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The Silent Girls (Canaan Crime Novels) Paperback – January 27, 2015
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“The Silent Girls is Vermont’s own True Detective...Three-dimensional characters, a moody rural-noir vibe, and a compulsively readable story make this a stunner of a crime novel!” (Steve Ulfelder, Edgar finalist author of Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage)
“Eric Rickstad’s The Silent Girls is a bone-chilling mystery set in one of New England’s darkest corners, the kind of place travelers are well-advised to avoid after nightfall. This well-crafted book will have you staying up late, turning pages and afraid to turn off the light.” (Paul Doiron, author of The Poacher's Son)
“Finely drawn characters, a narrative that beguiles and surprises and stark, poetic writing make for a novel as dark and brooding as its rural Vermont setting. The Silent Girls is both an exceptional detective story and a terrifying meditation on good and evil.” (Roger Smith, international best-selling author of Wake Up Dead, Dust Devils, Mixed Blood and Sacrifices)
“The Silent Girls is a thrilling ride to very dark places. I kept turning pages, scared of what I’d find but compelled to look. It’ll keep you reading all the way up to its shattering conclusion.” (Jake Hinkson, author of Hell on Church Street and The Big Ugly)
“From the very first, a feeling of dread crept over me and stayed with me until the end, and remains with me days later. The Silent Girls is love and terror, a mix of intense feelings that seeps into your heart and does not go away.” (Stephen Foreman, author of the novels Watching Gideon and Toe Hold)
About the Author
Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Silent Girls, Lie in Wait, and Reap, novels heralded as intelligent and profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. He lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.
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In the beginning, the protagonist Rath is trying to butcher a deer he killed while hunting, but Rath has back issues and the deer sits in the barn for two weeks until it's frozen to the floor. And I swear the author is either trying to make Rath human to readers in a really bizarre way or he's going for some kind of weird allegory -- but he keeps coming back to this deer throughout the book as a mechanism to introduce the next "twist."
It was just very strange, for lack of a better word.
Rath also had a habit of breaking one complete sentence into several fragments like: “It’s Dad. Just. Being Dad.” Which was fine, except suddenly every character in the book started talking this way.
He's interviewing a witness who answers his question with: “Envy may be a sin. But. I’m only human."
Soon other detectives are doing it: "Mandy might show any second. But. I don’t like it.”
The "monster" and various suspects all do it as well.
This might be the reason other reviewers have noted it felt like the author was talking the whole time instead of his characters -- because in fact there was no difference in the narrative and the dialogue with regard to syntax, cadence and etc. Essentially the characters sounded the same, lacked depth and substance, and it was very difficult to care about them.
I know other reviewers have mentioned they felt put-off by the characters judging and ranting and railing against the pro-life mindset -- and I agree it felt like the author's viewpoint rather than the characters -- but in fairness Rath also went off against "liberals" for paroling violent criminals and allowing them to hurt more innocent people. But obviously pro-life thinkers are not monsters any more than people who identify as liberal want violent criminals on the street to do more harm. The narrative and characters were very judgmental and quick to label people and mindsets in negative ways -- but ironically the characters themselves were poorly drawn cliches.
The plot ... It was ok, not horrible. At times it felt suspenseful, but I never reached the point where I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. In fact, it ends with a cliffhanger that's obviously meant to set up a sequel ... But I don't care enough about the characters to stick with them for a second book.
I would have a hard time recommending this book to anyone when there are much better options for investing your time: 2/5 stars.
My initial thoughts immediately after finishing this book in one word? Pleased.
Pleased I took a chance on this after seeing it on an review blog (thanks My Bookish Ways). Even after seeing there was only one review on Amazon and we all know chances are the first few reviews are friends and family of the author. Well, I'm neither. Never heard of this guy, had no knowledge of the book prior to seeing the review.
I loved how he ended the story! I freaking loved it! I loved how what seemed like a serial killer running amuck amongst young teenage girls turned out to be much richer and more complex. I believe our hero, Rath said it something like this, people are evil and evil is everywhere. Even in rural Vermont. And then the author drives it home.
There were a couple of things that bit me while reading as "so stereotypical" of a mystery hero - he can't get a break, even his body is falling apart and he's in constant pain so bad you wonder how he gets out of bed. Don't know that it was necessary in the book. Also don't know that the amount of drinking was necessary, yet another one that's done to death. Just once I'd like to see a great detective that's also a vegan and a marathon runner. Not that I am either, but then maybe its just not possible to see all the faults and lies in others when you are so focused on yourself. And our hero does have a gift for it. He can put the clues together, given enough time.
I believe we will see this character again and that this author will only get better with time. This one was more than good enough for me and I look forward to its sequel. I hope Rath has a long career as a detective.
I got this book for free and it ended at the 95% mark. The next book was the last 5% and will cost $4.99. I'm not buying it because this should have clearing been noted as the first of a series. And who knows how many books will be in the series? Will we be left hanging after "The names of Dead Girls", too?
That being said, I don't usually like murder mysteries. But I gave this one a try and really found it exciting and interesting. I didn't find it that difficult to follow the characters. About 60% of the way through it got to the moral issues and painted a certain group in a bad light as always. Although in real life there are some fringe groups like this. The main character on the opposite side of the issue made herself look like a creep the way many of them do so I guess it was equal treatment of both sides of this issue. To a degree - which is irrelevant since it's just a made up story. :)
Either way, I thought it all wrapped up pretty nicely until the end. There was one thing Detective Rath would NOT have done near the end because even a commoner wouldn't be so stupid as to do this when they are suspicious of someone. But it had to be done to make it work. Then came the end. I thought, did what I think just happened really happen. I figured it did. But I wanted him to tell me if what I thought happened was correct. Well, in the next 5% which is the sample of the new book, you find out your suspicions are correct. But now you'll have to buy the next book to find out the rest of the story.
I am happy enough with how the first book ended. But had I been told from the start that this was a 1st book with another to come, I'd have been more likely to be willing to buy the second book. It's a matter of principle and being deceived by leaving out information when selecting this book. Actually, I never would have picked this book as a free book had I known it didn't "end". I never take a free 1st book in a series if I have other selection options.
And that is why I only gave it 3 stars. It it had ended and been totally wrapped up, I'd have actually given it 5 stars. If you realize this and want to buy the second book, too, consider the book a fun, interesting, 5 stars. I did find the characters amusing in various ways, like them or not. And reading this I realize that maybe I can learn to like murder mysteries. Just remember, we have no idea if book 2 is the end or if it will go on and on. I see no sign of a book 3 being published...yet.
Most recent customer reviews
A mystery turned horror story.Read more
That being said...it took a while to get into.Read more