Review: Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

Friday 1 July 2016
Title: Tastes Like Fear
Author: Sarah Hilary
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 7th April 2016
Pages: 416
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
You'll never be out of Harm's way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He's the head of her new family.

He's Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

Because when Harm's family is threatened, everything tastes like fear...

I'm a little late to the party with reading Tastes Like Fear and, after spending the last couple of days reading this book at every available opportunity, I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner when I turned the final page. After all, it's not like I didn't know what an amazing author Sarah Hilary was! I will say that overall this wasn't my favourite of Sarah's novels, but at the same time there were things about it that I liked better than the previous two stories, if that makes sense. Someone Else's Skin and No Other Darkness are two of the best crime novels I've read in recent years though, and it's clear Sarah likes to set the bar very high for herself.

Where I think Sarah really excels with her books is in creating victims that the reader can really believe in. In Tastes Like Fear especially we read about young girls who are being kept prisoner by someone named Harm. Discarding them when they fail to meet his exacting standards, it isn't long before DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake have numerous bodies strewn around London and no idea who is responsible. In Harm's 'home' we read about some of the girls, and they are built up to seem like real, 'human' characters as opposed to characters who are just created and then killed off for effect. There's more of an emotional impact because these girls are believable characters, runaways who are picked up off the street, their stories really pack a punch and their fear at being kept prisoner is palpable. It can be unnerving at times, but the whole story is just completely compelling and I only wish I could have read it in one sitting.

Marnie Rome is a fantastic creation. Another damaged detective, yes, but it doesn't feel like something that has been done before. She's one of those police officers you hope exist in real life, and if you were ever in a situation that needed a detective to investigate, you'd want someone like her (unless you were a criminal, of course). She goes above and beyond at times, and nothing is more important to her than solving the case she is working on. Her past allows her at times to look at a case like other officers might not, and she sees the victims as real people as opposed to a number or just another case to be boxed off. She doesn't just go at home at night and forget about the bodies she's seen or the criminals she's apprehended, they live on. And they live on in my mind too. This, and Sarah's first two books, will remain as three of the most memorable crime novels I've ever read just because of that lasting emotional impact.

Another fantastic character is Noah Jake, Marnie's partner. We learn a lot more about him in this book which I enjoyed immensely. His past, and even his present, helped to break up the main story here (but at time also help him investigate the case) and I always feel a greater connection to a character when we can understand them more, and see how they act and behave outside the squad room. His superiors have often questioned his young age, and whether he's capable of taking on the big cases that Marnie is given, but he continues to prove his worth and has Marnie believing in him and he's probably one of my favourite secondary detectives in crime fiction. I enjoy reading about him just as much as Marnie and can't wait to read more.

You'll notice I haven't alluded to the plot too much and that's because, aside from what the blurb gives away, you really do need to go into this story knowing as little as possible. The story just flows expertly. Harm is a scary character, even though he is mostly just in the background. It's the voices of the girls that really put across that fear, and as said earlier it's really felt by the reader and packs a real emotional punch. Sarah and Noah are forced to confront some difficult situations, and ask some difficult questions and I particularly like how they always come up with solutions and/or possibilities that would just never cross my mind. I have awarded this book with a high mark not only for it's phenomenal writing and plotting but because if I fail to work out the plot twists in a book then the author has done their job and I failed to do that in Tastes Like Fear multiple times. The twists here almost had me shouting out loud because they were unexpected and brilliant. I'll say no more other than this is a series every person who calls themselves a fan of crime fiction needs to read. Please pick the series up if you haven't already, though I've got a feeling you have, and if you have and are yet to read Tastes Like Fear, then do so as soon as possible.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! This book sounds like something that I'd total enjoy! Noah sounds awesome and intriguing! Amazing review!


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