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Friday, July 16, 2010

Guest Review - Silent Scream

Please welcome guest reviewer Stella !!  She is the owner of Ex Libris Blog, so after reading her review here, take a stroll over to her little home in the blogosphere.

Author: Lynda La Plante
Copyright: Paperback - July 6, 2010 (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster); 516 pgs

Series: #  5 in Anna Travis Mysteries

Sensuality: ?

Mystery sub-genre: Police Procedural

Main Character: Det. Insp. Anna Travis

Setting: Modern day London

Obtained book through: Publisher for honest review

Goodreads appetizer: British film star Amanda Delany has the world at her feet. Never one for the quiet life, she has had a string of affairs with the hottest actors around. The tabloids can't get enough of this talented and outrageous young actress and she, in turn, can't get enough of the spotlight.

Then, late home one evening from a night shoot, Amanda puts the key in her front door for the very last time. The next morning, the press gathers once again outside her house, this time to report on a brutal murder. Amanda's body has been found inside, stabbed many times, only her beautiful face left unharmed.
DI Anna Travis is desperate for a break after a long, hard-fought case. But the call comes through, summoning her to the scene of the Delany murder. Anna is shocked by what she finds, and even more so when she discovers the truth behind the public image of this glamorous and successful actress.

Anna and the team grapplel to track down Amanda's killer, headed by the ever demanding DCI James Langton. But Anna has challenges of her own to overcome too. Promotion to Chief Inspector is within her grasp. But when the time comes for her to stand before the board, she faces an adversary from the least likely quarter ...
"Returning to her bedroom, leaving all the lights on, she couldn't stop hearing that terrible single scream echoing in her head. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was that it was a woman screaming. She recalled being cast as the victim of a serial killer in a movie that required her to scream, and when she couldn't get the right pitch, they had brought in another actress who specialised in bloodcurling screams. She remembered when she watched the finished film how chilling the moment had been.

Eventually she went back to sleep, aided by two sleeping tablets. She didn't wake until mid-morning and, brewing up fresh coffee, she wondered if it had simply been a nightmare that had woken her. "

Stella's thoughts: Silent Scream was my initiation to Lynda La Plante's writing, and I have to say I became a fan. Don't let the length put you off reading Silent Scream (516 pages), the writing is flowing and Lynda La Plante's writing style is natural and enjoyable.

What I found the most amazing about Silent Scream was how even though one of the main characters was dead she was brought to life through the investigation. As the investigation progressed, the real Amanda, the person behind the glamour and fame took shape before the reader. Even though she was dead from the very first chapter of the book, she was as much present throughout the novel as if she were there in the "flesh", La Plante gave her substance and complexity. You felt sad and sorry for her because of her unhappy childhood, loneliness and want for love but then when you saw how she behaved at other times and how she didn't care about what she did to others she was downright repulsive. Amanda Delaney's presence haunted the story long after her murder.

The mystery wasn't obvious, it was well structured from the beginning and the reader couldn't guess who committed the murder, leaving you wondering and guessing until the end.
Silent Scream introduced a lot of supporting characters but I can't say the novel could have gone without any of them. They were all essential to the mystery, to give the reader a broader picture of Amanda and show business politics.

The main characters: Anna, Langton and the other detectives and colleagues at the police were well developed and varied. Anna was an especially interesting heroine: a stubborn and driven young detective who isn't well liked by her colleagues mainly for being more of a lone wolf kind of investigator than a team player, but her superiors were all in agreement that she had potential and talent to become more.

I liked the cat-mouse emotional play between Anna and Langton because it seemed credible and very realistic. Once they were an item but even though their affair is over and Langton has a family (a wife and two kids), it is clear they still have so much going on and that neither of them has completely moved on. Their pain and affection for each other makes it harder for them to move on with their lives. I'm sure there will be more about their relationship in later novels too.

Though Silent Scream is said to be 'an Anna Travis Mystery', it can be very well enjoyed as a stand alone novel. Throughout the novel you will get all the details and background info necessary to understand the history of the characters, so you won't feel lost without having read the previous novels in the series.

Verdict: Though I did not find Silent Scream a nail-biting thriller, I enjoyed discovering how a murder investigation is conducted in real life, it was interesting to get to know some professional secrets and what is going on behind closed doors at the police station. The office politics and the process of the investigation were all very well and realistically described. Anna Travis is an interesting and sympathetic heroine and Lynda La Plante's writing is enthralling and flowing. A very enjoyable read , I’ll definitely read more of Lynda La Plante’s novels.

Thank you so much Stella for the review!  We look forward to the next review from you.

And now for those HOT Summer Days

Enjoy your summer and stay COOL.

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