Friday, 18 March 2016

Tastes Like Fear

Tastes Like Fear

by Sarah Hilary

5 out of 5

Sarah Hilary won the 2015 Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year with her debut, the 2014 Richard and Judy pick. She followed up with NO OTHER DARKNESS, proclaimed as 'riveting' by Lisa Gardner, 'utterly gripping' by Eva Dolan and 'truly mesmerising' by David Mark. Now D.I. Marnie Rome returns in her third novel.

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...

D.I. Rome and her team are on the hunt for missing girls, with a killer leaving bodies like breadcrumbs, revealing the darker side of London.

This was my first time reading one of D.I. Marnie Rome books, and I received this one from Netgalley.
I loved it!  It was a fantastic and thrilling story, and I felt in no way impeded by the fact that I haven't read the rest of the series.  This book is excellent as a stand-alone.  Even the plotlines that are obviously arcs to cover the whole series, are perfectly easy to absorb and understand.
I will definitely be diving into the other books in the series.

But anyways, let's get back to Tastes Like Fear.

I loved the setting, with the focusses on normal, and very average London.  Of the council estates where everyone keeps their heads down, just trying to survive physically and mentally to the next step.  Of the homeless, and children who just want to get lost.  Those with real problems; and those with minor problems that magnify until they can't cope.
I thought it was all portrayed in a perfect balance; Hilary doesn't try to glamorise, or dramatise the lives of these down-and-outs.  They're just people, just communities, getting on with their daily life, doing what they have to do.
As the arguments and conflicts continue, and the facts all roll out, I was surprised how naturally my pity shifted from one person to another, when you learn of their perspective.
Everything worked together so well, and built on the surrounding plots.

D.I. Marnie Rome and D.S. Noah Jake are great characters, when it comes to the case they are professional and insightful; at home they are human.  They are still strong, but they have families and problems that shadow them.
The supporting cast are all good, well-rounded characters, even the ones that you only meet briefly.
Loz was one of my favourites; a thirteen-year-old girl ready to take on the world; aware of all its evils and still not daunted.  She was a hero, as far as I'm concerned.

The plot itself is very clever.  From the beginning, you know the girls involved; where they're being kept and why.  But it keeps you guessing at to who the murderer is; who Harm is; where the safehouse is.  Just as you start to think that you've pieced it all together, something comes along to change everything.
The first half of the book is pleasant to read, with a few teasers along the way.  I felt that it got a little bit repetitive in places, with some circular thinking, mulling over the same facts and thoughts; but I suppose it helped make everything a very natural progression.
So yeah, up until that point I was thinking it was a solid 4 stars.
From around page 300, I could not put this book down.  The rest of the story flew by, filled with nail-biting confrontations; and more than a few revelations that made me pause!

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm not going to say any more.  I would definitely recommend picking up this book.

Goodreads link

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