The Soul of Discretion
Paperback: 400 pages
8 Oct. 2015
Filled with tight, quick-witted, suspense-filled prose, Susan Hill has produced the epitome of what it takes to beguile her readers with Simon Serrailler’s eighth and latest outing, The Soul of Discretion, which sees the Chief Superintendant go undercover in a high security prison with a twist so as to unearth the secrets that lay behind the make-up of a dangerous paedophile ring that reaches the highest echelons of society.
Not for the faint hearted, Hill brings to the fore what it is that makes these men tick through some beautifully crafted dialogue and interactions of the inmates, whilst also keeping in mind the dangers that such indoctrination can make evident and, so, delivers an insight that is at once as disturbing as it is compelling.
In Simon Serrailler, the author has created a protagonist who is as credible as he is flawed, whilst also managing to steer clear of many of the clichéd stereotypes that many in his position might succumb. Superb, too, are the descriptive styles that bring vividly to life not only the confines of the prison but also the day-to-day routines such establishments offer, though here on a necessarily sanitised level that makes the subject matter all the more powerful.
Added to this is a subplot which, in itself, provides a stark insight into how the rich and powerful can twist that which they are meant to uphold in order to escape justice, if only on the face of it, and how those directly involved are left to deal with the consequences.
In all, The Soul of Discretion is a thoroughly enjoyable, fundamentally astute and richly thought provoking novel that will leave readers both enraged and satisfied in equal measures.