Title: The Silent Girls
Author : Dylan Young
Publication Date: 01/19/18
Dates Read: 01/13/18 – 01/16/18
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
**This novel was originally titled Come Out to Play, hence the photo of my advanced digital copy.
The prologue of this novel begins with Chris Hopkins going out to his horse stable to check on Nia, his 16-year-old daughter, and her best friend Beckie. It was Nia’s 16th birthday and she had wanted to have a sleepover in the horse stable. Being that it was right in their backyard, a father would presume that this would be a safe, fun little get-together, but Chris was in for an earth shattering surprise.
Beckie is obviously drugged, out of her mind with delusions, the stable looks ransacked, and Nia is no where to be found. And the worst part–there is blood on the stable floor, on Nia’s sleeping bag. As Christ stumbles through the motions of every parent’s most chilling, worst nightmare, the Gloucestershire police department are called in.
Running alongside this plot line, is the sub-plot of Hector Shaw. Hector is a convicted murdered with quite the interesting psychological profile. Seargeant Anna Gwynn and DCI Shipwright, who are working on cold cases, visit his prison to interview him about some newly discovered DNA evidence. At a former crime scene, Shaw’s DNA, along with the DNA of an unknown individual, were found and Gwynn and Shipwright want Shaw to tell them where her body is. Only Shaw isn’t much for giving up information that doesn’t benefit him–and he’s hoping to play a game…
The Gloucestershire police department has made a connection between Nia’s murder and a previous case–the rape and murder of 18 year old Emily Riseman. Because you see… the man they originally convicted of Emily’s murder, Neville Cooper, was just recently acquitted and released due to controversial evidence and questionable police procedures. When Anna Gwynn takes the lead investigative position, due to Shipwright’s falling health, she is faced with the challenge of seeing past the blurred lines that the Gloucestershire police department have surrounded Emily Riseman’s case with and trying to determine the true murderer. But once she starts to unravel the thread of this mess of a case– what dangers await her at its center?
I really enjoyed this novel! The opening epilogue, where Chris discovers that his daughter is missing is so chilling and will shake any parent to their core. It was a fantastic opening that sucks the reader right into the story line.
There are many likable characters, many unlikable characters, and several that are downright sketchy. I had several theories as to where the novel was going and I almost had it.. I just had a few things a little backwards. And the story line of Hector Shaw that was running alongside this investigation is very significant. I love when authors of crime novels can take two separate story lines and merge them in the end. He comes into play in a very important fashion and I do believe that we will be seeing more of Shawn in future novels.
One good thing to know… Some of the chapters are from the point of view of the killer. Now, in my opinion it is very difficult to pull this off, as unless you are a genuine psychopath or you have extensively studied the psychology of them, then it’s tough to really mimic their thoughts and opinions. There were a few little sentences that I kind of squinted my eyes–they didn’t feel very genuine, BUT overall, I was impressed with this point of view change.
Having chapters from the POV of a killer can also be difficult to pull off because there is often a fine line that you have you walk with disclosing information of a crime, especially when it involves minors. There was one moment that I thought for sure that Young was about to let his killer narrate the description of the rape of a minor and I know for a fact that I would have sat the book down at that point and walked away. There are some things that I don’t want to let my mind wander too close to and, having a little girl myself, I could not stomach to read that.. Thankfully, Young handled this as respectfully as he could, leaving out sensitive information and I was very glad for that. So while there is a trigger warning for attempted rape, sexual assault, and mention of a rape, there is no actual descriptors of a rape.
Overall, I really loved this book! I look forward to the next installment!
**Thank you to Bookouture, Dylan Young, & NetGalley for my advanced digital copy of this title in exchange for a honest review.