Avery Chauvin is a hotshot investigative reporter with an important
Washington, D.C. newspaper, when she receives a phone call "
… From Buddy Stevens. Family friend. Her dad's lifelong best
friend. Cypress Springs' chief of police. Avery, it's Buddy. I've
got some bad news, baby girl. Your dad, he's … Dead." Awash
with grief, consumed with guilt and haunted by a deep sense of
foreboding, she takes a leave of absence from her job and goes home
to Louisiana to bury her father.
" … He had killed himself. Gone into his garage, doused
himself with diesel fuel, then lit a match." He left no note, said
no good-byes, and the only thing Avery finds from him is a message
on her answering machine. He had wanted to speak to her. But his
last words did not sound desperate, so Avery went about her
business and let the message sit. She had no way of knowing what
was on her dad's mind.
Cypress Springs is one of those anachronistic American towns that
appear, for all intents and purposes, perfect, safe, unchanged,
homogenous and crime-free. "Avery … drew her rented SUV to a
stop … [on] Main Street." As she looks around, she realizes
that all of the familiar landmarks that encircle the town square
are as they were when she was growing up. The place looks as if it
is stuck in a time warp. After twelve years away from here, living
in the city, working for a national newspaper and moving on with
her life, Avery is amazed to see that everything in Cypress Springs
is as she left it --- except that now both her parents are
Once she settles in, Avery listens to everything she is told by the
sheriff; after all, he has been a surrogate father to her all her
life and she relies on his reportage. However, much of what he
tells her just doesn't make sense. Slowly, as she delves into her
father's death, she tries to fit the clues into some kind of clear
picture. But she soon becomes consumed with haunting questions
about her father regarding the kind of man he was, her relationship
with him, and how he, a doctor, a person who loved life, could
immolate himself. But in her shocked state, it is difficult to put
her finger on exactly what sounds "wrong."
IN SILENCE is a very suspenseful story told in quicksilver prose.
As the narrative races to its climax, Avery Chauvin is forced to
shed every single notion she has ever had about where she grew up
and the people she knew. Little by little she begins to suspect
that something is dangerously wrong in her hometown. Could it be
that under the façade of pretty houses, attentive neighbors,
little league and girl scouts, a sinister evil operates under a
shroud of dark secrets? And while these thoughts make her
uncomfortable, she is too smart to ignore them.
After learning the number of "accidental deaths" that occurred over
the last year, Avery's professional antennae start to crackle and
every step she takes sets off alarms. "She had always been so firm
in her beliefs, so self-confident. She had been able to access the
facts, make a decision and move on. That's what she wants to do,
that is who she believes she is and what makes her such a good
journalist. But, now she doesn't know what or whom to believe.
Could it be that people who she has known all of her life, depended
on to always be there for her" have always been involved in a
conspiracy of discrimination and murder?
IN SILENCE immediately captures the reader's attention and asks
provocative questions: Do we really ever get to know anyone? Are
our beliefs based on truth, interpretation of "truth", or is truth
a slight-of-hand phenomenon created by what others want us to
believe? How do private agendas shape and direct action? And at the
center of this aggregate of conundrums, who can we really
More than just a beach read, IN SILENCE explores the prejudices and
preconceptions that can fulminate in an isolated and insulated
community. The deadly consequences born of a narrow worldview that
puts one in a position wherein s/he becomes the center of the
universe. Spindler examines how ordinary people, who mean no harm,
can get caught up in a mob mentality, which reduces individual
responsibility for acts they would never commit on their own.
Readers may ask themselves, "If my life and the lives of my family
members would flourish in perfect surroundings and never be
threatened with crime or outside influences, would I choose to live
there? And at what price?
Erica Spindler is a terrific writer. She has a body of work that
speaks to her talent and each of her thrillers is better than the
last. With IN SILENCE she proves once again that she is one of the
best mystery writers out there. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 22, 2011