One hot summer’s day, an old flame turns up at Lafferton HQ and Simon Serrailler is catapulted back to his days as a fresh-faced PC in the Met.
That long febrile summer in the early 1990s, London was reeling from one IRA bomb warning after another. Sirens. Blue lights. Tyres screaming. People running. The army called in. And Simon in the thick of it. Until he’s pulled aside and put on a very different kind of job: his first undercover op awaits. Will the young Simon be able to hold his nerve? Or is he walking into a trap?
A short story which seems to be giving readers a little bit of background to Simons early career in the Police force. It is prompted by a visit from an old friend which jogs his memory and we go back with him to London. It’s at the time of IRA activity and there have been bombings. His station is on high alert but there are also a number of hoax callings happening. He is picked for an undercover job – all very cloak and dagger – implying that taking part will be good for his career. He’s keen to get on a CID fast track so Simon goes along and soon his instructions, such as they are, come through. What happens next … well no spoilers here!
Short stories can be strange things, they can just be a stand-alone story which you take as it is given and enjoy (or not) which is fine, end of as it were. They have to be tautly written drawing the reader in, getting across the point with characters, whether to love or hate, to connect with and give a fulfilling read. Not easy in a few pages.
As with a number of authors this short story is linked to a novel, especially a series, giving readers insights to enhance their knowledge, understanding of a character or situation. In this case it seemed to me more a re-introduction to DCI Simon Serrailler for readers. So going back to his early Police career maybe just giving that bit of backstory that will be useful to know when the new book comes out rather than for interest only. It can’t be crucial to the new book as not everyone will read a short story, even when linked to a book/series they enjoy. That is why I find this kind of short story a little strange so I don’t tend to read them. I feel it can be a bit of a waste – money, time – with nothing really necessary to the next book. In this instance I was intrigued as I understood that the last book was supposed to be just that – the last of the Serrailler series – and so I thought it might be good to get back into the Lafferton mind-set. And that is just what it has done – which is great.
But then it also contained a preview of the new book – now that’s a risk! If I read it and don’t like it oh my! I could just not read it but it’s there……..
I was looking forward to the new book……..
and, thank goodness, I still am!
This short story has reassured me that the new book is going to be just as good, as well written (as one would expect of the author) and that there is a story needing to be told and the excerpt that tells me it’s going to be another cracking read from Susan Hill.
With thanks to the publisher Penguin-Vintage for a copy of Old Haunts via NetGalley. This is my own opinion. I have not received any payment in relation to my review.
Print Length: 39 pages
Publisher: Penguin: Vintage Digital (16 Aug. 2018)
Buy: currently 99p Amazon
Author: Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham; and have been shortlisted for the Booker. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Honours. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I’m the King of the Castle, In the Springtime of the Year and A Kind Man. She has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories as well as the Simon Serrailler series of crime novels. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End since 1988. She has two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk.
Murder Down To A Tea
Criminally good reads...
Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger
The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Challenge
Two Girls, Too Many Books
Book reviews for the masses!
Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger
Blogger, Reviewer, Publicist, Beta Reader
Read All About It
WRITER | READER | REVIEWER | RADIO
No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.
Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting
For book lovers everywhere
Free bookreviews and other free book related stuff
The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!
And for summer days
Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections
All things bookish.
Formerly known as Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee
Escaping reality one book at a time
Just a quiet knitter with an addiction to books
Reader | Writer | Blogger
Louise Jensen - Writer - www.louisejensen.co.uk
Thrills & Chills
Monthly Festival : Turn your book into a movie and get it seen by 1000s of people. Or garner FULL FEEDBACK from publishers on your novel and help your next draft. Or get a transcript video of your novel performed by professional actors.
Reading and Reviewing Books - May Contain Beard: "From Tiny Book Blog Buds Shall Mighty Book Blogs Grow" - TBBB
The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations
Book blog with a speculative focus
Reading Books That Make You Blush
Reading under the light of a Carolina moon
Book reviews for book loving people
Books, Writing and Life!
Each night I TRAVEL THE WORLD, I LIVE IN THE MIND OF KILLERS AND WALK AT THE SIDE OF HEROES
The power of the word never fails!
Loving books and reading
A Readers Musings and Reviews
Book reviews and general book blog
Social Media Promotion
Books, reviews and more...
Life in Newcastle and beyond...