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  • Mandy McHugh

The Silent House, Nell Pattison: A Review

This cover is what really drew me in, and the hook was intriguing; so I was looking forward to getting started on this one.

Paige is a freelance interpreter for the deaf/hard of hearing. When a call for a job puts her right in the middle of a homicide investigation, she's conflicted, but decides to accept. A child has been murdered, and Paige knows her. Knows the family. Knows the suspects. Personally invested, Paige soon finds herself embroiled in a mystery and at the heart of some heavy-handed threats. Can she help solve the murder before it's too late? I liked this book. The hook is great: a dead child with complex family issues and underlying drama set this up for a list of suspects and options for intrigue. Pattison does a good job of setting up doubt and casting blame, reeling in our suspicions and throwing the reader off the trail to keep the plot moving. I think I struggled with a few aspects. First, Paige's involvement seemed unwarranted and unprofessional at times. For as much as we're supposed to view her as a moral compass--how much she insists that she can't break her professional obligations--she certainly inserts herself into every aspect of this case, from interviews to spying on suspects to fraternizing with both the detective and a suspect. Obviously, there is some suspension of disbelief here, but I found it hard to root for her when she quite obviously bent the rules only when it suited her and was shocked when her actions caught up to her. Second, while I really liked the angle of the interpreter and the nuances of the deaf community, I found the plot to be predictable. I could definitely see where some readers would like this on-the-nose mystery. It's pretty straight forward, and for all as many characters as there were, I was fairly confident I had it figured out before the halfway point. I will also say, most of the action happens "off-camera." Murder, violence, climax--most of these we hear second hand, given details leading up to and following the event. Again, some people might prefer this structural style of mystery, but it just wasn't for me. Overall, The Silent House is a pretty good read with an interesting angle but a few too many easily-readable characters. Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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