The Silent Girls
Author: Eric Rickstad
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 3.25 Stars
Book Summary: With the dead of bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well...
Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective's badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an '89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.
Soon Rath's investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.
With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest town on the map, evil lurks everywhere - and no one is safe.
Here's what I liked about the novel. From the start, it opened up strong with a murder scene that unfolds into a thriller that was well-placed within a small quiet town in Vermont. That's a great way to start that was enough to grab my attention and keep me interested (little setup, thrown right into the mix).
Then Frank is called to help determine what happened to the missing girl, in a case that has been given preferential treatment unbeknownst to him. Having been a former detective, you're taken through his personal conflicts with not having properly dealt with the murder of his own sister decades ago, which led him to making a change to be a P.I. and focus more on his own daughter. In the middle of the search, more girls are discovered missing close to the area, and the hunt for the mystery behind these "silent girls" intensifies.
It was shaping up for a great read, and then it happened. Although the length of the book was not the problem, it certainly could have been chopped down and I felt the author was placing too much of an emphasis on trying to "thrill" the reader than sticking with the story. Meaning, there was just way too many plots running together, multiple twists and turns that seemed forced on me rather than making sense with the story, and I found myself trying to keep them all straight...while wondering what the point of it all was.
The writing was still very good, but it could have been better if the author wasn't trying so hard to "impress" the reader with literary distractions. The ending was open-ended, without appearing to be as if it was setting itself up to be the first part of a series, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did lead to future installments. And the ending, let's just say it gave me the same rush I had in the opening sequence.
Now, would I read more books from this author? Probably. I like his writing style, but I hope he tapers the content down a little because in this book, one girl missing is one thing. More girls are discovered missing? Okay. Then I have to deal with the protagonist's past, why he's on the case, dealing with the similarities of troubles he hasn't dealt with...it was too much.
However, if you can get past that, I think you'll find a page-turner for sure. Not anything groundbreaking, but it had some good moments that were worth the read...reminiscent of the works of John Connolly, if you're a fan.
If you're looking for a thriller/mystery from an author you may not have read or come across before, you might want to look out for this book at your Abilene Public Library. The opening and ending is strong, and the flighty parts in-between shouldn't be enough to throw you off.