Saturday, 19 June 2010

Book Review: Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante

Grade: 4 stars

Novellus superbus!

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster UK

Goodreads appetizer: British film star Amanda Delany has the world at her feet. Never one for the quiet life, she has had a string of affairs with the hottest actors around. The tabloids can't get enough of this talented and outrageous young actress and she, in turn, can't get enough of the spotlight.

Then, late home one evening from a night shoot, Amanda puts the key in her front door for the very last time. The next morning, the press gathers once again outside her house, this time to report on a brutal murder. Amanda's body has been found inside, stabbed many times, only her beautiful face left unharmed.

DI Anna Travis is desperate for a break after a long, hard-fought case. But the call comes through, summoning her to the scene of the Delany murder. Anna is shocked by what she finds, and even more so when she discovers the truth behind the public image of this glamorous and successful actress.

Anna and the team grapplel to track down Amanda's killer, headed by the ever demanding DCI James Langton. But Anna has challenges of her own to overcome too. Promotion to Chief Inspector is within her grasp. But when the time comes for her to stand before the board, she faces an adversary from the least likely quarter ...

My thoughts: Silent Scream was my initiation to Lynda La Plante's writing, and I have to say I became a fan. Don't let the length put you off reading Silent Scream (516 pages), the writing is flowing and Lynda La Plante's writing style is natural and enjoyable.

What I found the most amazing about Silent Scream was how even though one of the main characters was dead she was brought to life through the investigation. As the investigation progressed, the real Amanda, the person behind the glamour and fame took shape before the reader. Even though she was dead from the very first chapter of the book, she was as much present throughout the novel as if she were there in the "flesh", La Plante gave her substance and complexity. You felt sad and sorry for her because of her unhappy childhood, loneliness and want for love but then when you saw how she behaved at other times and how she didn't care about what she did to others she was downright repulsive. Amanda Delaney's presence haunted the story long after her murder.

The mystery wasn't obvious, it was well structured from the beginning and the reader couldn't guess who committed the murder, leaving you wondering and guessing until the end. 

Silent Scream introduced a lot of supporting characters but I can't say the novel could have gone without any of them. They were all essential to the mystery, to give the reader a broader picture of Amanda and show business politics.

The main characters: Anna, Langton and the other detectives and colleagues at the police were well developed and varied. Anna was an especially interesting heroine: a stubborn and driven young detective who isn't well liked by her colleagues mainly for being more of a lone wolf kind of investigator than a team player, but her superiors were all in agreement that she had potential and talent to become more.

I liked the cat-mouse emotional play between Anna and Langton because it seemed credible and very realistic. Once they were an item but even though their affair is over and Langton has a family (a wife and two kids), it is clear they still have so much going on and that neither of them has completely moved on. Their pain and affection for each other makes it harder for them to move on with their lives. I'm sure there will be more about their relationship in later novels too.

Though Silent Scream is said to be 'an Anna Travis Mystery', it can be very well enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Throughout the novel you will get all the details and background info necessary to understand the history of the characters, so you won't feel lost without having read the previous novels in the series.

Verdict: Though I did not find Silent Scream a nail-biting thriller, I enjoyed discovering how a murder investigation is conducted in real life, it was interesting to get to know some professional secrets and what is going on behind closed doors at the police station. The office politics and the process of the investigation were all very well and realistically described. Anna Travis is an interesting and sympathetic heroine and Lynda La Plante's writing is enthralling and flowing. A very enjoyable read , I’ll definitely read more of Lynda La Plante’s novels.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 8/10
Writing: 8/10
Cover: 9/10

You can purchase Silent Scream in two gorgeous covers:

Available from 6 July 2010 in paperback

Visit Simon & Schuster UK you could win a day on set of Lynda la Plante's detective TV series!

The BookDepository

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