Customer Reviews: The Silence of Murder
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on February 20, 2012
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. Even though Hope and Chase know they should have nothing to do with each other because of how ugly Chase's dad can get, sparks fly and before you know it, Chase is into the hunt for the real killer as much as Hope.
There are some amazingly good red herrings in this mystery as well as some great bits of information discovered at just the right speed in order to keep the reader guessing. And guessing. And guessing. The ending is a perfect mix of really sad and really happy. This is one of those books you really don't want to end because the story is so good and well told. I hope the author writes more mysteries and I can certainly see why this received an Edgar nomination.
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on February 20, 2012
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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on January 19, 2012
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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VINE VOICEon July 10, 2016
This excellent mystery, an Edgar YA winner in 2012, tells the story of Hope Long who is convinced that her brother Jeremy is not guilty of killing baseball coach John Johnson. Since Jeremy is autistic and selectively mute, he can't explain why he was running away from the barn where Johnson was found. That the murder weapon was his own wooden bat doesn't help either.

Hope knows that her brother couldn't have done that but she is alone in her opinion. Her brother's lawyer and her own mother are trying for a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity defense. Hope decides that she needs to investigate if she wants to clear her brother.

Her companions in the investigation are TJ who is her only friend in town and Chase who is the son of the sheriff and who spends summers with his father. She and the boys try to find other suspects. Could it be the coach's wife who is dying of cancer? Is it another member of the baseball team that Johnson coached?

This story was intensely emotional. I loved Hope's determination to prove her brother innocent. I loved that she knew about all of Jeremy's quirks but still thought he was special and wonderful. I felt bad for her and for Jeremy because of the mother they had. Rita was extremely self-centered and an alcoholic who dragged her kids all over the country before returning to her home town picking up men all along the way to give her "loans."

The writing was excellent and the pacing in this story helped build the tension as Hope comes closer and closer to finding out who really killed John Johnson. I recommend this mystery to all ages.
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on September 12, 2013
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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on August 4, 2014
In some ways this is a predictable novel - competition between two boys for the female main character, family means everything to girl with lousy family, teen sets out to find the truth that incompetent adults are unable to.

That said, the story is well told. We suspect Jeremy's condition will change, but the story explores aspects of his personality well into the last half of the book instead of exposition of all the characterization at the beginning. The strong female lead who has male friends who aren't also her saviors is refreshing.

I think people of all ages can enjoy this although young adults will probably engage most readily since it is the world of these teenagers that is being explored.
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on May 30, 2014
Met Dandi at a Claire's Day Book signing. She is a lovely person.

The Silence of Murder was a fantastic read. Through-out the story you were always changing your mind about "Who Did It".

Great for age 11+. I am an adult and loved the book. I adored the main character Hope (who often felt "Hopeless"). She was so strong and courageous!
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on September 2, 2012
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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on July 23, 2012
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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on August 18, 2015
It was a very interesting story which I was not very into because I had to read it for my summer reading at school. But around the third chapter I really got pulled into it. But as you can see from the four stars above there were some parts where I got bored. If you are like me and wish to find a book where you get attached to the characters I would read and reread The Outsiders, it is my favorite book slab movie. And I'm only 13. I also am mentioning playing The Walking Dead Video game. You WILL become attached to the characters
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