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The Silent Room Paperback – 11 October 2016
A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. En route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the manhunt.
Desperate to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, Ryan goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth.
When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.
Exciting and frightening thriller, that makes you look over your shoulder, even here in peaceful Norway - made me think of "Homeland" when I read it. -- Gunnar Staalesen
It has everything a good thriller should, compelling characters, a gripping plot and storyline, superb pacing and a strong sense of place. In addition it has heart, something many thrillers sorely lack. Mari Hannah's superb writing style is put to good use during this break from her series and I was annoyed every time I was forced to put the book down and do mundane yet necessary stuff like eat or sleep. -- Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Silent Room by Mari Hannah is a dark, gripping and brutal work of true quality from a writer at the very peak of her powers. -- David Mark
A tense and compelling standalone thriller from one of our foremost crime writers. This book gripped me from the opening pages and never let go. -- David Jackson, author of Cry Baby
Mari Hannah has always had two key specialities: a gift for genuinely ingenious plotting matched by a skill at choreographing suspense sequences that is the equal of more stellar names in the genre. Both characteristics are at full stretch in The Silent Room, with everyone involved (notably the warring officers in the Northumbrian police) leaping off the page. But a crime novel stands or falls on how vividly its central protagonist is conjured, and Hannah has come up with a real winner in Detective Sergeant Matt Ryan. -- Barry Forshaw ― Independent
Taut storytelling and razor-sharp dialogue - not to mention Hannah's use of the Northumberland countryside - make this a novel not to be missed. ― Daily Mail
Very creepy. Read it on your commute and you'll be looking over your shoulder all the way home. ― Marie Claire
Mari has had a varied career and her partner was once a murder detective, which perhaps explains why she pulls some punches about the police force here...This story is based on actual experience, like so many crime novels. It is relatively mild, as far as language and explicit violence go, and despite or because of that it is curiously gripping and enjoyable. -- Jessica Mann ― Literary Review
Pacey, standalone thriller . . . turns out to be an International conspiracy, with all the delicious twists and turns that entails. ― Sunday Express
Hannah knows how to keep up the pace of her narrative with an excellent mix of action scenes and engaging character . . . Best of all, she creates high drama without using psychopaths, paedophiles or lost children. ― BookOxygen
A rollercoaster of a ride involving corruption, surveillance and espionage . . . the author is a brilliant writer. ― Sun
A tightly plotted, page turning read with believable characters and a good sense of time and place. ― Choice Magazine
Marks out this former probation officer as one of our most exciting and accomplished crime writers . . . Since the publication of The Murder Wall in 2012, Hannah has deservedly moved into the top league, producing deep, dark, action-packed thrillers that showcase her keen eye for authentic police and forensic detail, masterful plotting and superb characterisation skills . . . As always, Hannah's intelligent plotting is given extra impetus by a cast of vibrant and credible characters, each beautifully portrayed and each explored and developed with the author's remarkable insight, empathy and sensitivity.Clever, compelling and sophisticated. -- Pam Norfolk ― Lancashire Evening Post
- Publisher : Pan (11 October 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1447291050
- ISBN-13 : 978-1447291053
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 853,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Opening with the hijacking of a prison van on its way from the Crown Court to HMP Durham, the passenger inside is the now disgraced Special Branch officer, DI Jack Fenwick, a man who went from hero to zero in the eyes of the law when an investigation into illegal firearms saw him hung out to dry. Northumbria Police might have been quick to besmirch his impeccable reputation but for DS Matthew Ryan he doesn't doubt his superior and close friend for one moment. Fenwick's supposed guilt is based on an anonymous tip-off acted upon immediately that uncovered a stash of illegal firearms at his home. Launched without any warning the tip-off smells like a fit up job to DS Ryan who voices his opinion and swiftly makes him persona non gratis within Special Branch. That the Professional Standards officers overseeing the investigation suspect Ryan of having involvement in springing his former boss from the prison van sees him suspended and his warrant card rescinded, effectively shutting him out of aiding his colleagues in furthering his protestations of Jack's innocence. Leading the investigation into DI Jack Fenwick is Professional Standards officer Detective Superintendent Eloise O'Neil, a woman of integrity who is hindered by her jumped up and malicious partner, DS John Maguire who delights in bringing down his former colleagues, regardless of the truth. However, with Jack's wife, Hilary, convinced that he was onto something big with the potential to claim lives and Jack's solicitor confirming this theory it forces Matt Ryan to face that fact that his loyal colleague withheld information and was not yet ready to disclose his suspicions. With Hilary and Caroline, DS Ryan's blind since birth twin shaken to the core by Jack's arrest, Matt Ryan must man up to go into battle to clear his former bosses name. As he contemplates the bond they shared, a devastated Matt Ryan is awash with memories, particularly with regard to the very deep personal connections they shared.
Intent on righting the wrong and proving his bosses innocence sees Ryan teaming up with the feisty Grace Ellis a now retired stalwart of the Special Branch who Ryan and Fenwick both served under, and has since been shuffled off into retirement. This makeshift task force is completed by former MI5 spook, Frank Newman, a man who broke Grace's heart once upon a time, leaving some tension around the dining table that functions as their central HQ in Grace's home. From interviewing witnesses and sounding out colleagues, the trio realise that they might just be forced to go 'dark' to uncover the truth. Resurrecting Grace's home, once a satellite outpost for a functioning murder investigation room, to its original specifications with back door access to all the same computer systems as the investigating officers, is a huge risk to take but for everyone involved. All to aware that exposure would sound a death knell on his future career, Ryan has the most to lose from the discovery of the 'silent room' by enemies and authorities alike. Discovering Jack's notebooks could provide the shadow task force with a head start in unravelling the turmoil but with Professional Standards tailing Ryan, the clock is counting down. Despite knowing what at face value occurred during Jack's abduction and the preceding investigation I was most impressed with how Hannah reanalysed the facts and shed light on areas from a different angle and thus delivered real credibility to the idea of a top down review which I confess to always been rather sceptical of and unconvinced of the value added. Whether it be from posing different questions to enhancing videos or risking life and limb as in Ryan's case, The Silent Room sheds new and convincingly light on previously unexplored strands to the story.
The Silent Room's plot involves a strong understanding of internal investigations and Hannah effortlessly succeeds in leaving the distinct impression that she is more than comfortable handling the technological aspects of her plot, rather than simply bluffing her way, all adding an extra dimension to a compelling thriller. Hugely atmospheric, the sense of grief and betrayal for DS Matt Ryan and Grace Ellis by the force is acutely observed and ratchets up the tension into the close, well evinced by the plain-speaking dialogue and edgy tempers fraying. DS Ryan's sense of responsibility to Fenwick's wife, Hilary, and their three children is well conveyed and The Silent Room is a thriller with a real handle on the heartache of Fenwick's family, friends and allies. As the official and unofficial investigations come together, whether the two parties can work together is another matter... All in all, The Silent Room is an absolute page-turner with a cast of characters with potential for plenty more and seeing that a follow-up is in the works has put a spring in my step. I am most definitely on-board for DS Matt Ryan's further adventures!
The very good news is that I currently have three unread novels from the Kate Daniels series awaiting my perusal and on the strength of this exceptionally well-written thriller I shall be quickly redressing my priorities!
Review written by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
A security van with a disgraced Special Branch officer Jack Fenwick in the back is hijacked by armed men. The prisoner is taken. His close friend and colleague DS Matt Ryan is suspended from duty and under suspicion of being complicit in the escape.
Action packed right from the start and gripped me from the front page. Couldn’t look away in case I missed something!
After the prisoner abduction or escape depending on who believes which scenario, we’re off on the journey alongside DS Ryan, an old retired Special Branch colleague of his Grace Ellis, a spook associate of hers Frank Newman to try to first find Frank and discover who is holding him and why.
Some shocking parts of the book I really didn’t want to happen and I was shouting out “No, no”, but happen they did and the consequences were devastating.
DCI Eloise O’Neill and her not very likeable colleague DS Maguire from the police professional standards unit are also investigating the case and are not so convinced of the abducted prisoner’s innocence. There’s a Scandinavian connection and at times this is Northumbrian Noir meets Nordic Svart (I looked that up)
Now and then I have a thought that I might have a go as a crime fiction writer. I can visualise the headlines “Grandmother of five starts writing successful crime fiction novels in her sixties”, then I read books like this and think ‘Ha, who am I kidding’
Think I’ll stick to reading and enjoying them and this one was a very enjoyable read and the first one in a new series I hope.
I have already read everyone and pre ordered her next one. I love the Vera series but these knock the spots off them. Wish they would do a series on these books. Keep em coming Mari, my husband is an ex Northumberia Police Officer and it's humour has brought so many laughable happy memories back. We can even see his colleagues written into each one of the characters in the book. Thanks to Mo to for sharing the humour with you.
I'm totally hooked.