Home invasion – it’s a trope that I love! I mean, it scares the ever-loving crap out of me, but I love it! So the opening promo sentence for The Silent House by Nell Pattison really got beneath my skin:
If someone was in your house, you’d know…wouldn’t you? Oooh! Isn’t that just creepy and scary right at the core of the question?! Well, the premise for The Silent House is about what happens when you can’t hear if someone is in your house or not.
The Hunter family (ironic name, no?) are deaf and they don’t hear a single thing when a brutal crime takes place in the middle of the night in their home. Instead of hearing the crime, they wake up to the aftermath: The body of Lexi, their young child, beaten to death in her bed.
As soon as I heard the premise of this book and read the blurb I couldn’t react fast enough to want to be a part of the blog tour! It sounds right up my alley! So, here I am, as part of the blog tour!
Unfortunately, whilst the book has several merits, and strong ones at that, it just didn’t pack the punch that I was expecting or hoping from it.
Let’s start off with something good, and it’s in the beginning!
The start of the book has some great set-up to it, and the pacing and the action are quite nail-biting. It really is great that the first 50 or so pages really suck the reader in. It only makes it a bigger shame that the momentum that the author built up isn’t consistent for the rest of the book.
For a book with such a strong hook – the deaf community and a murder within it – it’s such a shame to see it let down by a plot that drags itself in the middle and has very little progress in the ‘whodunnit’ department. Sure there are red-herrings an all that, but there’s no suspense to couple it off with. The ending was tied up with a neat little bow but there was something inherently unsatisfying about it.
Perhaps it has to do with the lack of character development. Or perhaps that we spend, arguably, too much time with Paige, the BSL (British Sign Language) interpreter that the police bring on board to assist with the case. I say this because there were times where I feel like this book may have been a drama all about Paige in an earlier draft.
We spend too much time hearing her thoughts that ultimately go nowhere and it gets frustrating. Is The Silent House a crime drama, a police procedural or a personal drama with elements of the other two thrown in? It’s all a bit confusing at times.
However it’s not all bad news like I so easily seem to manage to portray.
This is a solid book from a debut author and I genuinely believe that the writing, whilst not bad in the first place, will get better with each new book. I also think pacing issues are a learning curve.
The premise is incredibly unique and I applaud Nell Pattison for bringing an under-represented group of people to light for a lot of readers. I’m currently learning BSL so this was a fascinating read for me.
It’s also incredibly refreshing to see that the author never once portrayed deafness as anything other than a fact of the matter. Deafness was never portrayed negatively and I applaud that. I am here for that.
Gossip, small towns, everyone knows each other’s business, moral issues and drama with some kick-ass representation? Yeah, all in all, whilst The Silent House definitely has some bumps in the road it’s a great book.
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