The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.
When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton's new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone - not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.
Meanwhile, Simon's sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon's father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.
©2014 Susan Hill (P)2014 Audible Studios
If you've come this far with Susan Hill, Serrailler and Stephen Pacey then you don't need me to tell you about the writing and narration of the series. Other than perhaps that Stephen Pacey has spoiled me for all other narrators and made theirs a difficult job. Perfect as ever.
This one covers a very dark subject matter - child abuse. My reason for four stars, not five, is purely that I learned a couple of turns of phrase I might otherwise have chosen not to know. A credit to the research though and nothing offensive.
You'd not want to buy this one for your aged aunt. Wow it is powerful. Quite brutal and Sad on so many levels. I think particularly so because of a curved-ball sub plot.
You will not be wasting a credit on this one but for the newcomers I'd suggest starting at the beginning of the Serrailler stories and working through to this one. There are a couple of crystallising moments which have special nuance if you have come all the way.
I am desperate to know if Simon Serrailler is right or left handed but that will become clear to you as you get to the end. One of those books which absolutely must have a follow up, almost too difficult to come to terms with.
Great, just as you'd expect. Do it.
I loathe the term 'roller coaster of a ride' - but that is what this story is.
Susan Hill tackles a multitude of issues - child abuse, snuff movies, rape, lack of care for the terminally ill. The latter aspect is particularly pertinent to me (as I cared for my mother) and I am gobsmacked at how well she describes everyone's feelings and needs.
On the child abuse issue I can say I am a shocking whimp - and I originally feared I'd not be able to go the mile on this story. Not so - it's handled well - and the feint hearted will be able to cope aok and listen to the whole story (and not even need to fast forward).
The rape storyline is also wonderfully (and carefully) handled.
This really is an exceptional story/book/read. Go for it.
I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series featuring the enigmatic detective, Simon Serrailler. An unusual creation for this genre of fiction in that he is a sensitive man whose relaxation is water-colour painting. He is not a hard-drinking, smoking, and swearing maverick cop, but is self-contained and aloof: admirable and dedicated at work but difficult to live with. Over the series the author has also created people surrounding him that have a depth of character that makes one care about their lives. Lives that run in parallel to Serrailer’s pursuit of criminals and which make the books much richer in human-interest and enable the author to explore other themes such as bereavement and, in this case, palliative care. This book is not an easy listen as the crimes involve the sexual abuse of children and the destructive effects of rape on a woman’s life. The author doesn’t dwell on the details but ones imagination does the rest. I’d rate this the darkest of the series, though one of the most gripping and unforgettable.
As always, the writing is exemplary and the narrator, Steven Pacey is superb as usual.
Can't recommend this enough. I've just finished my second listen of the full series and only wish there were more.
Full of rich characters that Steven Pacey brings to life perfectly and believable.
Great story line leaves you wanting more.
Excellent series for all crime fans out there. My absolute fave after Reginald Hill's The Woodcutter.
Having read the Simon Serrailler books virtually back to back I can only hope this wasn't the last! The subject matter is difficult but handled extremely well and the twists in the plot keep you gripped to the very end. Susan Hill is a master of narrative and Steven Spacey the ultimate narrator for these books. Each of the books is compelling in it's own right, but the continuation of the characters, their lives and challenges adds the real human dimention which keeps you hooked along with the crimes. If you have got this far with Simon Serrailler dont give up now because of the storyline.
From London, now living in France.
Steven Pacey is my favourite narrator and Susan Hill's sequence of detective novels my favourite - and they keep getting better. This one deals with even more complicated issues than the previous one, never in a lecturing or annoying way, but perfectly judged. I can't bear the gaps between these novels...
Good narration and the main plot with the added Michelle, Rachel and Judith by-lines
The final sentence.
Yes and actually did so on a very long coach trip from Newquay, Cornwall to my home in north Wales. As it reached its climax I didn't mind that we were stuck in traffic.
Love Audible, it's my treat to look forward to my next book every month. Like a mixture, but have to like the narrator.
Familiar. Compelling. Hard subject
I enjoy the characters I know them by now after listening to all the Serrailer books. I listened to it in one go and didn't want it to end. The narrator has a great story telling voice.
I can't say I 'enjoyed' the scenes, as the subject was horrible and very, very disturbing
Yes, I was ill and listened to it at any opportunity
For me, it's a familiar voice reading, a family I feel I know well, and lots of sub stories going on to keep you away from the vile subject of child abuse. A very painful subject,
I have listened to most of the Serrailler books, and admire Susan Hill's writing. This last book in the series, The Soul of Discretion, has far more depth than its predecessors and is a very good read indeed and appropriate for today, when we are all so much more aware of child abuse and pornography. I look forward to the sequel: meanwhile am about to start this book from the beginning again. Thoroughly recommended.
Yes, it might give me things I missed first time around
It kept me on the edge of my seat
No but I will
Very dark at times
The ending was a little disappointing
"Steven Pacey is a marvel."
I have listened to hundreds of audible books and Steven Pacey is one of the greatest performers I have ever heard. Simply the best!
"Leaves you wanting the next episode in series"
Although I have enjoyed each of the Simon Serrailler novels, from Hills tight plotsnto Paceys wonderful narration, this novel was the most gripping of all the books in the series in my opinion.
Based on up to date horriffic social issues that none of us really want to read about, Simon is sent underground into a dangerous situation fraught with perils where he is discovered as a spy. Any more info would create a spoiler and I don't want to mess up your excitement.
Simons family reaches situations that have been building over the past 4-5 books and placed in less than hopeful circumstances that not only tax Simon but threaten the peace had harmony we've come to expect from his sister and her friends who seemed to have reached some joy in their lives.
This may be the Last book, as many story arcs come to a less than satisfying end, but other new plot lines were brought out and the listener is left to ask herself "can Simon overcome the horrible situation?". And wonder what will happen next.
If you enjoyed most or all of the series do listen to this 2014 issued audiobook to become enthralled as you might have been with the first introductory novel.
I loved it and it's amongst the top 5 on my 2014 reading list.
I believe Susan Hill is able to draw the reader in with what she writes and Steven Pacey gives it life. As an author she is not afraid of topics often left out for fear of controversy, such as rape, death and dying, etc. I also love the way she doesn't feel obligated to close her books with happy endings for everyone involved, life just doesn't work that way.
I would love to write something done; however, for two reasons I am unable, 1) I have several memorable moments, and 2) I don't want to give any of the story away - I feel it is that good!
I could listen to Steven Pacey speak for hours! His narration of the Simon series is perfect!
"More interested in the support characters"
Yes, if only to see what happens next. This book ends on a sort of cliffhanger. I also love listening to Steve Pacey,
I can't lie, I am quite bored with Simon Serrailler's private life, I wish the author would just stick to the case. I found myself more interested in the supporting characters, I was intrigued by Kat's family, Judith's struggle in her marriage and I wish she had elaborated on what happened to Simon Serrailler's girlfriend. You know there is a problem, when you are skipping the chapters to get to parts dealing with everyone but the main character.
He is the only reason I keep listening. Wonderful portrayal of the different characeters.
Yes, if only to resolve the incidents and relationships. I guess to also find out what happens next, more for me the other characters than, Simon, but still...
Not really, this was not just for me, I am finding Susan Hill's support characters so much more interesting than her main character. Her last, three books have had some really strong side stories, that captivated my interest.
"The best in the series"
Very fast paced, excellent story and reading was also great.
Wish there were more. Looking forward to finding more books by her.
"The best in an amazing series."
This book as with all of the ones in the series covers controversial topics, especially this one. I love the way Hill weaves story lines together. Even though these books are about Simon the DCS, they are also about his family, their lives including both good and bad happenings. In this particular book in the series many things come together, yet still leave much more to tell. It was by far the most intense of the series covering some very gruesome yet timely topics. I was enthralled and unable to set the book aside.
My favorite character is Simon closely followed by his sister Cat. They are so real and human. I like Simon because of his intensity, though I sometimes want to slap him. He is well balanced by Cat though his twin (triplet?), they could not be more different in many ways. They seem to complete and complement each other at the same time.
I have listened to all the books in this series, all narrated by Mr. Pacer. He is one of the best! I could listen to him all day. His ability to change character, his timing, his fluidity with the stories is amazing
I listened to this book over 2 days, but given the opportunity I would have done in one sitting. It is that good and very interesting.
"Great book, but content warning"
I like Susan Hill's writing, characters and descriptions. This novel was more scattered than usual as the main action was in three or four places with charters incommunicado from each other. The police are trying to crack a kiddie porn ring, so if you are sensitive to this topic, know that it is discussed in the abstract, but that there are no scenes that include it explicitly.
"Love every one of the series!
I hate to think how long I'll have to wait for the next. Very involved in the family!
"Love this series!"
Great story and rich characters. Subject matter in this book was a bit tough at times but author did a great job with giving you info but not so much that you couldn't continue with the story. I love all of the characters and can't wait for the next installment!
Once again a marvelous combination of story, writing, and performance. I can't imagine anyone other than Stephen Pacey with this series. The subject matter is gruesome of her books so far, but isn't graphic. As usual, the development of integral characters and the contributions their circumstances to the primary plot make for a gripping listening treat.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.