What the blurb says: “One Fugitive. A deadly conspiracy. No rules. A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. En route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the manhunt. Desperate to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, Ryan goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth. When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.”
This fast paced, gritty thriller grabbed me immediately with its dramatic opening scenes of a prison van hijack. And the tension doesn’t let up. With questions unanswered about disgraced Special Branch officer Jack Fenwick’s involvement in criminal activity, and many assuming him guilty, as the hours pass after the hijack DS Matthew Ryan is convinced that the Professional Standards department are wrong to treat the hijack as an escape rather than an abduction – but no one is listening to him.
With Ryan is on suspension for much of the book he is forced to conduct his own investigation off the radar using only sources he can be sure are trustworthy. Determined to get to the truth, even if it means getting himself into more trouble and risking the career he loves, Ryan keeping digging, convinced that his commanding officer, and friend, Jack Fenwick, was framed. Meanwhile, talented investigator Eloise O’Neil from Professional Standards is keeping tabs on him as her and her team hunt for Jack Fenwick, adding an extra layer of complication for Ryan to keep his own investigation secret.
There is a great cast of characters in this book and I was quickly drawn into their world through the narrative. DS Matthew Ryan is a highly compelling character – he’s determined, driven and, as events take a tragic twist, uses his moment of vulnerability and personal grief as fuel to continue his investigation. The combination of Ryan and O’Neil, both looking for answers but coming from different sides of the investigative coin, makes for a great dynamic and the scenes they share have a real zing of electricity.
Gritty, authentic and utterly engrossing, The Silent Room is a real seat-of-your-pants read from the dramatic opening through to the explosive ending. A must for all thriller and police procedural fans.
To find out more about Mari Hannah and her books hop over to her website here and follow her on Twitter @mariwriter