Published by Shiloh Run Press on June 1, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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Political games can be deadly… Elise Carmichael is a court sign language interpreter who reads lips all the time. As a widow with a young son who is deaf, lip reading is simply second nature, until the day she reads the lips of someone on the phone discussing an attempt to be made on a senator’s life—a senator who just happens to be her mother-in-law. Before she can decide what she needs to do, she receives the information that her son is rushed to the ER and she must leave. Then she later sees the news report that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. But when she comes forward, her life, as well as her son’s life, may now be in the crosshairs of the assassin.
Dead Silence by Robin Caroll snagged my attention from the moment I saw the abstract. Elise Carmichael, who is an ex-model turned sign language interpreter, read lips automatically. This habit, however, leads to her seeing something she was never meant to see—a threat against her mother-in-law, a prominent U.S. senator. After her deaf son breaks his wrist on the playground, Elise completely forgets about what she saw…until she learns the next morning that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. As soon as she is able, Elise goes to the authorities, and it is mere hours before the threats begin. Elise suddenly finds herself in the middle of an intense investigation, and now her life—not to mention her son’s life—are in danger.
One thing is for certain: there were no silent moments in Robin Caroll’s Dead Silence. Each turn of the page brought a new challenge for Elise and her friends. Just as I thought the plot had hit a stall point, Caroll would surprise me with a new threat or a new detail. I did not want to put Dead Silence down. I read it late into the night and only closed it because I had to go to work in the morning. It kept my attention, and I found all of the main protagonists interesting and well developed. Caroll detailed their histories, and she weaved those facts into the story flawlessly. There were rarely longwinded paragraphs of character descriptions that might have bored some readers. Instead, Caroll casually dropped little snippets of information in conversations and Elise’s internal contemplations.
I did not like the portrayal of the FBI in Dead Silence at all. They were basically incompetent, and the agents refused to tell anything worthwhile to the murdered senator’s family members. Each time they tried to do something worthwhile, it seemed like the situation slipped through their butterfingers. Not only that, the book depicted a member of the media as a heroic figure. I do not doubt that some reporters have good intentions, but she kept using her “sources,” and was always one step ahead of the FBI. It almost seemed to me that Caroll disliked the FBI and intentionally portrayed the agents as not being able to do their jobs.
I felt at times, certain characters—including the FBI—were present because they had to be to fill holes. When they served their intended purposes in two or three pages, they disappeared. Sometimes Caroll would bring them up again in a later chapter, but it was like the author did it because she forgot the characters herself.
One character in particular was blatantly rude and unprofessional, and I could not stand her. That was probably Caroll’s intention. In real life, I think she would have faced discipline. Instead, some characters dismissed her behavior, and that irked me. Not only that, Caroll incorporated a few general clichés that made the book a little predictable for me. Without giving anything away, the moment the book mentioned the antagonist, I knew the person’s identity…even though the author did not formally reveal the character until close to the end of the novel.
I do not want to end this on a negative note, as I did like Dead Silence Robin Caroll, and I will recommend it to my friends. The book sugarcoated nothing, which I appreciated. Readers see a very raw Elise Carmichael at times—a person who is angry, heartbroken, terrified, and struggling with her faith in God. How could a good and loving God let everything that has occurred happen? The book demonstrates how God is always present…even when He does not answer.
Overall, Dead Silence is good; it just has a few flaws that got under my skin.
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