I’m not a new reader to author Susan McBride’s books. Her Debutante Dropout Mystery series is a favorite of mine. Ms. McBride has a great sense of humor and the characters in her books take after her. They are witty and really funny. There’s always a laugh and a smile when I read one of her novels.
Then I received a copy of the author’s newest book, “Walk Into Silence”, and I suspected that this novel wouldn’t have very many laughs in it at all. I was right. This is a serious book and one of the best murder mysteries I’ve read in awhile.
Police Detective Jo Larsen is sitting in her office one day thinking about Adam McCaffrey, the married man she loves. Jo knew that it was wrong falling for a taken man but love sometimes wins out over logic but he just called and said that he left his wife and can now be with her. Jo isn’t sure what to make of all this so when Patrick Dielman entered her office she was happy to get her mind off Adam, that was until she heard why Mr. Dielman was at the police station.
Jenny, Patrick’s 35 year – old wife, is missing. The last her husband heard from her was when she told him that she was on her way to the Warehouse Club to do some shopping. That was earlier in the day and she never returned. Patrick swears that Jenny is not the kind of person who would just up and leave. She leads a quiet life and works at the library when she isn’t home. To Jo, Patrick seemed like the type of man who controls his wife’s life and this might be the reason why Jenny vanished. But when Jo and her partner, Detective Hank Phelps, start to investigate they learn a lot about the missing Mrs. Dielman.
Previous to Patrick Dielman Jenny was married for seven years to Dr. Kevin Harrison. They had a son together, Finnegan, who died when he was six years old. Kevin was supposed to have been watching the young boy but was on the phone when Finn climbed up to his tree house and fell. Kevin and everyone else said it was a tragic accident but Jenny believed differently. Needless to say their not so great marriage went downhill from there and the couple divorced each marrying someone else. But Jenny knew something strange happened that caused her son to die and she needed to find the proof that showed that her ex husband, Kevin Harrison, had something to do with the death and had been lying to everyone.
No one believed that Finn’s death wasn’t an accident and that Jenny was obsessed about her son because the anniversary of his death was a couple of weeks away. But now Jen is missing and her husband Patrick and the detectives are getting concerned.
Jo checked the Warehouse Club and there was proof that Jen did go there and it looked like she left because her car wasn’t in the parking lot. Where was Jenny and where was the car? Both questions were soon answered when her vehicle was located at the quarry and Jenny’s body was found 50 feet blow in a basin, a gunshot wound in her head. Right beside Jenny’s body was the gun her husband Patrick bought for her for protection. Did Jenny kill herself because of her severe depression; did her controlling husband murder her; or was she getting a little too close for comfort to someone in discovering what really happened that caused the death of her son, Finn?
That’s the murder mystery of this terrific thriller but there’s so much more to the novel than that. Jo and Jenny share a similar problem. Both had horrible childhoods dealing with a parent that caused each of them to run away from society and to not trust people. Jo couldn’t tell anyone what her life was like as a child and because of that she built a wall around her not letting anyone in. Not Adam, the man she loved, nor her partner, Hank, who would do anything for Jo.
Jenny did have people who knew what her life was like as a child. Her sister, Kimberly Parks knew what Jen went through and how Jen protected Kim as they were growing up. The abuse caused Jen to have problems trusting people the same trust problem that Detective Larsen had.
Readers know about the pain that these two women share. The book masterfully describes Jo’s feelings and her fears but the amazing part was how readers learn about how Jenny was feeling when it came her childhood and how she tried to find out the truth when it came to her first husband and her son’s death. Jenny kept a journal and readers get glimpses of what was going on in Jenny’s head by reading some of her entries.
Susan McBride wrote the journal entries so realistically that tears will come to your eyes as you read them. Jen describes her fears, thoughts, and ideas so beautifully that it will make you wonder how Ms. McBride was able to get so much emotion out of this sad character. Emotions that she couldn’t share with the rest of the world because no one took her seriously. Even when strange things started to occur at the home she shared with husband, Patrick, her concerns about them were chalked up to her being upset over the upcoming anniversary of her son’s death.
Detective Larsen worked hard to find Jen’s killer because she felt that she and Jen were sisters, sharing the same abuse as a child and sharing the affects of that abuse as adults. Where at first her partner, Hank, believed that Jen’s death was a suicide Jo soon persuades him to see it as a murder.
“Walk Into Silence” is not your typical “whodunit.” We aren’t given a list of suspects and then have the real murderer appear out of left field. Ms. McBride has Jo and Hank take our hands and lead us into their investigation and when they figure out who the culprit is readers discover it along with the detectives as we walk with them as they find the proof they need.
This an amazingly good book and I’m happy to see that Susan McBride can write an excellent serious mystery with a wonderful story line. She’s able to explain to readers how an abusive relationship, no matter who it is with or when it occurred, will always affect the person and the people in their lives.
With any luck “Walk Into Silence” is the first of a new Susan McBride series and we’ll be seeing much more of Detectives Jo Larsen and Hank Phelps. Do not miss this incredible story.