The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow. So dark. So very, very dark. Not just the Simon main story but Richard's side story - it did make me wonder why we needed both in one volume (and dropped this to a 4.5). Hill frequently "goes there" with darkness, yet this felt a little more than usual. Richard's part felt a little forced, despite our seeing him increasingly as a bully and potentially an abuser.
So the main story? Disturbing to say the least: Simon enters the world of child pornography, and while we don't "see" anything, his reactions to what he's watching and hearing let us know exactly how bad it is. And coming just after his really negative reaction to Rachel's moving in (which he's ok with, except for her moving furniture or adding her own touches... let alone her suggestion that they move)? Poor Simon. I've often thought of him as a new version of Adam Dalgleish and this just cements that.
There's so much fallout being held over to the next book (what's going to happen with Rachel's bookshop? is this the last we'll see of Judith? how will Cat move forward? what will Richard do now?) that I'm hoping it's already partly written. Given the ending, however, I suspect that we'll join everyone several months (or longer) in the future with this book still resonating but well behind everyone. Can't wait!