I'm probably best described as an old fashioned reader of crime and I love character driven stories where the protagonist is a 24 hour meticulous cop with a deeply flawed self. I can think of no better examples of this than John Rebus; Ian Rankin's truer than life drink sodden Scottish detective. Another fine example is Michael Connelly's creation Hieronymus Bosch, the son of a prostitute brutally murdered, secluded in his penthouse overlooking the city of Angels, a city portrayed by the author in prosaic and very realistic manner. He is a driven loner separated from his wife, rebuilding his relationship with his daughter. The point here is that I, as a lover of crime, need to understand the foibles and eccentricities of the main character for the story to have any heart or sincerity. This just does not happen in Quieter than Killing.
DI Marnie Rome and her assistant DS Noah Jake are investigating a series of random attacks on the streets of a very wintry and cold London. Those who are the subject of the attacks all have one thing in common, they have just been released following a period of imprisonment for similar acts of violence. So who is carrying out these new attacks, is it some sort of vigilante seeking revenge and retribution? In addition Marnie's family home has been ransacked, is there a connection between the two events? Is her foster brother Stephen involved? even though he is incarcerated for the murder of her parents.
I have real problems with the plotline here finding it very odd and very confusing in the telling. The action is certainly fast and the characters, situations and events as they occur full of exuberance and vigour, but lacking any real credibility. I think it is vital in all good detective stories to really try to understand the main characters, what makes them the people they are. What drives them to this 24 hour obsession they have with their job. Dedication on this level must undoubtedly lead to the unravelling of close partner relations and possibly the introduction of alcohol dependency. Yet we never get to see the other side of Marnie she has a very dedicated partner Ed but the author never explores this relationship in any real detail. I need Marnie to be more human I want her to display character flaws that each and every one of us is genetically predisposed to....unless of course she is a robot! We therefore have a story without any real soul or heart ( possibly excluding the character of Zoe Marshall social worker with a good and emerging part) that is full of constant action but never seems to take the time to explore the personalities on display in any great depth.
Yes I am old fashioned in my choice of detective story but I am open to change, sadly however Sarah Hilary's DI Marnie Rome will not be the instigator of that change. A special thank you to the publisher Headline who supplied me with a gratis copy to read and review which unfortunately was flawed with typing errors. It does not make for easy reading when the name of the author and the book title are displayed randomly throughout the story in large print. This is not an uncommon occurrence and more time care and patience should be spent by publishers in the marketing and presentation of the kindle/mobi edition.