Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary | Book Review |#NeverBeBroken |#MarnieRome

Never Be Broken (DI Marnie Rome #6)
Published by Headline
Ebook, hardback, audio (16 May 2019) | paperback (23 January 2020)
368 pages
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher

About the Book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

My Thoughts

Opening with a prologue that had me holding my breath and wondering what the heck had happened, Never Be Broken is the 6th book in the series featuring DI Marnie Rome and her DS Noah Jake.  The main story then begins 48 hours earlier…..

I’ve followed this series from the beginning and it’s no secret that it’s one of my favourites.  It’s not a wham bam full on action crime series but quietly thoughtful with a superbly constructed narrative and characterisation and this book is probably the most powerful of all in the series so far.

Its topical bearing in mind the awful current crime situation and focuses on gang culture and exploitation of children and young teenagers. A number of teenagers have been killed on London’s streets and it appears that the police are losing control. Too many faces on the whiteboard in the incident room. Now 13 year old Raphaela Belsham, a young white girl from an affluent area and a wealthy family has been gunned down in a drive by shooting and the pressure is on Marnie and her team to find those responsible for running the gangs and supplying the drugs and weapons.

And then there is DS Noah Jake. Oh my goodness. Sarah Hilary puts Noah through the wringer in this story.  I think to say he is emotionally broken following events in the previous book is an understatement. Marnie is doing her best to keep an eye on him however she can’t watch him all the time and despite his determination to work on the cases she’s not sure that he can cope just yet.

Whilst regular characters all make return appearances, including DCI Lorna Ferguson, Harry Kennedy and other members of the team, it’s fair to say that the focus of the story is Noah with Marnie taking more of a back seat. This change of lead character, with Noah almost at breaking point does have a tremendous emotional impact.

Never Be Broken is an unsettling and thought provoking read.  The storyline is grim but then so is real life and this has been sensitively and realistically reflected. A thoroughly gripping and at times shocking read, this is most definitely a series that shouldn’t be passed by.


My thanks to Headline for the review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour.



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, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me.

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