We met the enigmatic and brooding Simon Serrailler in The Various Haunts of Men and got to know him better in The Pure in Heart and The Risk of Darkness. The Vows of Silence, the fourth crime novel featuring Chief Inspector Serrailler, is perhaps even more compulsive and convincing than its predecessors. A gunman is terrorizing young women in the cathedral town of Laffterton. What, if anything, links the apparently random murders? Is the marksman with the rifle the same as the killer with the handgun? With the complexity and character study that earned raves for The Pure in Heart and the relentless pacing and plot twists of The Various Haunts of Men, The Vows of Silence is truly the work of a writer at the top of her form.
In Hill's unremarkable fourth novel to feature Chief Insp. Simon Serrailler (after 2008's The Risk of Darkness), Serrailler and his team race against time to stop a killer who's gunning down young women, apparently at random. Newlywed Melanie Drew is the first victim, shot at close range inside her flat in Lafferton. The killer shifts method for his second attack, using a rifle to shoot into a crowd outside a nightclub. Next, he uses a handgun to murder a young mother in front of her toddler. The variety of approaches leads the police to consider whether two different killers are at work, even as Serrailler's sergeant finds the visits of Drew's widowed husband to the scenes of the subsequent crimes suspicious. Hill does a decent job of generating suspense with sections from the murderer's point of view, but many readers will lament the lack of fair-play clues to his identity. Hill is also the author of the acclaimed horror novel The Woman in Black.