About The Book
On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey.
Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.
DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: herfoster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.
As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price…
Come and Find Me opens with a dark and graphic description of a prison riot which has culminated in the escape of a dangerous prisoner, Michael Vokey. He has been writing to two women, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull and they both seem to be deeply in his thrall. He is a manipulative man who is seemingly able to manipulate people into thinking a certain way and doing things beyond reason. His cellmate, Ted, is in hospital on a life support machine following the riot started by Vokey and it is through his recollections that we build a picture of this cruel man who the police are furiously trying to track down and capture.
I am not usually a fan of Police Procedurals, finding the detail and minutiae distracting, but the investigation in this book made compelling reading. DI Marnie Rome and her colleagues find the case frustrating – Vokey seems to have vanished into thin air and the trail of breadcrumbs is long gone. The deeper they dig the more questions they find. He is a shape-shifter, moulding himself to whatever kind of person he needs to be in order to be in control of a situation. We are told what he is like by others, his cellmate, wardens, fellow prisoners, the women he writes to and his sister and these descriptions combine to create a terrifying and inhuman like man. They find a room filled with photographs, there are drawings of women; the arch of a foot, a hand and the descriptions of being his cellmate were terrifying to read. It was a pressure-cooker like situation and it felt like Ted was locked in a room with a wild animal whose actions were impossible to predict.
This is at times a brutal and violent book which doesn’t shy away from the realities of life, but it was the unexpected beauty which took my breath away. From the person tracing a kitchen table with his finger, its notches and grooves bringing back memories of his childhood to the depictions of grief and isolation I was blown away by the descriptive passages and language that was used to convey so much. Sentences like the one beneath made me pause reading to allow the words to sink in – there is real power in the words that Sarah Hilary uses.
her loneliness was like an animal crying to be let in
These realistic descriptions of feelings and emotions create a rich tapestry against which the characters thrive. Lara and Ruth were real to me and I understood why they would want to communicate with a man like Michael Vokey. The letters between this depraved and dangerous man and these women made for uncomfortable reading at times. They felt too intimate, their vulnerability was laid bare and it made me question how far they would go for this man who is on the run from the authorities.
Aside from the man-hunt and exploration of an unhinged mind, this is a blistering examination of the prison system. Vokey, a highly dangerous prisoner has been transferred to HMP Cloverton and due to overcrowding is put in a cell with another man. Sarah Hillary does not hold back in her assessment of the system with guards who are very young, newly trained and who have no authority. There is widespread corruption and violence and nobody seems safe. It makes for compelling reading and I particularly liked how our opinions and views are challenged – should we feel sympathy for a violent man who has been injured in a riot? This is more than a book about a manhunt, it is about ethics, love, obsession and humanity and made me really think and examine my own prejudices.
Sarah Hilary is one of those writers who has been on my radar for a while but I’ve never actually read one of her books before. Winner of the Theakstons Crime Novel of the year in 2015 for her debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin I was aware that she is a talented and skilled writer but had no idea just how talented and skilled until I devoured Come and Find Me. This is the fifth book in the DI Marnie Rome series and although it can be read as a standalone I think that I would have benefited from having read the previous four novels to understand some of the back stories in a little more depth. Saying that though, not having read them didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book (I’ve given it 5 stars) and it is my OCD when it comes to reading series of books that is making me twitch slightly. It is an astonishing book and I am so pleased that I have read it, even though I am clearly late to the Sarah Hilary party, but better late than never.
About The Author
Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued
with Tastes Like Fear, and Quieter Than Killing. Follow her on twitter @sarah_hilary.
My thanks to Headline and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the Blog Tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. Come and Find Me was published in paperback on the 4th October and can be bought here.