Thursday, April 08, 2010

book review - The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill

This book takes a long time to open up and Susan Hill is investing a great deal of time in developing the landscape of the world where the story is set.

Through the eyes of a newcomer to the area the Cathedral town of Lafferton is detailed with the key family of the Serrallier's coming through via the interaction of the new arival Freya Graffham and her interaction with the mother, father and sister of her boss detective chief inspector Simon Serrallier.

Having seen the words "Simon Serrallier story" on the front you expect the story to unfold based on him. But the opposite happens and even near the end he fails to step into prevent some of the bad things happening. It's not until you get through a couple of hundred pages that the killings start to make any sort of sense.

The story of a serial killer on the loose does grip you although the chapters being broken with the details of the killer confessing didn't do a great deal for me. It picked up its pace towards the end and Hill does manage to use the world she has created as a clever backdrop to dark deeds. The comfort and love that can be found leaving a choir group at the cathedral can also turn threatening when the darkness and fear creeps down Cathedral Close.

Ultimately with a thriller that is part of a series the question of success is around the question of whether or not the reader will go onto see how the series develops. I will, not in a rush, but I will at some point. But one of the main motivations for that will be to see if Simon Serralier actually has more to do with cracking crimes in the next volume.

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