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The Silence of Murder [Kindle Edition]

Dandi Daley Mackall
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.86
You Save: $2.13 (21%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Hope Long's life revolves around her brother Jeremy.  So when Jeremy is accused of killing the town's beloved baseball coach, Hope's world begins to unravel. Everyone is convinced Jeremy did it, and since he hasn't spoken a word in 9 years, he's unable to defend himself.  Their lawyer instructs Hope to convince the jury that Jeremy is insane, but all her life Hope has known that Jeremy's just different than other people—better, even. As she works to prove his innocence—joined by her best friend T.J. and the sheriff's son, Chase—Hope uncovers secrets about the murder, the townspeople, her family, and herself. She knows her brother isn't the murderer.  But as she comes closer to the truth, she's terrified to find out who is.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DANDI DALEY MACKALL has written many books for children and adults. She has held a humorist column and served as freelance editor, has hosted over 200 radio phone-in programs, and has made dozens of appearances on TV. Dandi conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the U.S. and keynotes at conferences and young author events. She writes from rural Ohio with her husband, three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. Visit her at DandiBooks.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

The first time Jeremy heard God sing, we were in the old Ford, rocking back and forth with the wind. Snow pounded at the window to get inside, where it wasn’t much better than out there. I guess he was nine. I was seven, but I’ve always felt like the older sister, even though Jeremy was bigger.

I snuggled closer under his arm while we waited for Rita. She made us call her ‘Rita’ and not ‘Mom’ or ‘Mommy’ or ‘Mother,’ and that was fine with Jeremy and me. Pretty much anything that was fine with Jeremy was fine with me.

We’d been in the backseat long enough for frost to make a curtain on the car windshield and for Rita’s half-drunk paper cup of coffee to ice some in its holder up front.

Jeremy had grown so still that I thought he might be asleep, or half frozen, either one being better than the teeth-chattering bone-chilling I had going on.

Then came the sound.

It filled the car. A single note that made it feel like all of the notes put together in just the right way. I don’t remember wondering where that note came from because my whole head was full of it and the hope that it wouldn’t stop, not ever. And it went on so long I thought maybe I was getting my wish and that this was what people heard when they died, right before seeing that white tunnel light.

The note didn’t so much end as it went into another note and then more of them. And there were words in the notes, but they were swallowed up in the meaning of that music-song so that I couldn’t tell and didn’t care which was which.

Then I saw this song was coming from my brother, and I started bawling like a baby. And bawling wasn’t something you did in our house because Rita couldn’t abide crying and believed whacking you was the way to make it stop.

Jeremy sang what must have been a whole entire song, because when he closed his mouth, it seemed right that the song was over.

When I could get words out, I turned so I could see my brother. “Jeremy,” I whispered, “I never heard you sing before.”

He smiled like someone had warmed him toasty all the way through and given him hot chocolate with marshmallows to top it off. “I never sang before.”

“But that song? Where did you get it?”

“God,” he answered, as simply as if he’d said, “Walmart.”

I’d just heard that song, and even though it seemed to me that God made more sense than Walmart for an answer, I felt like I had to say otherwise. I was the “normal” sister, the one whose needs weren’t officially special.

“Jeremy, God can’t give you a song,” I told him.

Jeremy raised his eyebrows a little and swayed the way he does. “Hope,” he said, like he was older than Rita and I was just a little kid, “God didn’t give it to me. He sang it. I just copied.”

The door to the trailer flew open, and a man named Billy stepped out. Rita was breaking up with Billy, but I don’t think he knew that. We’d stopped by his trailer on our way out of town so Rita could pick up her stuff, and maybe get some money off her ex-boyfriend, who didn’t realize he was an ex. Billy stood there in plaid boxers, his belly hanging over the elastic like a rotten potato somebody’d tried to put a rubber band around. If I hadn’t been so cold, I might have tried to get Jeremy to laugh.

Rita squeezed up beside the potato man. She tried to slip past him and out the door. But he took hold of her bag and grabbed one more kiss. She laughed, like this was a big game. Then she stepped down out of the trailer, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.

I would have given everything I had, which I admit wasn’t so very much, just to hear Jeremy and God’s song again.

The tall heels of Rita’s red knee-high patent-leather boots crunched the snow as she stepped to the car, arms out to her sides, like a tightrope walker trying to stay on the wire. She jerked open the driver’s door, slid into place, and slammed the door hard enough to shake the car worse than the wind.

Without saying a word, she turned the key and pumped the pedal until the Ford caught. Then she stoked up the defrost and waited for the wipers to do their thing. I figured by the scowl on Rita’s face that Billy hadn’t forked over the “loan” she’d hoped for.

Jeremy leaned forward, his knobby fingers on the back of the seat. “Rita,” he said, “I didn’t know God could sing.”

She struck like a rattler, but without the warning. The slap echoed off Jeremy’s face, louder than the roar of the engine. “God don’t sing!” she screamed.

That was the last time Jeremy ever spoke out loud.

Sometimes I think if I could have moved quicker, put myself in between my brother’s soft cheek and Rita’s hard hand, the whole world might have spun out different.



2

“Your Honor, I object!”

The prosecutor stands up so fast his chair screeches on the courtroom floor. He has on a silvery suit with a blue tie. If he weren’t trying to kill my brother, I’d probably think he’s handsome in a dull, paper-doll-cutout kind of way. Brown hair that doesn’t move, even when he bangs the state’s table. Brown eyes that make me think of bullets. I’m guessing that he’s not even ten years older than Jeremy, the one sitting behind the defense table, the one on trial for murdering Coach Johnson with a baseball bat, the one this prosecutor would like to execute before he reaches the age of nineteen.

The prosecutor charges the witness box as if he’s coming to get me. His squinty bullet eyes make me scoot back in the chair. “The witness’s regrets about what she may or may not have done a decade ago are immaterial and irrelevant!” he shouts.

“Sit down, Mr. Keller,” the judge says, like she’s tired of saying it because she’s already said it a thousand times this week.

Maybe she has. This is my first day in her courtroom. Since I’m a witness in my brother’s trial, they wouldn’t let me attend until after I testified. So I can’t say the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what’s gone on in this courtroom without me.

“I’ll allow it,” the judge says. “Go ahead, Miss Long.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 1275 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009BHTKFY
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 11, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JN1CKQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the Edgar nomination February 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Hope Long hasn't had the best life, but she's been able to cope. Her father was killed in a pedestrian accident when she was three, her mother, Rita, is a drunk and a pretty poor excuse for a mother. The only family member who really matters to her is her 18 year old brother Jeremy. Unfortunately, Jeremy has problems of his own. He hasn't spoken for ten years, has been given more psychiatric diagnoses than carter has pills and collects empty bottles. In fact three walls in his bedroom are filled with them. Jeremy, however is no dummy. He communicates with Hope by writing elegant letters in perfect penmanship. When the story begins, Jeremy is on trial for murfer, having been accused of killing the high school baseball coach with the wooden bat he carries with him most of the time. Because Jeremy is electively mute and there are no other possible suspects, Prospects for anything other than prison or a very long stay in a psychiatric facility are pretty slim. Hope knows Jeremy is innocent, but how can she prove it?
The bulk of the book involves her efforts to figure out who really did kill Coach Johnson. She's not as alone as she first thought. Her brother's defense attorney is a very decent man who is willing to keep an open mind when Hope starts shaking loose some facts that might alter the outcome of the trial. Her long time friend T.J. (who would like to be a lot more than a friend, but Hope is clueless about that), is willing to help her even though he's creeped out by some of the places she needs to investigate. Enter Chase, son of the sheriff. He's a pitcher like T.J., but has a history of getting into minor scrapes back in Boston where he lives with his mother most of the year.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm totally impressed! February 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Review by Jill Williamson

Coach Johnson is dead, and sixteen-year-old Hope Long is the only person who believes that her eighteen-year-old brother, Jeremy, is innocent. Sure, Jeremy is a little different--he's always been that way--but he's no killer. But there are no other suspects, so Hope sets out to find some and prove that Jeremy didn't kill Coach.

I'm totally impressed! This was a wonderfully creative mystery novel. The writing was excellent, and the characters were even better. I was completely sucked in and didn't see the end coming. I'm so glad I bought this book! This is the first I've read of MacKall's books, but I'm going to keep an eye peeled for whatever she writes in the future. If you like John Grisham, you'd like this book. With the wrongly accused and the search to find the truth, this book was one I couldn't put down. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intriguing mystery! January 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this because I love mysteries and love Dandi Daley's books. I have to admit I began it thinking it was written for teen-agers and wondered if this grandmother (me) would find it simplistic and maybe boring. NOT! The book kept my interest from the first pages and I changed my mind several times throughout the book about who the murderer was---a definite plus for a mystery! Hopefully this will not be the only mystery we'll see from Dandi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Mystery Even Better Realistic Fiction September 12, 2013
Format:Paperback
The Silence of Murder is an excellent, but pretty formulaic murder mystery with multiple plausible suspects, strong motives and great clues. Author, Dandi Mackall, also included a great realistic fiction story. It is a winning combination that most YA readers will enjoy. Hope is a hard working teen determined not to throw her life away making the same mistakes her alcoholic mother did. Hope is also fiercely protective of her autistic older brother Jeremy. When Jeremy is arrested for murdering the town hero, Hope is the only one who believes he is innocent. Since no one else will do it, Hope decides she must find the real killer. With the help of friends Chase and T.J., Hope uncovers several long held town secrets, and someone desperate for the truth to stay buried begins threatening Hope. Readers will probably change their minds several times as new clues point to new suspects, but they will share Hope's determination to save Jeremy and will come to love Jeremy and Hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Loved how this mystery unraveled October 17, 2012
Format:Audible Audio Edition
Honestly I didn't expect to like this audiobook.. but I was hooked after about 5 minutes. Tight little murder mystery with a completely original ending that still has me thinking. Will absolutely be recommending this book to my friends. Emily Rankin's narration was spot on. Her portrayal of Rita (Hope & Jeremy's mother) gave me goosebumps during some of her drunken rants. Will be looking forward to listening to performances from Mrs. Rankin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves Edgar Nod September 2, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Reminiscent of Scout in TKAM, the young protagonist is outraged by a rush to judgment because the suspect is vulnerable. Hope's brother cannot defend himself with words against a prejudiced community. His only defense is Hope and her belief in his innocence. Credible characters and a beginning hook keep the reader following the clues to a satisfying conclusion. I will be reading more of Dandi's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for plot, characters, theme, everything! July 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I won't say much about the plot, as the synopsis has been given several times, but I just loved this book. I read tons of mysteries, so I especially love one that keeps me guessing till the last page. This novel has even more than that though. It has such realistic characters that you'll really care about and root for. [Too many novels that I read may have good puzzles, but I don't care much about the characters.] It has imagery and a thoughtful deeper theme that I've come to expect from Dandi's novels. This mystery has it all! I'm buying a copy for my granddaughter as well...and I only give her the best books I can find.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silence of Murder
It is a little slow moving for my 8th graders, but I really liked the twists! I used it in our Edgar Award Unit this school year, and the students liked where it led, the white... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Linda Pudenz
4.0 out of 5 stars The Silence of Murder
I believe this book is a good mystery. Although there seemed to be a lot of conclusions that the main character, Hope, jumped to in the book, I believe that this is often the case... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Abbey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I'm always looking for compelling young adult-level books for my adult ESOL students. This one is a page-turner. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Juniper
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and it kept my interest!
An interesting and unusal mystery. Very enjoyable! Would recommend this book to teen and adult readers as it appeals to both equally. I want more like this!
Published 13 months ago by Cheryl Wirfel
1.0 out of 5 stars Not about Reykjavik?
Stopped reading when I realized it had nothing to do with a murder in Iceland. Did I miss something here?
Published 16 months ago by Diana
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I love this book. When I read this book I can picture Jeremy with his jars collections. Well worth the Edgar nomination!!
Published 16 months ago by pim
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I had to stop reading once I saw the familiar 'teen girl has to decide between two disparate boys' story line. Maybe I'm missing something. Read more
Published 20 months ago by LeighLoo
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
This is a great read. Lots of twists and turns and for anyone who works with or is interested in child trauma, psychology, nature vs nuture etc. it is a must read.
Published 21 months ago by trishdishes
3.0 out of 5 stars The Silence of Murder
Very good. A suspense that keeps you reading on and on. Well, I do recommend this book to any one who likes mysteries.

Catherine Jourdan
Published 22 months ago by Catherine
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More About the Author

Dandi won her first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. Her 50 words on "Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A's" won first place, but the team wouldn't let a girl be batboy. It was her first taste of rejection.
Since then, Dandi Daley Mackall has become an award-winning author of over 400 books for children of all ages, with sales of 4 million copies in 22 countries. THE SILENCE OF MURDER is the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery 2012. Recent picture books with Sleeping Bear Press include Legend of Ohio, Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story (Notable Book 2008 - Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People National Council of Social Studies & Children's Book Council; winner of the Angel Award, 2008; Winner of the "Award of Excellence" from Chicago Book Show 2007) and 2008 release, A Girl Named Dan (her own "batboy" story, and a lesson on Title IX), 2 Mom's Choice Awards & Amelia Bloom Award. Eva Underground, Harcourt young adult novel, nominated ALA Best Book 2007, starred Kirkus review, awarded a Top Teen Read by New York Public Library, finalist for Ohioana Award, was based on the author's experiences behind the Iron Curtain. Love Rules was awarded Romantic Times' Top Pick. Middle-grade fiction, Larger-than-Life Lara, Dutton/Penguin, which teaches how to write, while tackling the problem of bullying, is on the KY Bluegrass Award List 2007-8; William Allan White Award list, 2008-9; KS and KY Children's Choice lists. Her Winnie the Horse Gentler series has sold over half a million books and Starlight Animal Rescue is a Gold Medallion finalist. Dandi received the 2009 Helen Keating Ott Award for distinguished contribution toward promoting high moral and ethical values in children and young adult literature. She also received the Distinguished Alumna Award in 2008 from the University of Missouri. Dandi is a national speaker, keynoting at conferences and Young Author events, and has made dozens of appearances on TV, including ABC, NBC, and CBS. Visit Dandi at www.dandibooks.com, winniethehorsegentler.com, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85oaIUbJ8j8

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