15th Jul2015

Book review – No Other Darkness

by Lloyd Paige


Sarah Hilary’s second novel No Other Darkness sees the welcomed return of Marnie Rome, a very interesting character from what we know so far. It begins with two young boys trapped in an underground bunker, with only each other for company. And then we flip forward a few years later to a gruesome discovery; their bodies. But questions begin to surface. Who are they and who left them in the bunker? Troubled teen Clancy Brown seems like a strong suspect but is he guilty?

In this fractured world every clue is important and No Other Darkness keeps the reader on their toes because of the way Hilary writes. She doesn’t rush her story, in fact she takes her time to cultivate it and the tension is further amplified by the mysterious voice that comes out of the Lawton Down Prison chapters.

Judging by her two books so far, Hilary isn’t afraid to pick difficult subjects either and wrap intricate insights of Marnie Rome’s personal life, and also that of her colleague Noah, around them. There’s a particular skill that’s required to do that well and to also keep the focus firmly on the case but that’s what makes her books so readable.

No Other Darkness provides a solid and competent piece of crime fiction storytelling that is sure to enhance Hilary’s already growing reputation even further. If you haven’t read it yet then put it in your To Read List.


DI Marnie Rome knows the dangerous secrets that families can hide. She’s still trying to uncover the truth of what drove her foster brother to murder her parents five years ago, and he’s equally determined to keep her in the dark. But this new case surprises even her. Surely the corpses of two small boys, buried in a bunker in a London garden, should be claimed by someone – grieved by someone? The skeletons are found by a young family who are fostering an angry fourteen year old boy, Clancy Brand. Marnie can’t help seeing the shadow of her foster brother in Clancy; his fascination with the gruesome discovery in the garden seems unhealthy, to say the least. Terry and Beth, his foster parents, are trying their hardest to help Clancy adjust to family life after years of neglect. Marnie doesn’t know if they’re wasting their time, but she suspects the family is in serious danger.

The discovery of a stash of drugs for the treatment of post-partum psychosis makes her look afresh at the relationships in the house. Nothing, she realises, is what it seems here. Not to mention the mystery of who is leaving gifts for the dead boys. Gifts that lead her back to Stephen, her foster brother. Is Marnie in danger of letting her own family’s horror blind her? One thing’s certain: when the couple’s birth children go missing, she knows she can’t waste any time finding them. NO OTHER DARKNESS is a compelling journey to the toxic edge of society, a place where people fall between cracks and go unmissed, perhaps forever. A place where DI Marnie Rome fights to protect those in danger.

Publisher, Headline


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