The Vows of Silence
Overlook, Oct 29 2009, $24.95
In Lafferton, a culprit uses a handgun to kill newlywed Melanie Drew in her apartment. Soon after that a sniper uses a rifle to shoot into a crowd standing outside a nightclub. Next a gun is fired killing a mother standing with her infant. The seemingly random killings have the townsfolk frightened and panicked.
Lafferton Police Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler and his unit see no ties beyond the age and sex of the victims. The three homicides is made even more complicated by the use of two weapons. Simon wonders if two killers are stalking the streets yet keeps going back to the concept of a psychopathic serial killer. As he struggles with preventing the next murder, his sister Cat has health issues and his nephew is known for creative cheating at Scrabble.
The police procedural subplot is well written, filled with suspense and has a red herring suspect, but the emotional intensity happens more to people in Simon’s personal circle as he is the “watcher” even with Jane Fitzroy, a woman he is attracted to. The story line is fast-paced except with the relationship dance between Simon and Jane. Susan Hill effortlessly moves back and forth between the case (to include the killer’s perspective) and Simon’s personal life. British police procedural fans will enjoy Simon’s not simple investigation and look for his previous caseload (THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN, THE PURE IN HEART and THE RISK OF DARKNESS).