Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Silent House

The Silent House by Nell Pattison
HarperCollins: 3/1/20
eBook review copy; 400 pages

The Silent House by Nell Pattison is a recommended debut mystery.

Paige Northwood, a signer and interpreter for the deaf, is called by the police in Scunthorpe, England, to assist in a case where they need a BSL interpreter. The father, Alan, and his girlfriend, Elisha, woke up to find Alan's visiting 18 month old daughter, Lexi, dead. It is clear she was fatally injured, but the two other children in the room were left unharmed. The mother, Laura, father, and girlfriend are all deaf and heard nothing. The police will need Paige's services in order to take statements and question the family.

Paige grew up with normal hearing in a deaf household so BSL is a second language for her, which made her career working as an interpreter a natural choice. She is also involved in the deaf community so she knows the people involved from the local Deaf Club. Her sister Anna was even Lexi's godparent. Her involvement with the deaf community leads Paige and Anna to undertake an investigation of their own.

The Silent House is an intriguing, but uneven novel. The concept is unique, and there is also a lot of information about the deaf community which does help hold your attention and will keep you reading. The synopsis, however, makes the plot sound much more interesting than is the case in this slow moving novel. It starts out strong and then slows down to a crawl. In the end though, the final denouement is very predictable and the twists leading up to it aren't always very plausible. 

Character development is uneven and no one feels like a real person. Paige's repetitious "oh woe is me" laments over dealing with the horrific case became a bit too much at times. I was tired of her repeatedly feeling like throwing up. Perhaps a new descriptive word for Paige's nausea or a new way to describe her discomfort dealing with the case would have helped - or maybe not. Anyway, Paige's behavior is annoying and baffling for much of the novel. One wonders why she is working as an interpreter for the police on a murder case besides the fact that she needs the money.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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