The Risk of Darkness is the 3rd book in the DCI Simon Serrailler series, written by Susan Hill. I have been so pleased with my experiences listening to Steven Pacey's narration. And this book was another winner for me. If you are looking for a crime novel series that includes multiple characters, intriguing mysteries with a slower pace, and some dark symbolism and themes, this might be the one for you.
In addition to updates of the Serrailler family and work colleagues of Simon's, The Risk of Darkness carries over a missing child storyline. In the previous book, a little boy was taken and the search continues and expands when Simon is called to consult with police in Yorkshire over another child abduction. There is a new staff member at the cathedral, a female priest named Jane, who crosses paths with many of the characters. Simon's sister, Dr. Cat Deerbon has a patient suffering from Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (Mad Cow) Disease. Her husband is virtually crazed with grief and anger and becomes more so as the story continues. The Serrailler family experiences quite a bit of upheaval and some changes are in the works. All in all, an absorbing book.
I was glad to see the continuation of the missing child case. That had been left dangling and the effects had been felt by all the characters. There was a definite theme of grief again in this book, especially the effects felt by family members when their loved ones are lost to them by death or by criminal actions. Several difficult mother/daughter relationships appear, most of which made this reader want to go hug her own daughter. A new DC is transferred in and becomes part of Simon's team. He won't be well-liked, especially by DS Nathan Coates or indeed by anyone. I'm not sure exactly what part that person played in this book and kind of hope he doesn't appear again. Probably a hope in vain though as sometimes prickly characters serve to agitate things and keep others on edge.
Simon's brother-in-law, Dr. Chris Deerbon, is at a fork in the road of his career and Simon's sister, Cat, is unsure what lies ahead for their medical practice. And Simon himself, well, there were multiple occasions in this book when I wanted to smack him. Sometimes, he is his own worst enemy and his persistence in distancing himself from others, unless it's on his own terms, is hard to watch. Here's hoping that he will develop a better sense of understanding for women and his relationship with them soon. Else, he is likely to remain a lonely man.
The next book in the series is The Vows of Silence and I've already got it loaded and ready to go. Susan Hill's series is one that I'm finding compulsively readable and one that I recommend.