Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Caroline Mitchell’s latest release, Silent Victim. I’m a big fan of Caroline’s work and so when offered the opportunity of an early read I couldn’t pass it up. Not only do I have my review, but I also have a great extract to share with you to whet your appetites. First though, let’s take a look at what it’s all about.
About the Book
Emma’s darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long.
Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother…and an involuntary killer. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.
It’s a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma’s husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can’t leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge…
Returning to the shallow grave in the garden, she finds it empty. The body is gone.
Panicked, Emma confesses to her husband. But this is only the beginning. Soon, Alex will discover things about her he’ll wish he’d learned sooner. And others he’ll long to forget.
It’s something I’ve done.’ Taking a deep breath, her eyes met mine.
‘If I tell you, our family can’t go back to what it was before. In fact, it’s better if you don’t know. We can carry on with what we’re doing, sell the house, and start a new life. I’ll pull myself together in time.’
My heart pounded with ferocity. I was the head of the household. There was no question of turning my back on my family. ‘Just tell me. I want to know.’
‘Please.’ Her eyes were soft and imploring. ‘You don’t need the burden of it.’
I took her hands in mine. They felt cold and unyielding, her fingers clenched as if she
were holding her secret tightly in the palms of her hands. Slowly I opened her fingers,
lacing them between mine. ‘We took vows on our wedding day, remember? For better or for worse. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad.’ I gave a soft chuckle of reassurance. ‘No one died.’
Her eyes widened as she drew back her hands.
Her horrified expression made my mouth drop open of its own accord. ‘Fucking hell,
Emma, will you just tell me what it is?’
Composing herself, she glanced around the room. With Jamie fast asleep in his
bedroom, there was only us there.
‘All right, calm down. I’ll tell you, but I can only do it once. I’ll answer your questions
at the end, so no interruptions either. Can you do that?’
I nodded dumbly.
‘The thing is,’ she went on, ‘someone did die, and I’m the one responsible.’
I could barely take it in. Emma was no murderer . . . was she?
Intrigued? You should be as that is just a taster of the chills and suspense you have in store when you pick up a copy of Silent Victim. It opens in a very dark way, setting the scene for what is yet to come and from here on in you are faced with a set of questions, who, what and why.
The who is answered very quickly, at least the who as in who-dunnit. The what and why are a little trickier and the explanation behind forms the central thread of this story. As we are introduced to Emma and her family it is clear she is hiding something but until the story unfolds, we are not clear exactly what it is or why she would take the drastic action she has. Her life as she knows it is about to completely change, her husband Alex having accepted a promotion in Leeds which means they need to leave their Essex home. But leaving will mean Emma’s secrets could be exposed. We are then left to wonder whether the events which unfold are real or a symptom of the stress she has been under for many years. And if they are real, then who is responsible.
Caroline Mitchell has proven time and again that she is capable of creating tension and suspense, both of which she excels at once again in Silent Victim. Much like its predecessor Witness, we are also faced with unreliable narrators and characters we cannot fully get to like, even if you can feel some sympathy for Emma’s situation. She has a difficult background, again something which is slowly revealed to the reader throughout the course of the story, and this will no doubt have informed her character. However, is she fully a victim or is part of the problem of her own making?
The book does touch upon a difficult subject and one which may make the skin crawl. It certainly did mine. The subject of grooming is not sensationalized in any way and it is not glossed over either. There is no doubt that what is happening is very, very wrong and it is not portrayed in a remotely romantic way, not even from a childlike infatuation. And this is where the skin crawls as a character who is seemingly charming is laid bare for the reader, exposing the reptile lurking behind the shiny veneer. This is where Caroline Mitchell’s experience in the Police shines through and she manages a very convincing portrayal of the nature of this kind of abuse without crossing the line into full on child abuse. It is still objectionable and worrying but sadly still all too common. A tough topic sensitively handled while still providing tempered entertainment for the reader.
There are moments of great tension in this book, especially towards the end of the book where the inevitable showdown takes place. The ending may surprise you, it did me, and there are clues and red herrings dropped throughout the novel which will lead you up the wrong path more than once. But there are also quiet moments, moments where Emma gets lost in her own thoughts, yet still it retains the intrigue for the reader as you wonder how much of what is going on is all in her head. Told from three points of view, Emma, Adam and the ‘victim’ from the opening of the book, the voices are distinct and the action easy to follow. So easy in fact that I read through this in one day, helped by a round trip to Dublin, but it is one of those one sitting kind of books that once you start you won’t want to stop.
On a side note it also made me smile a little, recognising a couple of the names in the book. You know who you are 😉
A great addition to Caroline’s growing library and highly recommended.
My thanks for publishers Thomas and Mercer for providing an advance copy of Silent Victim for review. It is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.
Caroline originates from Ireland and now lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. She now writes full time.
Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston trilogy is described as terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers.
Caroline also writes psychological thrillers. The most recent, Silent Victim, has been described as ‘brilliantly gripping and deliciously creepy’. Her new DI Amy Winter series is published by Thomas & Mercer and launches 2018.
Make sure to check out some of the other brilliant blogs taking part in the tour.