Silent Child is this month’s Criminally Good Book Club selection, and also a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time now.
In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.
His body was never recovered.
Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…
… until Aiden returns.
Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.
As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?
It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.
This dark and disturbing psychological novel is a page-turner you will not be able to put down.
Silent Child is one of those novels that I wanted to love but sadly, I didn’t – it wasn’t all bad, there were some things I loved about this novel and thought worked really well, however, they were outweighed by the things that didn’t work quite so well.
My favourite thing about this novel was Denzil’s writing style, I love the way she chose to tell this story from Emma’s perspective – this allowed you to feel her emotions along with her, her despair at losing Aiden, her frustration at him not speaking, her determination as a mother to save her child. There were some really powerful moments, for example, when Aiden went missing, Emma talks about what it really means to ‘lose control’, it demonstrated how powerful words can be in conveying a parent’s grief. It was paragraphs like these, moments were Emma’s pain was so raw, that really made me appreciate Denzil’s writing ability.
There was also a creepy undertone present throughout this entire novel. Who knew a child that didn’t speak could be so unsettling, it really did give this novel its darker edge. And the suspense, oh my, the continuous building of suspense was brilliant, it had me desperate to know what happened to Aiden. Now, here’s where this novel fell short for me – the suspense far outweighed the ending, and left me feeling utterly underwhelmed. There was one line earlier on in the novel that hinted at who was involved in Aiden’s ordeal, and I didn’t mind knowing said individual was involved ahead of time because I think it was pretty predictable based on their actions throughout the novel, however, as Emma comes to know the truth, I thought the way it played out was exaggerated and unbelievable. Emma is heavily pregnant yet she appears to have this invincibility about her and I just didn’t buy it, and it led to me rolling my eyes several times. Even the parts of the ending I didn’t see coming, were so underwhelming, and again, the actions of some of the characters, at certain times, had me rolling my eyes.
What started off as a powerful novel, full of suspense, concluded in a dramatic and unbelievable fashion, so much so, that it overrode all that I did like about this novel. Would I recommend this novel? Sadly, not. Would I read another Denzil novel? Absolutely, the writing ability is there, for me, the plot just lost its way towards the end.