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Publisher's Summary

The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.

When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton's new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone - not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon's sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon's father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.

©2014 Susan Hill (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about The Soul of Discretion

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just wow

Sometimes I could simply shake Simon other time’s I want to give him a good piece of my mind and share a strong whisky. What a great character he is as is his sister Kat. This story had me from page one. I love the narration, the pace and complex subplots.
I want more!

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  • carolyn
  • 13-10-2014

Steven Pacey is a marvel.

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

I have listened to hundreds of audible books and Steven Pacey is one of the greatest performers I have ever heard. Simply the best!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 21-05-2016

Great book, but content warning

I like Susan Hill's writing, characters and descriptions. This novel was more scattered than usual as the main action was in three or four places with charters incommunicado from each other. The police are trying to crack a kiddie porn ring, so if you are sensitive to this topic, know that it is discussed in the abstract, but that there are no scenes that include it explicitly.

4 people found this helpful

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  • PlantCrone
  • 12-11-2014

Leaves you wanting the next episode in series

Although I have enjoyed each of the Simon Serrailler novels, from Hills tight plotsnto Paceys wonderful narration, this novel was the most gripping of all the books in the series in my opinion.

Based on up to date horriffic social issues that none of us really want to read about, Simon is sent underground into a dangerous situation fraught with perils where he is discovered as a spy. Any more info would create a spoiler and I don't want to mess up your excitement.

Simons family reaches situations that have been building over the past 4-5 books and placed in less than hopeful circumstances that not only tax Simon but threaten the peace had harmony we've come to expect from his sister and her friends who seemed to have reached some joy in their lives.

This may be the Last book, as many story arcs come to a less than satisfying end, but other new plot lines were brought out and the listener is left to ask herself "can Simon overcome the horrible situation?". And wonder what will happen next.

If you enjoyed most or all of the series do listen to this 2014 issued audiobook to become enthralled as you might have been with the first introductory novel.

I loved it and it's amongst the top 5 on my 2014 reading list.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Chalis
  • 01-05-2017

Troubling Subject Matter, Excellent Story

This story deals with some dark subjects including child abuse. There are a few violent scenes, which I admit I skipped through. These scenes are less violent and prolonged than many that appear in prime time television these days - I don't watch those either.

These scenes were a small part of the story. As in earlier books in the series. I was caught up in the stories of various characters and the Serrailler family. Some of the outcomes are sad, some are hopeful. Many questions are answered, some are not. .

I hope there will be another Simon Serrailler book. But it seems possible there won't be. If there isn't a new book, I'll be grateful for the eight books we do have. And I expect I will read them again and again.

Stephen Pacey's narration is superb.



2 people found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 04-10-2014

Execllent book!

What made the experience of listening to The Soul of Discretion the most enjoyable?

I believe Susan Hill is able to draw the reader in with what she writes and Steven Pacey gives it life. As an author she is not afraid of topics often left out for fear of controversy, such as rape, death and dying, etc. I also love the way she doesn't feel obligated to close her books with happy endings for everyone involved, life just doesn't work that way.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Soul of Discretion?

I would love to write something done; however, for two reasons I am unable, 1) I have several memorable moments, and 2) I don't want to give any of the story away - I feel it is that good!

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

I could listen to Steven Pacey speak for hours! His narration of the Simon series is perfect!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ore O
  • 06-04-2015

More interested in the support characters

Would you try another book from Susan Hill and/or Steven Pacey?

Yes, if only to see what happens next. This book ends on a sort of cliffhanger. I also love listening to Steve Pacey,

What could Susan Hill have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I can't lie, I am quite bored with Simon Serrailler's private life, I wish the author would just stick to the case. I found myself more interested in the supporting characters, I was intrigued by Kat's family, Judith's struggle in her marriage and I wish she had elaborated on what happened to Simon Serrailler's girlfriend. You know there is a problem, when you are skipping the chapters to get to parts dealing with everyone but the main character.

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

He is the only reason I keep listening. Wonderful portrayal of the different characeters.

Do you think The Soul of Discretion needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes, if only to resolve the incidents and relationships. I guess to also find out what happens next, more for me the other characters than, Simon, but still...

Any additional comments?

Not really, this was not just for me, I am finding Susan Hill's support characters so much more interesting than her main character. Her last, three books have had some really strong side stories, that captivated my interest.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alee
  • 22-03-2015

The best in the series

Very fast paced, excellent story and reading was also great.
Wish there were more. Looking forward to finding more books by her.

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Edwards
  • 13-03-2015

The best in an amazing series.

What did you love best about The Soul of Discretion?

This book as with all of the ones in the series covers controversial topics, especially this one. I love the way Hill weaves story lines together. Even though these books are about Simon the DCS, they are also about his family, their lives including both good and bad happenings. In this particular book in the series many things come together, yet still leave much more to tell. It was by far the most intense of the series covering some very gruesome yet timely topics. I was enthralled and unable to set the book aside.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Simon closely followed by his sister Cat. They are so real and human. I like Simon because of his intensity, though I sometimes want to slap him. He is well balanced by Cat though his twin (triplet?), they could not be more different in many ways. They seem to complete and complement each other at the same time.

Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to all the books in this series, all narrated by Mr. Pacer. He is one of the best! I could listen to him all day. His ability to change character, his timing, his fluidity with the stories is amazing

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book over 2 days, but given the opportunity I would have done in one sitting. It is that good and very interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blue
  • 28-06-2021

First a wife beater, now grampa is a rapist?

The first 6 books were good enough to keep me interested, but book 7 had grampa beating his wife and her doing nothing to stop it. Now book 8 has grampa raping women. This series has devolved into utter crap. Save your time and money.

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  • JayM
  • 14-08-2018

Love the series, love Steven Pacey

I absolutely loved every book in this series, and I loved all the characters, even the ones I hated! I can't wait for the next one. (I just re-listened to this last one.) I've listened to over a hundred audio books and Steven Pacey is top of the list. Fantastic. He set the bar pretty high for all other narrators.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sal
  • 08-10-2014

It's dark, this one

If you've come this far with Susan Hill, Serrailler and Stephen Pacey then you don't need me to tell you about the writing and narration of the series. Other than perhaps that Stephen Pacey has spoiled me for all other narrators and made theirs a difficult job. Perfect as ever.

This one covers a very dark subject matter - child abuse. My reason for four stars, not five, is purely that I learned a couple of turns of phrase I might otherwise have chosen not to know. A credit to the research though and nothing offensive.

You'd not want to buy this one for your aged aunt. Wow it is powerful. Quite brutal and Sad on so many levels. I think particularly so because of a curved-ball sub plot.

You will not be wasting a credit on this one but for the newcomers I'd suggest starting at the beginning of the Serrailler stories and working through to this one. There are a couple of crystallising moments which have special nuance if you have come all the way.

I am desperate to know if Simon Serrailler is right or left handed but that will become clear to you as you get to the end. One of those books which absolutely must have a follow up, almost too difficult to come to terms with.

Great, just as you'd expect. Do it.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 08-10-2014

Absolute high spot in this first rate series

I loathe the term 'roller coaster of a ride' - but that is what this story is.

Susan Hill tackles a multitude of issues - child abuse, snuff movies, rape, lack of care for the terminally ill. The latter aspect is particularly pertinent to me (as I cared for my mother) and I am gobsmacked at how well she describes everyone's feelings and needs.

On the child abuse issue I can say I am a shocking whimp - and I originally feared I'd not be able to go the mile on this story. Not so - it's handled well - and the feint hearted will be able to cope aok and listen to the whole story (and not even need to fast forward).
The rape storyline is also wonderfully (and carefully) handled.

This really is an exceptional story/book/read. Go for it.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 18-10-2014

Repellant subjects explored in a compelling story

I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series featuring the enigmatic detective, Simon Serrailler. An unusual creation for this genre of fiction in that he is a sensitive man whose relaxation is water-colour painting. He is not a hard-drinking, smoking, and swearing maverick cop, but is self-contained and aloof: admirable and dedicated at work but difficult to live with. Over the series the author has also created people surrounding him that have a depth of character that makes one care about their lives. Lives that run in parallel to Serrailer’s pursuit of criminals and which make the books much richer in human-interest and enable the author to explore other themes such as bereavement and, in this case, palliative care. This book is not an easy listen as the crimes involve the sexual abuse of children and the destructive effects of rape on a woman’s life. The author doesn’t dwell on the details but ones imagination does the rest. I’d rate this the darkest of the series, though one of the most gripping and unforgettable.

As always, the writing is exemplary and the narrator, Steven Pacey is superb as usual.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Sue
  • 26-04-2015

Intense, powerful and dark

Having read the Simon Serrailler books virtually back to back I can only hope this wasn't the last! The subject matter is difficult but handled extremely well and the twists in the plot keep you gripped to the very end. Susan Hill is a master of narrative and Steven Spacey the ultimate narrator for these books. Each of the books is compelling in it's own right, but the continuation of the characters, their lives and challenges adds the real human dimention which keeps you hooked along with the crimes. If you have got this far with Simon Serrailler dont give up now because of the storyline.

4 people found this helpful

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  • The White Rabbit
  • 21-02-2015

Brilliant, better than ever!

Steven Pacey is my favourite narrator and Susan Hill's sequence of detective novels my favourite - and they keep getting better. This one deals with even more complicated issues than the previous one, never in a lecturing or annoying way, but perfectly judged. I can't bear the gaps between these novels...

4 people found this helpful

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  • Gwen Owen
  • 11-10-2014

Another Serrailler gem

What made the experience of listening to The Soul of Discretion the most enjoyable?

Good narration and the main plot with the added Michelle, Rachel and Judith by-lines

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Soul of Discretion?

The final sentence.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and actually did so on a very long coach trip from Newquay, Cornwall to my home in north Wales. As it reached its climax I didn't mind that we were stuck in traffic.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Louise
  • 14-10-2014

I didn't want it to end.

If you could sum up The Soul of Discretion in three words, what would they be?

Familiar. Compelling. Hard subject

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoy the characters I know them by now after listening to all the Serrailer books. I listened to it in one go and didn't want it to end. The narrator has a great story telling voice.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I can't say I 'enjoyed' the scenes, as the subject was horrible and very, very disturbing

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I was ill and listened to it at any opportunity

Any additional comments?

For me, it's a familiar voice reading, a family I feel I know well, and lots of sub stories going on to keep you away from the vile subject of child abuse. A very painful subject,

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. D. I. Reynolds-hale
  • 11-10-2014

The Serrailler series

Would you listen to The Soul of Discretion again? Why?

I have listened to most of the Serrailler books, and admire Susan Hill's writing. This last book in the series, The Soul of Discretion, has far more depth than its predecessors and is a very good read indeed and appropriate for today, when we are all so much more aware of child abuse and pornography. I look forward to the sequel: meanwhile am about to start this book from the beginning again. Thoroughly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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  • D. L. G.
  • 25-11-2019

I can never un-hear this.

I used to love this series but after book 5 I felt it had run its course. I succumbed and bought this as a Daily Deal and I really wish I hadn't. None of the characters was sympathetic and no-one comes out of the book well. The child abuse storyline is, of course, horrendous but so is the disintegration of Richard and Judith's marriage and the rape of Shelly. Others have said these themes were 'handled well' but I cannot agree. The women in this book were all portrayed as victims: assertive and independent Judith reduced to cowering in a corner from Richard's bullying; capable and nurturing Kat reduced to whinging and indifference to her step-mother's plight. Rachel, striking and unique enough to have persuaded Simon to live with her, reduced to tearful apologies for daring to re-arrange the furniture of their shared home. The men were no better; bullies all and given to deeply unpleasant attitudes towards women. I listened, astonished and horrified, as Shelly's staggeringly insensitive husband repeatedly told her it wasn’t rape, silly girl, and expressed utter incredulity that she might consider damaging his career by reporting it to the police. Surely, I thought, this ignorant man would get his comeuppance just to show that these attitudes are outdated and unacceptable? Sadly, the men just get away with it and I think it does a lot of damage to have notions such as ‘it’s only rape if a man you don’t know attacks you in a dark alley somewhere’ go completely unchallenged in a modern novel.
I’m still not sure how Kieran got from a mobile number to the final resolution for the paedophile ring, we seemed to leap from the interrogation to the newspaper headlines but perhaps by that time I had stopped paying attention. I really don’t care if this obnoxious bunch of people recover, get divorced, get married, open a bookshop, become directors of private hospitals, go back to policing or fall off the face of the Earth; but I would prefer the latter.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • VCM
  • 06-03-2018

If I could give half a star I would

Couldn't even finish this - so, so bad. I'm not complaining about the narrator but the content. This book has all the depth of a puddle.

1 person found this helpful

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