A cracking good mystery.
A Deathly Silence is book three in a series where I’ve not read books one or two. I rarely do that, because there’s often backstory that either doesn’t make its way into a later book cleanly (i.e., the author does big infodumps) or the later books cannot be read as a standalone (i.e., it’s just a continuation of a cliffhanger in the previous book).
I’m quite happy to say that this can be read as a standalone, and Jane Isaac has a deft hand at including enough information from previous happenings to let us know what went on before and how that shapes the current book.
DCI Helene Lavery, currently on leave to recover from incidents in the previous book, where she was injured and a fellow officer killed, is called back early to work a case. A young woman – and a police officer, at that – is found murdered in an empty factory/warehouse, tortured before a fatal slit of the throat.
Questions abound: why her? Why here? Who had access?
There are a lot of people in this book. If you’re not good at keeping track, it might be helpful to jot a couple of notes here and there. Those include: two boys, playing in the factory, who found the body but didn’t report it. Their mothers – and in the case of one boy, his sister as well, plus their father (who is in prison, and who is named but never appears in the book). A next door neighbor who recently went through cancer treatment and who exchanged a lot of texts with the victim, as well as her husband. The victim’s husband, also a police officer. His ex-girlfriend. The victim’s friend who is possibly more than a friend, and her brother. An ex-con with sadistic, sexually driven tendencies. Plus all the assorted officers in homicide, management, medical examiner and technician, and the crew who monitors the organized crime outfits.
The story is great. There isn’t a lot I can give specifics on, for spoilery reasons, and that’s one of the reasons the story is quite a good read. There is a great combination of action and thinking/conversation, and the clues (bar one that only makes an appearance at the end) are spun out, gathered by the reader as the police work the crime and the associated crimes that arise after it.
The only thing I’d have to nitpick about would be some curious sentence constructions, where a sentence rings a bit oddly because it should have been part of the sentence before it. Instead, it’s a bit of a dangler, completing the thought of the sentence previous to it. But that and the clue at the end are very, very minor things: the former because the thought still comes across, and the latter because we know by that point toward the end (or way earlier, in my case) who the killer is.
Overall: five stars, not a rating I use often.
Now I’m off to get the first two in the series.