Book review: Part of the Silence by Debbie Howells

Sunday, June 25, 2017 Permalink

This is the third of Debbie Howells’ books I’ve read and I was particularly blown away by her first, The Bones of You. I also enjoyed The Beauty of the End, and now the author, based in West Sussex, does it again with her third novel, Part of the Silence.

There’s something very engaging about her characters; and her plots generally offer up something a little different. I must confess to being a little disappointed in the ending of this book… though I know that won’t surprise regular readers of my reviews¬†who know I’m kinda hard to please.

Book review: Part of the Silence by Debbie HowellsPart of the Silence
by Debbie Howells
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
on June 27th 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 1496706919, 9781496706911
Pages: 320

When they find Evie Sherman, battered and left for dead in a maize field, the young woman has no recollection of who she is. After three days in a hospital bed, the fog in her head begins to lift, and she remembers two names: her own, and that of her three-year-old daughter, Angel. Evie is convinced that Angel is in grave danger. But the police can find no evidence of the girl's existence.

It's clear that Evie is having some kind of mental breakdown--or is it? Even in the depths of her amnesiac darkness, Evie knows her daughter's voice, her chameleon eyes, every precious hair on her head. So how can she be losing her mind?

As Evie's grasp on reality slips away, she finds herself haunted by the same three-word warning, which she hears over and over: Trust no one.

But whom is she being warned against? The police? The doctors and nurses? Or the mysterious figure who's been watching her, who knows all her secrets, has a hidden agenda--and perhaps their own twisted version of reality.

Very interestingly (I discovered ‘after’ reading the book) the backcover blurb above, is very much written from Evie’s point of view as we spend most of the time in the head of Charlotte, someone who knew Evie (or Jen, as she was known at the time) from school. Howells does dip into the past however, and we meet some of the players a decade or so earlier and I think this gives us a hint of the secrets some of our characters are keeping.

(As usual) Howells offers us some great characters here – particularly in Jen / Evie and Charlotte – they’re all pretty complex (and some slightly twisted). Charlotte in particular is a bit of an enigma, with a complex family history and tendency to drink her problems away. There are a few clues here and there and I note I tagged parts of the book with questions like: multiple personality disorder? What / whose artwork?¬†

The backcover blurb, when combined with some historical context probably points us in the direction of the guilty party but once we really do find out exactly what’s happened, I was almost tempted to go back and re-read it just to check that Howells didn’t slip up in any way earlier. I can’t help but feel there may have been a plot hole or two; or something I missed. But that’s just the mystery-loving me who NEEDS to know exactly what happened AND understand the why. I blame it on the Two Minute Mystery books I read as a kid!

As it happened I kinda guessed the who but over-complicated things a little in my own mind (MPD/DID anyone?!). For some reason there was something a little unsatisfactory about the end of this book and I can’t really explain why. Perhaps I was disappointed with the ‘who’ in the whodunnit. Or perhaps I was obsessed with things I’d missed.

Either way (and that aside) I’m enjoying Howells’ books and she’s been quite consistent with her development of complex and interesting characters and twisty and slightly unusual plots. I look forward to whatever comes next.

Part of the Silence by Debbie Howells will be published by Kensington Books on 27 June 2017.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.



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