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by Danielle Ramsay
Avon, October 2010
388 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847562299

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DI Jack Brady, dragged back to duty early from sick-leave, doesn't believe in a better society. Sophie Washington certainly came from a better society than the mecca for binge drinking that is Whitley Bay on the North East Coast. But Sophie is found murdered and mutilated and it transpires that this 15 year old, straight-A student from a good home had far more to do with the seedy side of life than she should have.

Brady, wounded physically and mentally, has to disentangle the different threads that are woven around this case: a family with secrets, a teacher who may have overstepped the boundaries, a colleague who is too closely involved for anyone's comfort. All of this while fending off jealous colleagues and a past that threatens to jeopardise the case. In the end Sophie is discovered to be three times a victim, or four if you include the society where she and Brady live.

This is a competent, tightly-plotted book. Brady is a wreck, but knows it and his honesty about his own condition makes him an engaging hero. There's the usual rivalries and clash of old-cop versus new-cop within the investigative team, but the characters are well-drawn and distinct, so you don't feel like you're reading cliches. The characters outside the police are also carefully created. There's a good sense of place and atmosphere without ever getting dragged down by long descriptive passages. There are a few mid-scene point of view shifts, which did disconcert me a little, but they're not frequent enough to spoil the flow of the narrative.

There are more characters and background plots than are dealt with in this single book. However, it appears that BROKEN SILENCE is the first in what will be the Jack Brady series, so I expect we will see them further developed in the future. I am certainly looking forward to reading more about them.

Anthea Hawdon lives in the North East of England and has spent her working life in and around the NHS; she consequently takes refuge in fiction as much as possible.

Reviewed by Anthea Hawdon, April 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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