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Hush Mass Market Paperback – March 15, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (March 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312968523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312968526
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,168,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Hush opens with the gruesome murder of 7-year-old Davy Boyce's mother by his stepfather, Chet. Chet kills the woman with a straight razor after she confronts him about his abusive behavior towards Davy. We soon find that Chet has married Davy's mother only to be close to Davy, who he molests throughout the book. Once she's dead, Chet packs up the trailer and takes Davy to the remote, Oregon lumber town of Bentman. That's when Hush really takes off.

Chet's plan to have Davy all to himself is quickly derailed when Davy becomes both an elective mute and a biter. He is taken out of school and placed in the Bentman Children's Center where he meets 38-year-old Celia Griswold, the art therapist assigned to his case. Celia has her own problems. Her cheating husband, childless marriage, and uncooperative boss drive her to develop a bond with Davy, and the boy's sinister artwork leads her to suspect Chet of the crimes he's committed. Chet does not plan to give up "his boy," and launches an assault on Celia to ensure that he doesn't have to.

Edgar- and Emmy-award-winning journalist Mark Nykanen has written a debut thriller that is sure to chill even the most weathered mystery fan. Davy, Chet, and Celia hold the story together as both fascinating and believable characters. There are moments in the story that are difficult to believe, but despite its few weak spots, Hush is almost impossible to put down. --Mara Friedman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A murderous child abuser takes aim at the woman who threatens to expose him in a debut thriller that is long on psychological complexity but short on action. At 38, Oregon art therapist Celia Griswold is having a rough time. At home, the dissolution of her marriage to a halfhearted philanderer is jeopardizing her chances to have a child; at work, while the Bentman Children Center's stiff new director upsets her most reassuring routines, she finds herself falling for a wacky, married colleague. Celia's troubles boil over, and her patience and skill with children are tested, when she begins to work with seven-year-old Davy Boyce. Davy has stopped speaking and started biting?and he's producing mysterious and disturbing artwork that hints at a terrifying crime. Emmy- and Edgar-winning journalist Nykanen uncovers his characters' psyches with wit, complexity and originality. Unfortunately, the plot is creaky, relying on implausible recklessness from the villain and generic scenes of suspense. Nevertheless, Nykanen's attractively unpredictable characters will keep a stubborn hold on readers' attention.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Well-written with good character development.
Wendy O.
I read this book for the first time several years ago and it is right up there on top of my all-time favorite list.
Amy is Always Reading
If you think that you can "breeze through" this book, be forewarned.
SteveC@Pomadm.pomona.edu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on March 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was turned onto Mark Nykanen by a fellow reader, and boy am I grateful to him. `Hush' is a tale of child abuse that is comparable to Lorenzo Carcaterra's `Sleepers' or Luanne Rice's `Stone Heart'. Unlike other reviewers, I didn't find the sex overdone at all, in the case of the child it was simply hinted at in real life, but painted that dark shade of horrid from the mind of the abuser. Atypically well done for this type of no-no subject.

No monster or vampire or ghastly apparition can ever be more horrifying than an abuser of children, a sick control freak who preys on the innocent to feed himself. This is horror in its truest form, the everyday form of humanity.

Young Davy Boyce watches his stepfather Chet kill his mother, a pattern Chet has established before in order to gain control over young male children. But unlike Chet's other victims, Davy stops talking and begins to display very disturbed behavior, such as biting. After an incident in Davy's class in where he bites both a fellow student and the teacher, Davy is sent to a special school in the hopes that artistic psychotherapy can help him.

Celia Griswold works at the Bentman Children's Center in rural Oregon where Davy is sent to, and uses drawing and art to try and pull Davy out of his silence. Celia has her own problems with a wandering husband, her own desire to have children, a wandering sheep herder that has moved his flock near their land, and a new boss who doesn't understand the therapy she excels in. Davy's artwork points to something very wrong with Davy's homelife, but Celia's extremely clinical boss refuses to recognize Celia's suspicions.

Chet, in the meantime, has his own agenda for Davy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burgoine on August 15, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Hush" was a book I grabbed off the bargain pyramid, and as such, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it: just a thriller to keep me going when I was moving house and had nothing hooked up or working right yet. On that level, the book succeeded wonderfully: the tension is high, the villain stalks the heroine and a child mercilessly, and you twitch and jump and get skittish.
The basic premise is this: A sociopathic pedophile has killed a childs mother and taken the child in order to prey on him better. The child withdraws, becoming a voluntary mute, and a biter. A woman who is an "Art Therapist" (a psychologist who uses the artwork of children to 'decode' their stress/troubles) then gets the boy's case, and ensuing thriller begins.
The heroine, Celia, is very well crafted, with depth and a personality that lines nicely with her career. Moreover, she's not perfect - her marriage is on the rocks, she has doubts sometimes in her conclusions, and her job is unstable since the head of the hospital thinks what she does is a fraud and has no real psychological validity. Likewise, Davy, the child, has a very rich character - he is surviving a level of awful abuse (and sometimes even the hints of what is happening to him are very painful to read), and his mind is as complex as it would be given the condition.
It's the villain where the complexity dies a little. The pedophile character is cardboard and 1-dimensional, and you only get a random hint or two as to his background, motivation, or the like. In most thrillers I've read, you get a detailed past from the villain, as he or she tries to validate what they're doing (an impossible task, but a quirk of most major sociopaths or the like).
Still, on the basis of making you jump and being a solid thriller, this is a good read: you'll twitch and gasp and hold the book white-knuckled. Just don't expect literary depth from anyone in the book except the heroine and the child.
'Nathan
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Ashmen on August 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As seems to be the status quo, I picked this book up from a bargain bin - in Acme of all places! The title sent a little shiver down my spine. And once I started reading I absolutely could not stop! This book is horrifying and so well-written that you feel you are in the room, in the woods, in the water, in the truck, experiencing everything with Davey and/or Celia... When I audibly gasped at one point my co-worker came around the corner to see what was wrong. When I explained what had taken part in the story SHE was hooked! I had to give her a blow-by-blow summary each afternoon of what happened next! A horribly scary, scary book - the suspense is palpable. A definite recommendation - but not for the faint-hearted! And don't read when you are alone!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By April on August 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a huge fan of psychological thrillers, but most books do not live up to their hype. This isn't the case with Mark Nykanen's debut book, Hush. I couldn't tear myself away and I was actually disappointed when I finished it. The art therapy aspect is so original and it's easy to fall in love with little Davy and Celia. As I read some of the more traumatic scenes, I found myself crying for what Davy went through. I had to continually remind myself that it's just a book... a work of fiction. I think this novel will amaze readers and I hope Mark Nykanen comes out with more work of this caliber!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "missterious" on August 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a fabulous book! Full of suspense, my hands were glued to the book and could not put it down until I read the final word. Not for the faint of heart.
Celia, an art therapist, develops a particular bond with Davy, a child who has witnessed horrors no child (or adult) should ever be exposed to. Davy doesn't speak, and communicates only with Celia through his drawings. Celia becomes his advocate when others believe he is beyond reach and in so doing, immeshes herself in a world of violence and fear.
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More About the Author

Mark Nykanen is the author of six novels that have focussed on a variety of subjects: sculpture, murder, adoption, art therapy, environmentalism, counseling spousal abusers, and post-apocalyptic North America in the latter part of this century. The last tale noted is "Burn Down the Sky," written under the pseudonym James Jaros. It is the first in a series that he's writing for HarperCollins about the collapse of natural systems triggered by climate change. The sequel, "Carry the Flame," will be published in July, 2012. His novels have been widely praised in national magazines and newspapers, both in North America and abroad; Europe's largest newspaper called Nykanen "The new master of the psycho-sexual thriller." Translation rights for his books have sold to seven countries, including France, Russia, and Germany, where "The Bone Parade" ("Totenstarre") was a bestseller. His novel, "Primitive," was a number one Kindle bestseller. Nykanen is also a journalist of note. His many awards in print, radio, and television include four national Emmys for investigative reporting as a correspondent for NBC News, and a duPont-Columbia award for "excellence in journalism" from Columbia University. As the writer of "The Silent Shame," a network documentary on the sexual abuse of children, he won an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He was also the reporter for that documentary, which was lauded by scores of critics, including "The Chicago Tribune," which hailed it as "a landmark in broadcast journalism." Nykanen now blogs on climate change, providing summaries and links to the most important news he finds on the subject.