With just three novels currently available, Sarah Hilary has quickly risen to “must buy” status for many crime fiction aficionados. Her Marnie Rome series of books are guaranteed to feature hot-button topics, relevant themes, quality writing, and some of the most relatable series characters one could hope for. The third book, Tastes Like Fear, is now available in the UK and with no eminent publication here in the States planned, fans should seek out other methods to obtain this excellent addition to the series.
Tastes Like Fear finds DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake involved in a complex case localized within the areas in and around the Battersea Power Station. Because of the impoverished and under-served citizens residing in the area, getting honest and accurate information proves difficult, and at times, dangerous. The runaway children who are living homeless on the streets of London become central to their investigation.
Chapters depicting the lives of a group of these teens – as they have now found a home where they are accepted as long as they follow the rules – are as chilling to read as the more common accounts of murder and violence seen in the crime fiction genre. The head of the household, who goes by the name Harm, is kept enough in the shadows to make any rational thoughts about him impossible; but make no mistake about it, there is no doubt that he is not a good man. What is truly scary is that readers can easily see why these children would be drawn to him and his self-proclaimed empathy and compassion.
As with previous books in the series, Sarah Hilary allows time to further explore the personal lives of her detectives as well. Marnie is still trying to understand the murderous actions taken by her step-brother, while Noah is faced with yet more questions about his brother Sol’s potentially nefarious activities. Things are not all gloom and doom, however, as Noah and Dan’s relationship continues to sizzle.
In the end, the themes of Tastes Like Fear are the intersection between home, family, security, and safety. Along with these over-arching elements, Sarah Hilary also throws in some interesting stuff about urban explorers and communal living. There is always the feeling that these books are very “of the moment” and that readers are seeing current society reflected back at them – and it is not exactly a pretty picture.
Even with its length, Tastes Like Fear is a fast read. Sarah Hilary knows how to hook a reader and keep them turning the pages long into the night. And really, that all comes down to the characters. With each book in this series, these characters are growing to become part of our collective conscious. Readers will find themselves wondering what Marnie is doing – on in my case, what Noah is doing – even when not actively consuming the words on the page. If you are a fan, do not wait any longer to buy Tastes Like Fear; and if you are not yet a fan, start at the beginning and read all three of these stunning crime fiction novels.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.