Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 
Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.
DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late. 

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. If you haven’t read the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary then you should do. And in order, mainly because the lead characters have ongoing personal problems that won’t mean as much if you are not aware of the back story.

This latest book differs slightly to the rest, with much of the storyline concerning Noah. He is trying and failing to accept the events that happened in the previous novel and it is affecting his judgment. And with the violent deaths which have devastated two families in their local area he is struggling. 

There is too much about this novel that is real life news. When I first started to read it the city I live in was on lockdown and curfew controlled due to gun and knife crime. Something that is happening everywhere but especially in London. There is Grenfell which is visible from the area in which the book is set, one part of the novel is a chilling reminder of what happened there. There are unscrupulous landlords, untrustworthy people and drugs and how children are recruited into the drug culture. But the hardest part to read was the racial hatred and how people make assumptions because of skin colour. The way Noah coped with it was revealing, showing that it must be common.

It’s riveting, very realistic, heartbreaking and eye opening. I enjoyed knowing more about what Noah was feeling and seeing his conversations with his brother but I wish he could have a break.

Marnie does still feature, she is active in the case but is also aware that Noah is noticing more than her. She is feeling responsible for him and feels guilty over not being able to help. But she also has personal problems and I have a strong feeling that her decision won’t go the way she wants it to.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series. 

A character interview with Ed Belloc from the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary and a Giveaway.

Today, I am featuring a character interview with Ed Belloc who is the partner of Marnie Rome in Sarah Hilary’s wonderful series. I first became aware of this series when I received a copy of Someone Else’s Skin in a goody bag at Theakston’s Crime Festival. This book was the winner of the Theakston’s 2015 crime novel of the year and was also one of Richard and Judy’s Book Club books in 2014. As well as the interview Sarah has very kindly offered a signed proof of Never Be Broken to one lucky reader. ( UK only). All you need to do is share the post or RT the pinned tweet and I will pick a winner via a random number generator on Thursday 28th March.

Character Interview – Ed Belloc

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Victim Support Officer, working with men and women affected by violent crime. This is going to sound odd, but I love my job. It’s hard and heart-breaking, and funding cuts make it frustrating, but it’s far and away the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. 

Did you meet Marnie through your work?

Yes, on a case involving child abduction. I was called in to support the family. Marnie was part of the team leading the investigation. It was her instinct that traced the kidnapping back to the grandparents. It was a tricky case, could’ve ended badly—wouldhave, if it wasn’t for her. Since then, we’ve worked together many times. I’ve never stopped admiring her courage and her resolve. Sorry, that sounds like I’m writing a reference … It’s an honour to work with her, though. Her bravery … People measure courage in different ways, but for me it’s about getting back up. She never stops getting back up. Take this latest case she’s working on: knife crime in London. Some people see that as a rising tide that can’t be stopped, but she sees every life affected by it, and feels it too. She puts the whole of herself into her work. That compassion and vulnerability? Is what makes her a great detective. At the same time, and for the record, I really wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the law where DI Rome’s concerned. She gets it done.

When did you first fall in love?

Honestly? When she brought that kid back home, right at the end of that first investigation. She didn’t want any thanks, or any glory. She just wanted to do her job. Then after Stephen … What he did to her parents—to her? For a long time she was grieving, fighting to get better. It was five years before I acted on those feelings. I spent most of that time thinking I’d never be able to tell her how I felt, because of everything else she was going through. Luckily for me, her patience outstripped my prevarication.

Do you find it easy to talk about each other’s work or do you prefer to talk about other things? I imagine with the job both of you are in it feels normal.

I’m not sure I’d call it normal, but yes. We do talk about our work, the same as other couples, I guess. I know she’ll listen and understand, and I hope she knows I’m the same. Of course, some nights we ask the Big Questions, like how come the redshirt vampires in Buffy spontaneously combust in sunlight while Spike just smoulders until he finds shelter? It’s not all work. 

It is lovely that you can be with her without seeing her as a victim, does that feeling come natural or is it hard to put her past to one side?

Damn, that’s a really good question. I don’t ever forget what’s been done to her; she’s struggling with it every day. For a long time, the idea of being a victim horrified her. I think that’s changed, over time. She’s met too many survivors to think ‘victim’ means weak or helpless. Look at the women in the refuge where we worked together … She’s in a place where she’s ready to make peace with her past, and that’s a huge thing. I’m scared for her, if I’m honest, but at the same time I’m proud of her. Not many people make it through the way she has.

Do you think it’s good for her to maintain contact with Stephen?

If you’d asked me that five years ago, I’d have said no. I’ve hated the hold he’s had over her, all the ways he was still hurting her, despite the fact he’s in prison. But she needed to stay in touch. She wasn’t ready to let it go. That’s changed too.

Another character I have a lot of sympathy for is Noah. I feel that he is a good friend to both of you. Is it a fine line between friend and counsellor? 

He’s a great friend, and the easiest man in the world to talk to. Life’s not been kind to Noah of late, but I hope he knows I’m here for him. He needs his friends right now.

What is your ideal date? Meal, concert, evening walk?

I refer to you to my earlier answer about Buffy. We still haven’t solved that spontaneous combustion versus smouldering thing …

Thank you Sarah, for this opportunity. You can see another interview, with Noah Jake and a giveaway at https://liveanddeadly.net/2019/03/18/interview-and-giveaway-with-detective-sergeant-noah-jake-from-the-marnie-rome-books-by-sarah-hilary-sarah_hilary-jenniferleech1-headlinepg-noahjake-neverbebroken/

About Sarah Hilary

Sarah Hilary’s debut novel, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017) COME AND FIND ME (2018) and NEVER BE BROKEN (2019).

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @Sarah_Hilary

Come And Find Me by Sarah Hilary – Review.

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About the Book

On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.
DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.
As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
Come and Find Me is the fifth book in the series that features Marnie and Jake and I can honestly say that it was my favourite one so far. It is slightly different to the earlier books. There has always been focus on both Marnie and Noah’s private lives, and whilst that continues, there is also a lot of focus on those who are connected to the prison.
All of the novel is fascinating, and some of it disturbing. Women who become obsessed with convicted killers baffle and worry me. I was also unsettled because I couldn’t figure out who was responsible. With the amount of crime fiction I read I sometimes ‘solve’ the crime as I read but in this novel I failed on most of it.
The end was devastating on so many counts. Not just for the regular characters but also those who were duped into believing they were vital.
This is one of my favourite detective series and as it stands the only one out of all of them I am up to date with. I can’t even begin to imagine what Marnie and Jake have to deal with next.

You can purchase the book here

Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary – Review.

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About the Book

It’s winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it’s personal.
Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

My Review

The series featuring Marnie Rome and Noah Jake is now one of my favourite. One of those where you soak up every word and look for hints for what might happen in the future.
This latest offering focuses on a missing child, revenge attacks on perpetrators of crime, gang culture and more insight into the personal lives of Marnie and Noah. Whilst we have got to know them both quite well in the past this time it is slightly different. There seems to be a connection between their personal and professional lives.
As always it is very believable. Low income, poor housing and limited opportunity areas that recruit their gang members early. Some of the gang members here are devastatingly young, showing vulnerability and fear but also a hard side where if these emotions are not controlled there would only be one way out.
Steven, who is now serving his sentence in an adult prison has a hold over Marnie, his grip gets tighter with every novel. The scenes where he features make me cringe with the distress that she can’t escape from. But this time it is Noah who I feel more sympathy for. The situation he is in becomes increasingly difficult and he has only one option. I can see both storylines continuing into the next novel.
It’s a brilliant series that I have followed from the first novel. I have enjoyed getting to know all the characters that Sarah Hilary has created.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. You can buy the novel at amazon or Waterstones

Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

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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.

My Review:

I have followed Sarah Hilary’s excellent series since receiving the first novel at Theakston’s Crime festival a few years ago. I really enjoyed that book, which later won crime novel of the year in 2015. In my opinion the books have got better with each one and this third in the series is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Both Marnie and Noah are keen to solve the disappearances of teenage girls, they had been looking for one girl, May, for a few months. When another girl causes a fatal car accident and then disappears they become involved. Marnie recognises much of herself in May’s sister. She can see the anger and the hurt that Loz is feeling but it is Noah who feels more able to help her.
There is much of our society that features in the novel, vulnerable elderly women, teenage girl gangs terrorising estates and the invisible homeless. But there is more to it than I initially thought. I never saw any of the surprises/ shocks and there was at least one occasion when ‘my heart was in my mouth’.
Marnie, Noah and the other members of the team are all very strong and believable characters. I like the way that they interact with each other. You also get glimpses of their lives away from the job as well. Marnie’s relationship with Steven is one that I expect to see get very interesting.

Tastes Like Fear will be published on 7th April. With thanks to Headline and Sarah Hilary for the copy received for review.