book review – Silent Voices

I was over the moon to be granted a #NetGalley copy of Patricia Gibney’s newest novel, Silent Voices.  I’ve been a fan of these gripping, pacey crime thrillers since the start, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to lose myself in the latest instalment of this superbly twisty-plotted series. 

‘exceptionally hard to put down . . . you won’t be able to help rooting for our flawed heroine’
Heat Magazine

what it says on the cover …

When Beth Mullen returns home, expecting to find her twin Rachel waiting for her, the silent house sends a shiver down her spine. She races upstairs to find her beautiful beloved sister cold in her childhood bed, her sparkling blue eyes closed forever, the morning after attending a glittering party…

Newly engaged Detective Lottie Parker knows that Rachel has been murdered the minute she enters the bedroom. Rachel’s neck is bruised and a shard of glass placed in her throat. Confronted with such a horrifying killing, Lottie wastes no time in pursuing every clue.

While interviewing the partygoers, Lottie discovers that Rachel’s handbag and keys are nowhere to be found. But as she is searching for them, a brilliant young doctor is found murdered with glass in her throat. The doctor was nowhere near the party and Lottie is forced to question everything. Two beautiful young women with the world at their feet have been brutally silenced. Why did the killer need them to die?

Desperate to find proof of what really happened to Rachel that night, Lottie gets close to the hostess of the party, whose two daughters were friends with Rachel. But Lottie’s hunt for the truth is getting under the killer’s skin, and when Lottie’s fiancé Boyd goes missing, will she be able to find him before it’s too late? Or will he too be silenced forever?

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

SHELF: crime | thriller | suspense
MY RATING: ★★★★☆
AUTHOR: Patricia Gibney
PUBLISHER: Bookouture
FORMATS: Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
AVAILABLE: from 5th February 2021

my review

Silent Voices is the ninth book in the D.I. Lottie Parker series.  Whilst each investigation is a standalone story, I strongly recommend going back to where it all starts – The Missing Ones – as Lottie and her team’s stories go back a long way, and they’re every bit as engaging as the crimes themselves.

The author has developed a winning formula that flows throughout the series; a story that unfolds in parallel timelines, with plenty of twists, discoveries and cliff-hangers that never fail to keep me riveted.  Grizzly murders are a trademark, and if you think you’re being spared gore at the crime scene, then the visits to the pathologist’s ‘dead house’ will soon change that. Family ties are a recurring feature – and a seemingly rich hunting ground – both for the investigation, and in Lottie’s own storyline too. All told in a deliciously soft, southern Irish cadence, peppered with just enough ‘fecks’ to keep its gritty edge.

Silent Voices opens to a posthumous scene that predates this particular investigation by nine years.  Its relevance remained a puzzle to me for a satisfyingly long time. So, with this thread firmly planted in my mind, the book jumps in to the present day which happens to be Lottie and Boyd’s wedding day.  But as the saying ‘best laid plans’ goes, this day looks set to be a disaster; the groom is missing. Far from being a case of cold feet, the book then spirals back six days to the night of the first murder, although the role Boyd has to play won’t become clear until the later chapters.  Over the course of six days, three young women are murdered in the most gruesome fashion, and whilst the connection between the three of them is proving almost impossible to establish, the murderer’s ‘signature’ placement of a shard of broken glass in their mouths makes it clear there’s a serial killer prowling the streets of Ragmullin … again!  

The book is peopled by a large cast of characters, and whilst I occasionally had to take a moment to remind myself who’s who, I genuinely enjoy the role each of them has to play in sustaining the mystery of the story. Two names keep elbowing their way into the investigation; Matthew Flemming, and Maddy Daly. Whilst Flemming frequently proves himself worthy of the detectives’ suspicions, fifteen year-old Maddy’s vulnerabilities are bringing out a paternal protectiveness in Detective Boyd; a sentiment the killer exploits spectacularly. 

Lottie Parker is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives.  She’s a complex character, as infuriating as she is endearing.  There were so many times I wanted to reach into the book and recalibrate her settings … whilst she’s a tenacious and intuitive detective, she smothers her family instincts, often to the detriment of her three children; Katie, Chloe and Sean.  I had thought her becoming a (young) grandmother to the very gorgeous two-year-old Louis might refocus her, but the lure of solving crimes is still an irresistible drive for her. 

Somehow, Lottie manages to start and end each day at home, but chaos reigns both here and at work where her reputation for cutting corners is as strong as her crime-solving prowess.  In the previous book – Buried Angels – relations between Lottie and Detective Lynch were reaching a new low, with the insubordinate Lynch dragging old grievances back to the surface. For a time it seems the bad blood between the two women threatens to destabilise the rest of the team and this latest investigation, but then it becomes clear there’s somebody else in the team determined to throw D.I. Parker to the wolves.  Yet, for all the friction, Lottie is deeply respected by a handful of characters who are crucial to the progression of the story; I really enjoy the dynamic she has with Detective Kirby (the loyal old-dog of her team), Jim McGlynn (the cranky forensics genius), and Jane Dore (the pocket-rocket state pathologist).

Despite the secrecy and hidden agenda of almost every character, the team somehow manage to bring the investigation to a satisfying close. The final chapters of the book neatly bring the threads of the investigation together, looping back to make sense of the hitherto cryptic events of the opening chapter. However, I was a little disappointed at how the story ended for Maddy; she had been a key character from start to finish, and through Boyd’s and Lottie’s polarising perspectives my opinion of her was constantly being challenged … I just felt her character had worked hard enough to deserve a higher profile ending.

I have to marvel at Patricia Gibney’s capacity for feeding my crime-thriller cravings … nine books now since the first book in the series was published in March 2017!  Seemingly no sooner have I closed one book than its sequel pops up in my ‘books you might like’ recommendations.  Might!?  This frequency of new books is never to the detriment of the drama; quite the opposite, with the suspense and character engagement ratcheting up to new highs each time.

Fans of other whip-sharp crime series will take great pleasure in the author’s use of enjoyable, familiar themes – an enormously talented detective, just the right amount of abrasive professional relationships, a boss beholden to the media and police politics, and a blatant loathing of local journalists. For all these familiar tropes, however, these books never fall foul of clichés or pigeonholes.  Lottie’s genuinely likeable character, and the pacey – often acerbic – dialogue between the characters, make for a fresh, immersive thriller that’s almost impossible to put down.

Thank you to Bookouture, Patricia Gibney and #NetGalley for this advance copy of #SilentVoices in return for an honest review.

patricia gibney

Patricia is the million-copy bestselling author of the DI Lottie Parker series. She yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime!

In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from her job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations.

Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and lives in the Irish midlands with her children.

#SilentVoices | @trisha460 | @bookouture | #NetGalley
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