TEENY-TINY REVIEW: Andrea Kane’s THE SILENCE THAT SPEAKS Didn’t Speak To Miss B.

Silence_That_SpeaksMiss Bates was curious to read Andrea Kane because she read a good review *somewhere* about the first book in her Forensic Instincts series, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice. ‘Sides, Kane wrote romance and the lure of suspense and romance together is too delicious for Miss Bates to ignore. What she found was a novel that could easily stand in for a television CSI show … shows too numerous and repetitive to keep track of. (But, damn, Miss B. always got a kick out of David Caruso donning/doffing his shades.) Kane’s novel doesn’t deviate from this tried and true formula. Miss Bates read The Silence That Speaks while on holiday, her reading broken up by road trip nausea, uncomfortable hotel beds, and daily excursions. Her review will be minimal, helping get her reviewing impetus back in gear. Kane’s contemporary thriller, with a touch of romance, set in NYC, centres its crime-fighting/crime-solving plot around an independent detective agency, the six-member Forensic Instincts team.

The Silence That Speaks stands on its own quite well, though it is fourth in the series. It opens with an attempt on Madeleine Westfield’s life (she’s an RN at a local hospital). The introduction is nicely fraught with mystery and tension. Madeleine, “Maddy,” turns to the Forensic Instincts team for help. She’d had a love affair with one member, Marc Devereaux, former SEAL and FBI agent, ten years ago. In the course of Forensic Instincts’ investigation, Maddy and Marc renew their relationship. The case’s resolution also sees their walking-into-the-sunset HEA. The rest of the team are introduced: co-owner, Casey Woods; techie, Ryan McKay; woo-woo clairvoyant, Claire (hardy-har); retired FBI agent, Patrick Lynch; and the adorable human scent bloodhound, Hero. To add to the CSI flavouring, there’s an AI jack-of-all-trades named Yoda. Madeleine’s mystery near-killer involves the agency’s digging into the death of her hospital administrator, Ronald Lexington. He died while on Maddie’s sympathetic ex-husband’s, Conrad’s operating-table. Their probe into the mystery of why/how/who wanted to do in Lexington exposes the ambitions, jealousies, and passions of a tight-knit community working under stressful conditions. There are a myriad of hospital-based characters who enter the picture as Forensic Instincts works to reveal Maddy’s attempted murderer and, obviously the same person, the one who’s trying to frame her ex-husband for Lexington’s death.

Unfortunately, The Silence That Speak devolved. Miss Bates enjoyed the various characters that make up Forensic Instincts and the kind of work they do: working as a team, co-ordinating efforts, and putting heads together to bring a killer to light. Miss Bates appreciated the idea of a group of people working complementarily to bring justice to the world: “It was never a surprise to Casey when Marc’s mind and hers were in sync. They had different histories, strengths, and personalities, but their brains operated on the same wavelength.” Forensic Instincts is an organization that brings together the best of the best, which is why it came as a surprise and disappointment to Miss Bates when these characters behaved, well, stupidly. As the narrative moved away from the team and into the mind of the killer(s), as the killer was more and more obvious to the reader, Forensics Instincts and all their know-how, woo-woo, and technology couldn’t figure it out looked implausible.

Kane’s writing is serviceable and the pacing in the first half is well done; the second half drags. The villains’ motivations are obvious and the resolution stereotypical. Marc and Maddy’s romance isn’t much of a romance. They meet, have sex, admit what has been unrequited love till now, and carry along. It’s hard to believe that after ten years, they have nothing to resolve, or work out. But to give Kane credit, this isn’t a romance novel. It’s a thriller/mystery, CSI-wannabe … there are some cutesy bits among the various team members. Miss Bates confesses she wanted the dog to have a greater role; he looked like a lot of fun, but there wasn’t much need for a human scent canine expert in the plot. Miss Bates can’t say she loved Kane’s novel, but if you’re a CSI fan and want to read a team-led thriller, this may be a good series to look into. As for Misses Bates and Austen, “it had a high claim to forbearance,” Emma.

Andrea Kane’s The Silence That Speaks, fourth in the Forensic Instincts series after The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, The Line Between Here and Gone, and The Stranger You Know, is published by MIRA Books. It released on April 28th and is available at your preferred vendors. Miss Bates is grateful to MIRA Books for an e-ARC, via Edelweiss.

6 thoughts on “TEENY-TINY REVIEW: Andrea Kane’s THE SILENCE THAT SPEAKS Didn’t Speak To Miss B.

  1. I enjoyed your review and welcome back! Characters behaving stupidly can really wreck a mystery. Sorry this one didn’t work so well for you.

    How many permutations of that CSI series were there? I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t watch any of them, but I was a huge fan of BONES. I never missed an episode of Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, Special Agent Booth, and all the forensic investigators at the Jeffersonian Institute. 🙂

    Since you’re exercising your mystery muscle, I wonder if you’ve ever read Charlaine Harris’s Lily Bard or Aurora Teagarden mysteries?

    The Lily Bard mysteries (5 in all) are set in Shakespeare, Arkansas and the titles (as well as some references within the books) all reflect that “Shakespeare” connection – Shakespeare’s Landlord, Shakespeare’s Champion, Shakespeare’s Christmas, Shakespeare’s Trollop, and Shakespeare’s Counselor. They’re all pretty short reads, but pack a punch as far as the ongoing core message of reconnecting via friendship, romance, love after a traumatic life-changing experience. Plus the murder mysteries are really quite good, very entertaining, with clues and red herrings doled out in just the right amount and at the right time. No forensics teams here but just good ole brain power. 😉

    Lily is just an extraordinary character IMO, with a surprisingly mundane occupation – cleaning houses. Her character arc over the five books is simply riveting and compelling. Charlaine Harris really does a masterful job at “show, don’t tell” in this series. Lily is a tough, butt-kicking, mystery solving, dragon slayer but also very vulnerable – a woman determined to survive despite daunting odds and personal challenges.

    The other series (8 books in all) – Aurora Teagarden – is set in Georgia and features a diminutive librarian solving mysteries. This series is good but it’s lighter in tone and characterization than Lily Bard.

    I’ve been bitten by the mystery bug between this review and the Arnaldur Indridason book. I’ll be pulling boxes down from the attic till the wee hours looking for my copies of the Lily Bard series. 😉

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    • You’re most welcome!! Good to be back and to see you here!! I admit that one of the reasons I no longer have a TV, or cable, or Netflix is because I am easily mesmerized by any mystery/thriller show. I’ve watched any permutation of anything, including BONES, which I loved. I also confess to never having missed an episode of … yes, JAG. I thought the male lead was such a hubba hubba in his lawyer whites. And I loved the romance between him and the pretty lady lawyer. I also really loved MEDIUM. Okay, here … this might send everyone scurrying from my blog, but I even watched GHOST WHISPERER. And any HBO show of that ilk, forget it, I was rivetted. Loved BANSHEE. Watched one episode of LONGMIRE on MamaB’s TV and I’m hooked … but I think I want to read the books first.

      I love your description of the Harris series and with a little gift card here and there, I’m going to start acquiring them. I do like to stretch my mystery reading muscles as palate cleansera from romance, though romance is my first love.

      I think the Indridason books are masterful, really memorable. But not easy: this latest one was the mildest by far. Henning Mankell’s DOGS OF RIGA is another of that Scandinavian noir that I loved. Haunting.

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      • Longmire is great show, and I lovelovelove Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear. Also: Yes! Yes! Yes! A fellow Ghost Whisperer & Medium fan! I will also confess to an utterly irrational love for Supernatural especially the *early* paranormal mysteries/adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester. OK, maybe my devotion was tinged with just a teeny bit of lust for Jensen Ackles (he first made me sit up and say “Boy, Howdy” when he played Eric, Sami’s brother, on “Like sands through the hour glass…these are the Days of Our Lives.” 😉

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        • I think your hubba hubba moment is well justified! I caught a few episodes, but they were so far into the seasons that I had a hard time following. Eye candy, OTOH, was easy as well pie. Mixed my sweets metaphor there, but what the heck! I love LDP too!! I was a big fan of DAYS too back in the day … were we separated at birth? 😉

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  2. The mothership CSI show has been canceled and will be wrapped up in a TV movie or extended episode. A cyber-based spinoff started last year. I haven’t watched it; original flavor CSI is the only one I watched from start to finish.

    I might actually enjoy this despite the niggles. Thanks for summarizing it!

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    • I’m also a sucker for Law and Order: Criminal Intent because I think the Vincent D’Onofrio character so compelling. Patricia Arquette? I think I may have caught an episode: I just can’t quit them.

      I think you might enjoy the series: I think the first book is supposed to be really good. This one might be suffering from series-fatigue. Let us know what you think if/when you do!

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