Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

Tastes Like FearOne London night, a girl staggering across a road causes a car crash – but she promptly disappears. DI Marnie Rome’s hopes that she is the missing girl that she is looking for are quickly dashed but the question remains – who was she? But soon Marnie has a dead body on her hands – and this girl has been strangled.

Meanwhile, in a strange home somewhere, a perfect family – a family of daughters that have no choice but to be perfect – are beginning to fall apart. The girls are in the care of a man who simply wants to look after them – provided they behave themselves. A man of the like Marnie has never met before. A man known only as Harm…

I reviewed Sarah’s first Marnie Rome book, Someone Else’s Skin, a few weeks ago, and I still haven’t quite decided whether I enjoyed it – or even if I was supposed to enjoy it – as there was a realness to the events in the book that unsettled me. But either way, it was an impressive read and I took the opportunity to get a review copy of this one, the third book in the series, via NetGalley.

There are differences in the general format of this one. The first dwelt heavily on Marnie’s background, as it was the first book in the series, but here that takes a backseat to the main plot. There is still movement on the story of her parents’ murder, and a certain character has an important role to play, but the primary emphasis here is on the story of Harm and his family and the investigation that is inevitably going to lead to them.

It’s very hard to talk about the plot as you really want to go into the book knowing as little as possible, but it certainly doesn’t fall prey to one of my issues with Someone Else’s Skin, where the tale was hinged around one major twist, one that occurred too early in the narrative, causing the second half of the book to drag a little. Here, the twists keep coming and as the book approaches the end, you still aren’t quite sure which way to look and where things are going to go.

Even better, the twists are clued – although you probably still won’t see them coming. They’re the sort of things where the reader will be kicking themselves about certain things – exactly how a thriller ought to be.

The strengths of Someone Else’s Skin – the quality of the writing, the vividness of the characters – is still in place, so combined with the clever plot (which, by the way, doesn’t quite have the same sense of reality as in Book One, making it more enjoyable for me), and you get a first rate thriller – one of the best that I’ve read recently. Highly Recommended.

Oh, and don’t worry about reading Books 1 and 2 – there are no spoilers for those that I noticed. Tastes Like Fear is out on April 7th.

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