in the next novel. Hill handles this in a way that leaves you satisfied, yet curious.

One further note, a mother/daughter, parent/child theme winds through the various plot lines and appears to be deliberate; I would expect some of these relationships to come up again with further development in the next novel.

The bottom line is that I enjoyed the novel.

Fiction. Mystery. 2009. 374pages.


  1. Good to hear you liked this one. I've got Various Haunts of Men on my shelf now. I picked it up after a strong recommendation from a friend.

  2. SuziQ - Let me know what you think! I'm going to look for Various Haunts when I visit the library, but don't know if they will have it.

  3. I'm glad you liked this one. Unfortunately I was really disappointed with the first two books and never got to this one. It's a shame really because I liked the setting and how you get a feel for the whole community but I just never connected with Simon and if I'm going to follow a series then I have to have a character I want to get to know more. I hope you'll have better luck with them!

  4. iliana - I think I've read that opinion somewhere else. In fact, I hesitated on checking out this one because, I'm one of the very few people who didn't care for Hill's The Woman in Black.