The Vows of Silence, Susan Hill
Since I discovered Susan Hill's mystery series featuring Simon Serrailler back in March, I've been reading my way through the books- slowly, because it's only five books so far, and probably a long wait for the next one.
The Vows of Silence is the fourth in the series. It is as enthralling as the others, with the police on the hunt for a gunman targeting primarily young women. As in the other books, the POV shifts between characters, including the gunman, who naturally isn't named. Because of his POV sections, we understand his motivation and actions much sooner than the police do. I was actually a little surprised that it took them so long to see the pattern of his victims.
For me, though, this story was overshadowed by the parallel story of Simon's sister Cat and her family. Cat has been my favorite character in the series, a loving daughter, wife, mother and sister, as well as a gifted doctor, and a woman of faith. At the end of the last book, they were setting off for an extended stay in Australia, leaving Simon on his own soon after the death of their mother. As this book opens, Cat and Simon are both rejoicing in their return home. Their joy is quickly interrupted by a medical crisis that threatens Cat's family, and by Simon's anger over their father's new relationship.
By the end of the book, Simon has lost another family member, one of the few close to him. In each book, Hill has stripped away his connections, leaving him more isolated. Aware of his isolation, and somewhat troubled by it, he decides to reach out to someone, a woman who initially rejected him. The book ends without telling us how she responded. (I immediately picked up the next book to see What Happens Next, but there was no mention in the first couple of chapters that I paged through, so I virtuously put it down again).