The Silence by Susan Allott ~ set in Australia #LiteraryFiction #Historical #Mystery @SusanAllott

412MsxyY+IL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Susan Allott

Published: April 2021 by The Borough Press (paperback edition)

Category: Literary Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A missing woman

30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of a Sydney summer, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared without a trace.

A cold case reopened

In 1997, in a basement flat in Hackney, Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father is under suspicion of Mandy’s murder.

A devastating secret

How well does Isla know her father? Is he capable of doing something terrible? And is there another secret in their community – a conspiracy of silence which stretches deep into Australia’s past?

After reading FictionFan’s review I knew this would be a book I’d enjoy, and I certainly did! In 1997 Isla Green was living in London and, awakened at 2am one night by a phone call from her father in Australia, she knew immediately something was wrong. Her father never called. He hated the telephone and always wrote letters.

Thirty years ago, when Isla was living with her parents in Australia, their next door neighbours were Mandy and Steve, another young couple. When Mandy disappeared suddenly it was thought she was escaping from a broken marriage to begin a new life, but she hasn’t been seen or heard from since and her family are trying to contact her. The police now believe Mandy’s disappearance was suspicious, and since Joe Green was the last person to see her alive, he is a person of interest.

She sits cross-legged on the carpet, in the middle of her life, in its crisp central crease. She is thirty-five years old, tall and lean; striking, people say. A body that has been neglected but is still strong, surprisingly resilient. A thick head of hair, cropped short at the back; blonde strands on top that grow up and out, like a dandelion. A woman whose life took a nosedive, who is getting herself together, who needs to be careful. Whose father is silent at the end of the line, asking her wordlessly to come home.

Reluctantly, Isla makes plans to return to Australia after ten years back in England, little realising what secrets will be uncovered. The more she learns the more questions are raised. Is her father really capable of something as terrible as murder? What does her mother believe happened? Both young couples were having problems all those years ago. Isla’s mother, Louisa was homesick, unhappy and expecting her second child. She wanted to go back home to England.

Mandy and Steve also had issues. Steve’s job as a policeman was getting him down, a certain aspect troubling his conscience, coupled with the fact that he was desperate for a child. Mandy was adamant she didn’t want to be a mother and wouldn’t be swayed.

The story alternates in dual timelines between the 1960s and 1990s, paced steadily as the fully developed but dysfunctional characters’ lives begin to unravel realistically and irrevocably. Told mainly rom Isla’s and Mandy’s perspectives, The Silence is atmospheric, complex and powerful, exploring the knock on effects of alcoholism, family secrets, adultery and an utterly shameful practice that I was unaware of until now. 

An extremely accomplished debut novel — dark, disturbing and multilayered.

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SusanAllottSusan Allott is a British writer who lived and worked in Australia in the late nineties. She suffered acute homesickness and returned home to London, only to meet an Australian man who she went on to marry. She and her husband live in south London with their children. Susan’s debut THE SILENCE, which is set in Australia, grew from her need to make amends with a continent that has not let go of her, despite a rocky beginning.

Social media links ~ Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Image by ThePixelman from Pixabay

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Birthday Girl by Matthew Iden ~ Every Parent’s Nightmare #Psychological #Thriller

Birthday Girl was published in 2018 by Thomas & Mercer. 

throwbackthursday

My Thoughts

Since his daughter’s abduction and murder eight years ago, Elliott Nash has lived under a crushing cloud of guilt. His marriage failed, his brilliant career as a criminal psychologist is nothing but a memory, he’s homeless and lives on the streets. The only constants in his life are nightmares and pain. His natural drive to help people has diminished. That is, until he meets former addict Amy Scowcroft. Amy’s daughter, Lacey, has been missing for almost a year but Amy refuses to believe her daughter is dead. Getting nowhere with the investigation into Amy’s disappearance, the police have closed the case. Detective Dave Cargill, who works for the D.C. Metropolitan Child and Family Services, refers Amy to his old friend and former colleague, Elliott Nash. 

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#BlogTour #BookReview ~ Preacher Boy: A Harrison Lane Mystery by @GwynGB #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Preacher Boy by Gwyn GB, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

My Thoughts

Dr Harrison Lane is an intriguing character with an unusual backstory. He has an air of mystery about him, he’s an unknown quantity, particularly to one member of the team who who takes any opportunity to try and belittle him, mainly because he doesn’t share many personal details and he utilises the tracking and survival skills he learned from his Native American stepfather. Skills which, combined with his training as a psychologist, have been more than successful in his chosen career. They will, he hopes, be as successful in his hunt for the person or persons who murdered his mother, as disturbing memories begin to surface.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Lewis Man by Peter May ~ #Mystery and #Drama in the Outer Hebrides

The Lewis Man is the second book in the fabulous Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. I listened to the audiobooks (this one relaesed in 2012), performed brilliantly by Peter Forbes.

My Thoughts

On the Isle of Lewis peat cutting is considered a social activity, with families, friends and neighbours all joining in and working together. Trenches are dug and the peat cut and stacked as it has been for centuries. Only this time the peat cutters uncover more than they bargained for when an almost perfectly preserved body is discovered. Initially the police surgeon thinks the body could have been there for hundreds of years, it was only when a tattoo becomes visible they realise the young man had been murdered much more recently.

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The Porter: Retribution in Lockdown (The Lockdown series) by Rachel K Parsonage #ContemporaryFiction #TuesdayBookBlog

ThePorterAuthor: Rachel K Parsonage

Kindle Edition published February 2021

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Medical, Child Abuse, Book Review

3.75 ⭐️

On the 23rd March 2020, the UK went into lockdown due to the pandemic threat of COVID-19. After experiencing back problems, Dave Williams has exchanged working as a builder for a job as a porter in a local hospital. Dave is enjoying his job. He has lived a happy life for the past thirty years with his wife and family. His childhood, however, was not so happy. Dave suddenly finds himself confronted with the demons of his past – he and his brother Ken were in care in the eighties, subject to a system unfit for purpose. When faced with the main perpetrator of the harm caused to them, Dave, unrecognisable in his protective equipment, finds revenge easy to execute.

We first meet Dave as he goes about his job as a hospital porter just as the world begins to face the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially he seems an unlikeable character, but then we’re transported back to 1977 when Dave and his brother Ken lived with their abusive mother. 

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Backstories by Simon Van der Velde @SimonVdVWriter #ShortStories #LiteraryFiction #RBRT

51yJPAqCN1LAuthor: Simon Van der Velde

Published: March 2021 by Smoke and Mirrors Press

Genre: Short Stories, Biographical, Literary Fiction

four-half-stars

Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them.Peel back the mask and see.

Backstories comprises fourteen intriguing tales of life changing moments in the lives of well known characters. The author has given his imagination free rein to pen concise but evocative descriptions, giving impressions, something that just might have some truth in it, of certain people before fame or notoriety claimed them. The twist being they are not fully named, in some cases not at all or not named as we might know them. It’s up to the reader to guess their identities. 

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly ~ Love, Friendship and Family Ties #WomensFiction

The Year That Changed Everything was published in February 2018. It had been quite a while since I read a Cathy Kelly novel so when I saw this on Audible it was the perfect time to rectify that oversight.

My Thoughts

Sam, Callie and Ginger, three women who don’t know each other and live in different places, but have one thing in common. Or two if you count the fact that they will each experience life changing events on their milestone birthdays. 

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