Published by Thomas Nelson on July 14, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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A powerful family with lots of secrets. A forensic artist with his own tragedies. And a hurricane drawing bearing down on their private island.
Fifteen years ago Piper Boone’s only child died in a boating accident, and Piper’s almost perfect life came to an end too. After living through a divorce and losing her job, she retreats to Curlew Island and her childhood home—a secluded mansion for the politically powerful Boone family, who are practically American royalty.
But Piper’s desire to become a recluse is shattered when a mass shooter opens fire and kills three women at a café where Piper is having lunch. The crisis puts her family in the spotlight by dredging up rumors of the so-called Curlew Island Curse, which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of the Boone family, including Piper’s father and sister.
Forensic artist Tucker Landry also survives the shooting and is tasked with the job of sketching a portrait of the shooter with Piper. They forge a bond over their shared love of movies and tragic pasts. But when police discover a connection between the shooting and two more murders on Curlew Island, they face a more terrible lineup of suspects than they could have imagined: Piper’s family.
Unraveling the family’s true history will be the key to Piper’s survival—or her certain death.
I had not read any of Carrie Stuart Parks’s work prior to Relative Silence. Based off this particular novel, I will be searching for more that she has written. I read Relative Silence in a day. It was easy to read, and I enjoyed the snippets of humor Parks scattered throughout the book. Centering on a woman named Piper Boone, the novel unlocks the mysteries surrounding the deaths of her relatives on Curlew Island. Her family—headed by a birdwatching mother who named all her children after birds—reunites at their property on the island at least once a year. Piper, however, now lives on the island permanently after she loses her job as an editor and publisher. She is just trying to pick up the pieces after her daughter’s drowning fifteen years ago.
Her world explodes—almost literally—when a mass shooting occurs at a restaurant. A man bodily shoves her out of the line of fire, saving her life and injuring himself in the process. She is determined to thank Tucker Landry, who she later learns is a forensic artist. Piper requests his assistance in learning the truth behind her daughter’s death, and Tucker cannot say no. He cannot deny the attraction he has to her. He only expects to draw a picture of what her daughter might look like as a teenager. It does not take long, however, for mysteries to reveal themselves. Every answer leads to five hundred more questions…like what happened to Dr. Joyce Mueller. Why has she suddenly disappeared? Is she hiding something? Or did someone dispose of her to stop her from sharing whatever she knew?
The characters in Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks have so many layers, especially Piper and Tucker. While I liked Piper, Tucker Landry pulled at my heartstrings. Parks introduced her readers to a character who hides his demons behind a strong exterior. As he learns more about Piper, though, he opens up to her. Parks artfully wrote his struggles, and I found myself cheering for him on every page. He had a very flawed past—just like Piper—but he did not let it define him. He moved forward. Parks masterfully concocted the character development in both him and Piper.
They were not the only characters, though. Indeed, there were quite a few. Sometimes, in books with this many characters, I lose track of who is who. I did not have that problem with Relative Silence, though. Each person in the story served a unique purpose, including the ones who were not even actively in the book. Phrases described the people “off-scene,” so to speak, to the point that I did not need to meet them to know them. Can you tell I am a sucker for good characters yet?
The plot kept me guessing. I figured a few things out early on, but the big reveal of the “bad guy” threw me for a loop. The amount of action was perfect. Every time I started growing bored, Parks dropped another bomb. The mystery itself in the novel was like a maze full of dead ends, yet somehow, Parks concluded it all. She deserves a medal for that one!
Relative Silence was entertaining, compelling, and resulted in a flood of different emotions from me. I left Curlew Island satisfied, and I have no doubt you will, too!