Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

The Silent Girls
3.5 Stars

“Nowhere was safe. No one. Violence lurked here as it did the world over, most often exacted by known parties. Intimate, familial, and unspeakable.”

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The Silent Girls is a book that hits the ground running. The opening sequence is a deliciously gory stabbing scene committed by a very surprising culprit. The story then unfolds into a well-paced thriller revolving around a missing distant relative of one of the local cops in a small Vermont town. Former detective turned private investigator Frank Rath has been called in to help expedite the search and rescue in hopes of finding the girl alive while simultaneously hiding the fact that the case has been given preferential treatment. Frank hung up his badge decades ago when his own sister was murdered. Now, while trying to piece the background of the missing girl’s last goings-on together, Frank finds him dealing with old unhealed wounds and his team discovers the mystery may be deeper than they originally thought when they realize there are actually five girls who are missing fairly close to their area. The only thing the girls have in common? They’re all young. Then a body surfaces . . .

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Literally. Surfaces from the entanglement of brush she’d been buried under in a local creek and it is discovered she was gutted and carved upon with potential satanic images. Are the missing girls connected? Is a cult to blame? Can they piece the parts together in time to find their original missing girl????

According to Goodreads, The Silent Girls is 100 pages long. Yeah, that’s not correct. I actually bumped this one to the top of my reading list thinking I’d be able to breeze right through it and get on to my next book quickly. That wasn’t the case, but I ended up being okay with it. I am still curious about the page count, though - first, because I assume it was closer to 400 pages and second, because the one complaint I have about this book is that it could have been whittled down (which cost it in the rating department). There were a lot of plotlines . . . easily enough for two related (due to main characters), but separate books with respect to story (and a third once you throw in the open-ending). I like a book with some twists and turns, but this one had umpteen of ‘em all at the end. One or two would have been plenty because the writing was goooooooood. There didn’t need to be a giant dog and pony show to serve as a distraction.

There were also a lot of unnecessary factoids with respect to the characters that didn’t end up being necessary. Frank’s bad back is mentioned once every other page and another character’s addiction to running is droned on and on about. I understand the author did this intentionally for deeper meaning, but really? In this case it didn’t really work and most of it could be left on the cutting room floor. And finally, there were a lot of instances of using italics that put the emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble. In all fairness, however, I did read an uncorrected proof, so hopefully that issue will be corrected before final printing.

Bottom line? This was one of the better thrillers I’ve read this year and I’ll definitely look for more of Eric Rickstad’s stuff in the future.

ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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