I had never read a novel by Debbie Howells before, so, when #cjsreads decided to add this novel to our June line up, I was excited to dive into the work of an unfamiliar author. Part of the Silence had a beautiful cover and an intriguing synopsis involving a woman (Evie Sherman), with no recollection of whom she is, left for dead in a field and a daughter that she insists she has; however, there is no evidence of the girl’s existence. As Evie goes deeper into her own mind and her obsession with “a daughter” intensifies, she must figure out whom she can trust and how she can protect the child she knows exists.
In the first few chapters, I was really interested to see who these characters were and how the plot would develop; it opens so vaguely that I was grabbed instantly. Though, as I continued reading, one of the things I struggled with about this novel was the predictability and the actual characterization.
The novel is told through multiple perspectives; for the most part, the plot is described through the eyes of Charlotte (a local woman who knows Evie Sherman) from her high school years. Jack, the police detective on the case, and, finally, a few chapters by Evie, narrates the remaining chapters. There are also random entries from a diary of a girl named Casey. I did like the multi-perspective narration; I am always a fan of different character views. However, I didn’t really care about what any of these characters had to say. I found the Evie (sometimes known as Jen) character a little whiney, I found Jack to be randomly placed in the plot and I found Charlotte to be obviously off base. These characters one-dimensional attitude gave a lot of predictability to the plot and I found myself easily able to figure this one out within the first 50 pages.
For someone who is new to the thriller genre, this would be an entertaining read. However, for someone more familiar with the genre, this one plays out like the same song and dance.
I gave this one a 2/5 stars.
Thanks to the author and the publisher for providing a copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
As I mentioned, #cjsreads read this title as one of our June titles; keep reading to see what Jessica and Chandra thought about Part of the Silence.
What Chandra Thought:
This was a bit slow for me at the beginning and quite frankly, I never could relate to Charlotte in any way. She quite annoyed me to be honest. And Evie/Jen with her woe-is-me attitude was a bit daunting as I felt this got quite repetitive throughout the book. This has that slow build up to get you to the final reveal. I was definitely intrigued as to whether or not Evie/Jen was just crazy or if she was being manipulated in some way… but I did find my mind wandering off quite a bit and not fully into the story – especially as I felt it was quite predictable and there was no shock value. Granted, I read a LOT of thrillers so maybe the obviousness of this one just didn’t quite cut if for me. I’ve read one of Debbie’s other books, The Beauty of the End, and liked that one a bit better. She clearly knows how to write a good thriller, but I had a few issues with this particular one. Notably, the actions of law enforcement – not a whole lot seemed very plausible and it took away from the story for me.
Would I read more of her work, absolutely! If you’re reading Howells for the first time, I would suggest you start with The Beauty of the End. Her style of subtle, slow-burning thrillers will be good for those of you who prefer that over the slap you in the ass, fast paced ones that I tend to veer toward.
What Jessica Thought: