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The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler #3)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,777 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
Child abduction, crazy grief of a widowed husband, a derangement that turns to obsession and threats, violence and terror add up in newest cases for handsome, introverted Simon Serrailler. His cool reserve has broken the hearts of several women. Now his own heart troubled by a feisty female priest with red hair.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by The Overlook Press (first published 2006)
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Apr 01, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy crime/mystery/police procedurals with empasis on character
This is becoming one of my favorite series and this has been the best episode so far. the characters continue to be vividly drawn, their actions often woefully human and unexpected. Easy endings and plot resolutions are not part of Hill's metier. She is much wiser than that. And we readers are blessed with the result. I'm very much looking forward to the next book in the Serrailler series. They are like little gifts to myself.
Diane Barnes
Oct 27, 2014 Diane Barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is just the kind of mystery series that I love. Susan Hill developes her characters in the small town of Lafferton, so you get to know the townspeople in a limited way, just as you'd nod to them on the street in real life. And the main characters are good people, with real problems and serious personality flaws.
There are a lot of different threads in this one, the main story being solving the case left hanging in the last book. The author has no problem portraying evil psychopaths. They are
Jul 30, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I must be feeling nostalgic for England this week; two posts in a row on British books! This one caught my eye because I used to read Susan Hill when I was in my twenties, when she was writing rather good, creepy ghost stories. I had lost touch with her career for some time, and was quite surprised to see a library recommendation for a Susan Hill... crime novel? Well, I had to read on and find out.

On the face of it, The Risk of Darkness is just another British police procedural, a genre which ha
Kay Rollison
When I came across Susan Hill as a judge for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, I remembered that she is best known for her ghost stories and her much hyped Mrs De Winter, a sequel to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. More recently she has turned to writing crime stories featuring DCI Simon Serrailler. The Risk of Darkness (2006) is the third in a series of five.

Hill is clear that the Serrailler books are crime novels – but not detective stories. She sees the crime novel as ‘a serious literary genre’, which
Jul 09, 2016 John rated it it was ok
Oh, jeez, where to start?

It says on the cover that this is a "Simon Serrailler Mystery" . . . except that it's not a mystery at all. A serial abductor/killer of children has been at work; early on, that criminal is identified and apprehended (by Serrailler, in a genuinely exciting bit). We never actually find out the eventual fate or the motivations of the killer: all we're given is a sort of "evil incarnate" explanation, which might perhaps satisfy all the holy rollers who stuff the novel's cas
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This is #3 in the Simon Serrailler series.

Children have been vanishing. There are no leads, no sightings, no bodies, no forensics.

Then a child is seen being snatched. Suddenly they have a vehicle description and a partial number plate. Will it be enough to catch the abductor? And if it is, are they going to be able to link this abduction to the other missing children?

Another easily readable and enjoyable crime novel/family saga from Susan Hill.
Holly Robinson
Jul 04, 2012 Holly Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have just read Susan Hill's second and third mysteries, The Pure in Heart and The Risk of Darkness, back-to-back, and I'm so glad I did, because the stories continue almost seamlessly. A warning to readers looking for cozy mysteries: these are darker than most, and they don't have the tidy Hollywood endings we've come to expect. Many of your favorite characters will meet bad ends, you'll find yourself feeling a bit sorry for the well-rounded (but no less creepy) villains, and all of the second ...more
The Risk of Darkness is the 3rd in a series of atypical crime novels featuring the detective Simon Serrailler. I have very much enjoyed the series so far and I will be putting book no. 4 on my reserve list soon. However, I would offer some cautions to a fan of straightforward who-dunnits and police procedurals about Susan Hill's style.

Crimes are not neatly solved in this series. The police are not Sherlock Holmsian in their perceptions and abilities. Loose ends are left hanging. Questions are le
Jun 06, 2013 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed with this one. The first book in the Simon Serrailler series was fantastic. It has a gripping plot, interesting protagonist, excellent character development, and a lovely English village for it all to percolate in. The second book in the series was also very good. This one; not so much. The synopsis of this book states that it's "filled with action and adventure". I would restate that as "filled with random craziness and and chock full of characters that I don't give a f ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in the Simon Serrailler detective series and for me the best so far. Probably because I am getting used to the author’s style of switching from one thread to another which can be confusing as they are not always related. Whereas Simon played a rather minor role in the first book of the series I now feel I know him better though I still don’t like him much and prefer his sister Cat. Indeed there is so much information about the Serrailler family as a whole that it often seems mu ...more
This third book in the Simon Serralier series picks up right where the second, The Pure in Heart, ended. It would definitely be best to read this series in order, because a lot of the loose ends from the previous book are sorted out here. However, the kidnapping story started in the second book still leaves a few loose ends even by the end of this one, so I hope that more of the story continues in the fourth book.

This is definitely an enjoyable series, but one that requires a bit of patience fro
Mar 17, 2014 Estibaliz79 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta novela se lleva las cuatro estrellas por la originalidad de su planteamiento, aunque mi puntuación final es un 3 1/2; porque aunque el viaje es placentero, pues Hill sabe cómo construir personajes y captar la atención del lector, el final resulta un tanto decepcionante, tanto en el aspecto de lo personal para su protagonista, como en el hecho de que algunos aspectos queden sin resolver, si se trata de buscar porqués.

Una novela negra en la que muy pronto no sólo se sabe quién es el culpable,
Dec 15, 2013 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimethriller
The third installment carries on from the second book with Serrailler still hunting for a child killer. The series also introduces characters whose part in the story is at first unclear.
The books don't come from the pov of Serrailler, there is his sister Cat, his father and mother. There's also the sense that no one is safe with Hill not afraid to kill off a well liked character.
Enjoying this series a great deal, just wish Lafferton existed.
Apr 19, 2015 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone must've told Susan Hill to ratchet up the energy level a little, because in this book, sleepy little Lafferton is almost as crime-ridden as Cabot Cove. It's distracting how many unpleasant things keep happening to the main characters (especially the poor new priest), and Hill's juggling of the many strands of story is not as sure as in the previous two books. She spends too many chapters with the killer's mother and neighbors, neither of whom she draws particularly well; the treatment of ...more
Oct 15, 2010 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author and this series was recommended to me with the caveat that I should begin with the first in the series of the Simon Serrailler mysteries, The Various Haunts of Men. I think that would have been a good idea in this case. I find Susan Hill to be a good writer, in that I enjoyed this book for the most part, it kept my interest up and she has good language skills. Even so, there is something a little off with her style. The book cover compares her to P. D. James and Elizabeth George, but ...more
Sep 26, 2009 Caitlin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The main character in The Risk of Darkness is Simon Serrailler, a British police detective who is also an artist. He has a quirky family & interpersonal troubles & is likely to remind you of PD James' Adam Dalgleish. This is the third book in the series. I thought I hadn't read any of these, but realized as I was reading that I recognized Simon & found that I had read the first one, The Various Haunts of Men.

This is a slow, almost meditative book that I hesitate to call a mystery bec
Barbara Mitchell
Feb 25, 2011 Barbara Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uh-oh, I'm involved in another series! The Risk of Darkness is a Simon Serrailler mystery and I do believe I'm in love. Not really, but Serrailler is a wonderfully conflicted British detective with a good heart. He is a triplet whose sister lives nearby in Lafferton, and brother lives in Australia and has little to do with the family. Simon is close to his mother but his father is rather too aloof for the triplets to feel much for him. Sister Cat is a doctor with a generous soul which often caus ...more
Apr 02, 2014 Peacejanz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third of the Simon Serrailler mysteries. It is not a stand-alone book. Hill builds on her previous Simon books. As usual, there is a crime -- small children go missing and are never heard from again. No one has ever found the remains. How can smart little children get into a car with a killer? They are trained not to do so! Yet, the children keep disappearing. And, as usual, there are multiple family problems, Simon's casual girlfriend does not want to be casual anymore,
a new woman
Jane Seaford
Mar 10, 2013 Jane Seaford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Hill is one of my favourite authors from way back but I'd not read her 'crime novels'. So when a friend recommended them I went straight to the library to find them and came across 'The Risk of Darkness.'

I love the way Susan Hill writes, so spare, careful, lucid and clean. Her characters are great and the story gripping. BUT for me it wasn't a 'crime novel'. It was a novel about people, how they were in the world, how they related to each other and how they coped with the various things t
Aug 27, 2011 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I'm a big fan of Susan Hill and this series in general but not this installment. I simply found it overwrought, especially the bereaved widower so deranged by grief that he becomes a dangerous stalker and the elderly psychiatrist assaulted by a former patient. Everyone in this novel is out of sorts, including DCI Simon Serailler, who is in danger of becoming so hardened that he no longer empathizes with anyone's troubles but his own. Even Cat Deerbon and her husband are at odds in this outing, t ...more
May 06, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ISG friends who love mysteries too
Shelves: mystery
This is the third in a wonderful new British series. The detective, Simon Serrailler, is a wonderful character and his family are too - he's a triplet; his sister and her husband are doctors, as were his parents so he is the family rebel. The other triplet, Ivo, lives in Australia and looks to figure in the next book. The plots and crimes are interesting and well done but the characters are what drive this series for me. Serrailler is also an artist; he draws and exhibits and sells his work unde ...more
Jeff Howells
Jan 08, 2015 Jeff Howells rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hot on the heels of reading the second Simon Serrailler book, I've now finished the third. This one carries on immediately from the 2nd and ties up some of the outstanding plots. Susan Hill is good at depicting the banality of crime and subverts some of the usual crime novel tropes. She also ensures that although the character of Simon Serrailler is very much the 'romantic loner' he can also be a bit of a conceited sh1t...It appears to me after reading two of the series in short succession that ...more
Mar 14, 2013 LB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Death, death, death, and more deaths; departure, departure, departure. Deranged murderers. Not much else to this one by Susan Hill. It' s too much death happening to different people in a short span of time in a village environment to be remotely realistic. I would like to read more mystery and less death scenes. Though Hill's characters are interesting, and there are many, they are bounced in and out of the story until death overcomes them, or they are left for a follow-up in the next book in t ...more
Kristi Lamont
Wow. That was really good in several of the most awful, bleak and depressing ways imaginable.
Mar 25, 2009 Michele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susan Marcy
Shelves: 2009
This is the third book in this series and I have enjoyed them all though I wish that Susan Hill did not so closely echo PD James( who I have enjoyed for years).
Dalglish= Poet=Commander of Serious Crime- New Scotland Yard=Difficulties forming long standing relationships with women.
Seraillier=Artist= Soon to be appointed to Exceptional Crime=Again problems with relationships.
The poor tortured souls.
I suspect that the reality is somewhat less exciting but then that is what fiction is all about.

Kim Kaso
Sep 17, 2015 Kim Kaso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so pleased I came across these books. I am rationing them so that I can dive into them when I need something I really good, something that engages me thoroughly. We belong to a cathedral congregation, so that feels very familiar. We lived in England, so it feels like home. They are splendidly written, the characters are engaging, the plots are compelling, I look forward to them like a bar of really great chocolate that I've saved for an emergency. I know I can count on its excellence. Highl ...more
This is the third installment of the Simon Serrailler novels by Susan Hill. I read the first one, The Various Haunts of Men, a few years ago, but only got around to reading the second one, The Pure In Heart, a few days ago. As I had this book on the shelf, I thought I might as well dive straight in while the story was still fresh in my mind, as this novel continues on from book two.

Quite early on in the book we find out the identity of the person who abducted a child from his garden, and that re
Pff.... on ne m'y reprendra pas !
Feb 07, 2015 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a great deal but I found that I liked the first two books in the series better. I would also say that for anyone randomly picking this book up to read, it is probably best to start the series from the beginning as information and stories from prior books are referred to often.
Main story plots:
- continuation of missing children case from prior book
- heartbroken man becomes deranged following his wife's death
- the introduction of a new (possibly returning) character who is of s
Apr 27, 2016 P.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-novels
This follows almost seamlessly from the second in the series, 'The Pure in Heart'. However I did not enjoy it as much. There have been some excellent reviews of the book, so I will simply add my take, which is that there are too many characters. I also feel that there are too many events packed into the narrative. Susan Hill writes beautifully, but at times even she appeared to have become stuck in some of the sidelines to the main event. I certainly did! I love the Serrailler family, and she de ...more
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Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor
More about Susan Hill...

Other Books in the Series

Simon Serrailler (8 books)
  • The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)
  • The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2)
  • The Vows of Silence (Simon Serailler, #4)
  • The Shadows in the Street (Simon Serrailler, #5)
  • The Betrayal of Trust (Simon Serrailler, #6)
  • A Question of Identity (Simon Serrailler, #7)
  • The Soul of Discretion (Simon Serrailler, #8)

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