Author: Owen Mullen
Published: January 2019 by Bloodhound Books
Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Book Review
Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.
When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.
Out Of The Silence is an intensely powerful, moving and shocking story of terror, misogyny and abuse of the worst kind, set in the Punjab region of Pakistan in the late 1990s.
Found by a nurse in the hospital compound, the horribly injured woman was being examined by Doctor Simone Jasnin. She had seen the results of brutality and acid attacks on women before, but never as bad as this one. She knew all too well, living and working there as well as being half Pakistani, how women were treated as second class citizens and often much worse. The story the woman told changed the course of Simone’s life.
It was a miracle she was alive, though it was impossible to say for how much longer. What could anyone have done to deserve this?
Eleven years earlier Afra and Jameel lived in the small rural village of Mundhi in the southern region of the Punjab. Their childhood friendship had developed into something deeper but despite them wanting to be together, it wasn’t destined to be. Jameel was refused permission to marry Afra by her mother because he ‘is nothing in the world.’ He knew Afra would be wed to a rich man, her mother was without a husband and needed the ‘bride price’ to secure the future of her family. Afra’s and Jameel’s lives take distinctly opposite paths, but unbeknownst to each other they end up living in the same city.
Back in the present we meet Ralph Buchanan. He is an alcoholic. Once a renowned investigative reporter, his life is on a downward spiral. He’s been in Pakistan for three years and his demons have stayed there with him. Meeting Simone Jasnin is the catalyst for him taking the first tentative step on the ladder out of the depths he’s sunk to. It takes several attempts before he begins the long uphill climb in earnest. Eventually, the story told to him by Simone about the treatment of women, and then the occurrence of several murders reawaken his reporters instinct.
I’d reaped as I’d sown and it didn’t feel nice. She cut me off. ‘No matter, I’ll look for someone else to help with the problems that concern me. You have your own I see.’
The remark caught me off guard. ‘What problem?”
‘The one in your hand, Mr Buchanan.’