Mags had been estranged from her brother Abe at the time of his accident. Their separation wasn’t due to having had a falling out; it was more that their lives had moved in very different directions. Confident Mags had followed her legal career to the U.S.
TATTLETALE is a bit of a muddy experience initially as the characters are established. As doubt begins to direct Mags in her investigations, the pace picks up and we are questioning everything that she has been told about the life of her brother. Mags is a terrific character (would love to see her again in another book) and the strength of her resolve drives TATTLETALE forward. The viewpoints of the two women are in such opposition to each other that we do not know who is presenting their true selves, and who is operating behind a mask. Secondary characters from the building all have their own memories of Abe and it is through these that Mags needs to sift in order to end this whole UK chapter and get back to her “real” life in the United States.
TATTLETALE around three quarters in takes a left turn and it is a little bewildering. It appears that the decision may have been made that the novel wasn’t long enough and so more was added to extend the work beyond what would have been its logical and natural end. The extra content and subsequent conclusion jars with the atmospheric tone carefully established in the first part of the book. Mags inserting herself in to Abe’s life with such determination versus the vague way in which Jody conducts her life is the real treat in TATTLETALE and the book is satisfyingly layered in such a way that you will want to see the resolution of every single thread the author has carefully introduced.
Review - Not a Sound, Heather Gudenkauf
Amelia Winn’s life after her traumatic accident is completely different to the life she enjoyed before. Once Amelia had an attentive husband, a much-loved step daughter, a fulfilling nursing career – and her hearing.
Hats off to the author for working so well within the constraints that would have been present when writing NOT A SOUND. The challenge would have been not only with what cues Amelia could receive herself but also in relating the expression of others ie ‘he said’ rather than ‘he drawled’ etc. The dialogue flows without any conscience effort needed by the reader to detect any further emotional nuances.
NOT A SOUND has two main highlights; the first is the unique perspective of Amelia being hearing impaired and the second is the inclusion of the dog! Stitch the service dog and his relationship with Amelia is wonderful to read of; Stitch not being the perfect dog in his service role any more than Amelia is the perfect pet owner. Every reader loves to read of pets playing serious roles in novels as that is real life – not many people live without a dog and/or cat.
Mystery wise NOT A SOUND has a small cast and setting so it does not present a huge puzzle to solve. Each step of characterization is carefully placed however and if this is to be the first book in a continuing series, NOT A SOUND is a solid start.
REVIEW - AN ISOLATED INCIDENT by Emily Maguire
Like in most small towns, Strathdee knows its residents well and the pace of life can be slow to the point of terminal boredom. No one knows this more than Chris Michaels, local queen of the bar. What has kept Chris on the good path up to now has been her younger sister Bella, all around saint and one of those people that no one has a bad word for. It was always Bella that saw the good in everybody and who propped Chris up when she was in danger of falling down after her marriage went south.
Wouldn't be too quick to classify this one as a psychological thriller as there is very little simmering tension in watching the lead character disintegrate a little day by day. The whole tone of the book is rather desultory, which fits in well with the remote country town setting where things take a while to happen. The death of Bella is a killing without purpose and the struggle that Chris feels in carrying on with normal life is both relatable and genuine. AN ISOLATED INCIDENT has an excellent sense of place and is very easy to project yourself into the setting of the small town who is increasingly being left behind. There is little mystery in this novel, but you will be concerned of how Chris will come out the other side of her grief and face each new day without her beloved sister being in the world. A slow moving novel about loss; both its enormity and of how shocking it is to the grieving that life simply must go on, regardless of what has been unexpectedly and horrifically taken from them.