Book: Silent Victim
Author: Caroline Mitchell
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Domestic Thriller
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Below is a spoiler free review.
I received a free ebook copy as part of Amazon’s First Picks for the month of February.
In a nut shell: Emma and Alex are selling their home, but Emma has a secret. Several years ago, she buried a body on their property, and now she wants to get rid of the evidence before the house is sold. The problem? When Emma goes back to the grave site, the body is gone.
*pterodactyl screech* Whaaaat? Um, yea, you can bet I downloaded that immediately.
First of all, I want to mention two main trigger warnings: eating disorders and child abuse (after all, the main plot point is that a teacher seduced Emma when she was a teen). Since I do not have personal experience with eating disorders and I am not a medical professional, I will not be addressing the eating disorder any further. It is not my place to express my opinion, other than the fact that it is a very serious and heartbreaking issue. Tread with caution. (I also want to note that Caroline Mitchell is a retired police detective, with her specialty dealing with domestic abuse victims.)
Silent Victim alternates between three POV’s: Emma, Alex (her husband), and Luke (the teacher from her past). The POV’s also switch between the past and present. In my opinion, this was extremely easy to follow and did not disrupt the flow of the story. In fact, I felt that it made the story fast paced and it kept me on my toes. The chapters are very short which made this an amazing page turner.
Reviewing thrillers is tricky because I don’t want to spoil any of the twists. So, let’s just get into the good and the bad:
- From very early on (and this is mentioned in the synopsis, so not a spoiler!), Alex learns Emma’s secret about the missing body. I thought this was a great move on the author’s part. It’s very common in domestic thrillers for the “unreliable wife” to be struggling alone or hiding something from the spouse. I appreciate that the husband had his own POV and was involved in the drama.
- I am so glad this wasn’t another “drunk unreliable narrator” situation. While I am in no way saying Emma having other mental health issues is a good thing, I have grown tired of the alcoholic trope that’s been common in thrillers-turned-movies (I’m looking at you, The Girl on the Train.)
- The short chapters made for an amazing fast paced page turner. While the writing isn’t necessarily the most brilliant, I appreciated how every chapter kept me wanting more.
- Luke made my skin crawl! Reading about his sociopathic thoughts as he groomed Emma as a teen made me want to puke. I almost considered not reading the book after I got to his first chapter. He certainly makes a “good” villain, but again, if this is a trigger for you, I would recommend not picking up this book.
- You’re not going to get much character development, especially from the “supporting cast” (ie: Emma’s sister, her father, Josh the coworker). In fact, even their child, Jaime, felt like an afterthought in the beginning.
- There are some… ridiculous… twists. Maybe not necessarily bad, but I did eye roll a few times. The ending wrapped up a bit too fast for my liking. This is why I gave the book 3 stars. I was ready to give it 3.5 stars but had to knock it down a bit because there were some issues I had with the ending.
I’m going to stop here because I don’t want to give away any more details. If you want a quick thriller that might make you jumpy in the middle of the night, pick up Silent Victim.