The Silent Room by Mari Hannah
A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. On 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 investigation.
With a manhunt underway, Ryan is warned to stay away. Keen 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, he 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.
Mari Hannah is a friend, so I’ll put that out there first. That way you can take my thoughts as you want.
I’ve read many of Mari’s Kate Daniels books in the past and you can tell straight away that this is another of Mari’s books by the feel and tone of it, even though it’s separate from Kate Daniels and is a standalone. It has her voice. She knows what she’s doing, where she’s going and how she wants to handle it. You know you are in safe hands when you pair yourself with a Mari Hannah novel.
The Silent Room is a thriller from the get-go as the security van is hijacked by armed men and the disgraced Special Branch cop is taken out of the back and away. But, it’s a thriller with Mari’s very steady capable hand holding you there. You don’t feel rushed as though you’re falling over things, but you do feel the tension as it builds up.
DS Matthew Ryan wants to clear the name of his boss and starts to investigate but is officially stopped, this by no means stops him. He’s loyal to his friend and doesn’t believe what is being said about him. So, he continues to investigate with the help of others. I loved the side characters in The Silent Room. Mari not only built up great front-runners but she paid attention to each character she put on the page. They each had their own quirks, their own backstories. In fact, I’d struggle to say which person was my favourite, they all had something about them I liked. Though, actually, I do have to give a personal shout out to Bob the dog, as he has exactly the same name as the dog I lost only a couple of years ago. (She was a girl though – Bobbie, the Springer.)
This book will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. You won’t be able to put it down. I know I couldn’t.
Earlier I stated this was a standalone thriller, I will say that I doubt this will stay standalone for very long. The characters are strong and work well together. I have a feeling that if this novel is received favourably, then we may well see more of Matthew Ryan and A N Other. And no, I haven’t spoken to Mari at any length or about her books at all, recently, so I have no insider knowledge. This is going purely on the strength of The Silent Room as it stands now. I think Ryan and “Other” would make a great pairing.
With thanks to the author and publisher for my advanced reader copy.