Title: The Various Haunts of Men
Author: Susan Hill
ISBN: 978-1-58567-876-1, Overlook Press, 2007
Genre: Police Procedural, #1 Simon Serrailler mystery
First Line: Last week I found a letter from you.
Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham has left London and the Metropolitan Police for the small cathedral town of Lafferton. She doesn't miss London a bit and wastes no time in exploring her new home. She fits in well with her fellow officers and is intrigued by Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler. Graffham is a very intuitive person, and there's something about a missing persons case involving an older woman named Angela Randall that she just can't let go. When other people in the area begin to go missing, Graffham senses she really is on to something. Is there a killer preying on the people of this small town?
The Various Haunts of Men moves very slowly and deliberately until the last hundred pages when it really picks up speed. The pacing almost mirrors that of the killer. I knew the killer's identity very early on, but as only a secondary matter of importance, it didn't ruin the book for me at all. Hill's focus was squarely on her characters and setting her stage for the other books to follow in the series.
I try my best to avoid spoilers in my reviews, so I must limit my remarks with regard to this book. Hill's characters were brilliant-- perfect for a character-driven reader like me-- but the weakest of the lot was Simon Serrailler himself. Everyone seemed to put him on such a high pedestal that it's a wonder he didn't get a nosebleed, and he was so enigmatic that it was almost impossible to "read"or like him. I'm tempted to say that I wasn't all that impressed with him, but I have a strong feeling that I was set up by Hill, so I'm reserving judgment until I've read the next book in the series.
Read it (The Pure in Heart) I will because Hill has populated her stage with one of the more intriguing casts of characters I've encountered in a long time. She also has shown right from this beginning that she's quite willing to take risks with them. I definitely want to see what she does next.
[Source: Purchased through the Zooba Book Club.]
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
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