Review: No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary

Friday, 17 April 2015
Title: No Other Darkness (DI Marnie Rome, #2)
Author: Sarah Hilary
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 23rd April 2015
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781472207722
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Two young boys.
Trapped underground in a bunker.
Unable to understand why they are there.
Desperate for someone to find them.
Slowly realising that no-one will...

Five years later, the boys' bodies are found and the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome's career begins.

Her only focus is the boys. She has to find out who they are and what happened to them.

For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this...

No Other Darkness is a difficult book to start a review for, so many things I want to pick up on and discuss but at the same time not knowing just where to start. Someone Else's Skin was a seriously impressive debut, and one of the first review books I received for the blog. Fast forward one year and almost 300 reviews, and it's a definitely a standout read for me. No Other Darkness is just in another league, a real example of how to do crime fiction, and it should be given to those that criticise the genre.

The subject matter is a difficult one to read in places, yet completely and endlessly compelling. I was unable to tear myself away from this book. The bodies of two young boys are found buried in an underground bunker, and so begins the most difficult case of DI Marnie Rome's career. Marnie is determined from the word go to find answers, becoming consumed by the case, the only focus in her life being the two boys, finding out who they are, and who is responsible for their deaths. For Marnie, there is no other darkness than this.

Marnie Rome, and her partner DS Noah Jake are two of my favourite new detectives in crime fiction. Usually I might reel off a few comparisons to other authors or characters, lazy I know, but with this series I am unable to do that given that everything about it is just so fresh and original. From the characterisation to the writing to the story itself, it is all Sarah Hilary. I hope this duo is kept together for a long time. Sarah intersperses what is happening in the present day with what happened in Marnie's past. Usually this could feel like a well-worn and tired path, not the case in No Other Darkness. Marnie is an intriguing character, and one I think we will continue to learn more about as the series progresses. The same can be said for Noah Jake, who has his own developments outside of the main arc.

No Other Darkness is a thought-provoking read, the final chapters in particular causing my opinions to change numerous times, my mind refusing to settle on one single thought. Sarah tackles an interesting subject, one that she has clearly researched meticulously and one where the facts and answers might not be as clear cut as they seem at first glance. I did work a couple of things out, quite early on actually, even before meeting the other main players in the story of the missing children, yet as the story progressed I was thrown off course multiple times. Sarah knows exactly how to tell a story. I don't know the words or phrases to describe an author's writing so I'm not going to try, but you know when it's just good, really good? That. The closing chapters had me remembering that this series has been picked up for TV, and the scenes are so dramatically powerful and thrilling that if the series follows the books, it will be unmissable television.

I don't think there's anything more exciting for a reader than finding a talent such as Sarah, and knowing that the next book she delivers will no doubt be brilliant. Crime fiction at the moment is such an exciting genre, and a lot of the best books are coming from new authors, meaning the oldies need to start upping their game. I am almost disappointed that I have been on the Sarah Hilary journey from the beginning, I am so used to joining a series late, and having a back catalogue to devour. Instead I have a torturous wait in between books, hopefully the wait for book three will not be too long.

5/5

2 comments:

  1. Great review Shaun, as ever, and I do so agree with what you said about the oldies "upping their game", and how good it would be to have a Sarah Hilary backlog to read! How fabulous would that be?! With her and Eva Dolan and Angela Marsons and there's others who I can't think of right now...we're so spoilt! Great time for crime fiction fans!

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  2. Great review of what you quite rightly say is a compelling read. Loving the main protagonists in this series.

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