It’s my stop today on the blog tour for The Silent Child by M.J. White. Many thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour invite.
Title: The Silent Child (Cora Lael #2)
Author: M.J. White
Published on: 3 November 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
The Silent Child is the second book in M.J. White’s Cora Lael Mystery series.
A body is discovered at an abandoned Suffolk farm. The local police believe it is the latest casualty of the drugs war terrorizing rural communities. DS Rob Minshull and his team begin to investigate the case. The victim is identified as a well-respected local teacher named Oliver O’Sullivan. He was reported missing by his ex-girlfriend a couple of weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cora Lael is called in to work with Lottie Arundel – a troubled teen who has been electively mute for the past eleven months. Lottie has met many psychologists but they could never find out what’s wrong with her and why she stopped talking all of a sudden. Cora does not make any promises but tells Lottie she’s here if Lottie wants someone to listen to her.
While Minshull and his team hunt the murderer, the South Suffolk CID team face a new threat. A brutal vigilante group decides to pitch in, solve the murder case by putting not only the investigation in danger but the detectives as well. As the attacks become personalized and targeted towards the local police, things almost go out of control.
As Cora and Rob work together to find Oliver’s murderer, it is clear that uncovering Lottie’s secrets will bring more danger… and possibly put their lives in jeopardy.
Oh my wow! The Silent Child by M.J. White is an engrossing, gripping, intense, suspenseful and mind-blowing mystery! This is the first book I have read in which one of the lead characters has emotional synaesthesia. Though emotional synaesthesia is not a real thing (but synaesthesia is for real), I loved its inclusion in the story.
There are three PoVs in the story – the local police (Kate, Rob, Dave and others), Cora, and Lottie. The story begins with Lottie going electively mute and wanting someone to listen to her story. The Suffolk CID is at the barn of an abandoned farm where a body is found in a pile of clothes. The victim is later identified (through a tattoo on in arm) as Oliver O’Sullivan, a well-respected and well-loved local school teacher.
But as the CID team starts to investigate, they wonder if Oliver was involved in a drug gang. Of late, the rural communities have been ‘infested’ by drug gangs – dealing at an abandoned farmhouse is much easier than at city center. Then comes a twist – a local vigilante group claims the police are incompetent at solving the case and take matters into their own hands. But this comes at a cost – the group turns unruly and starts to attack policemen.
Meanwhile, Cora and Lottie form a bond. Though Lottie is still not ready to speak, Cora doesn’t mind – as long as Lottie is convinced she’s not alone and has help. But Lottie is holding on to a dark secret – something to do with the events that occurred almost eleven months ago. Cora is asked by Suffolk CID to visit the barn where O’Sullivan’s body is found – to find any clues possible using her ‘gift.’
I cannot stop thinking about Cora and her ability to hear things – every item in a room speaks to her. I found this very fascinating – the whispers, the screams, the secrets – Cora hears them all, from the walls to tissue holders to empty spaces. It is pretty clear that Lottie is had a traumatic experience. And the situation at her home (controlling mum) doesn’t make it easy for her to heal.
The detectives working on the case have their share of spotlight in the form of (personal) side stories. One character that stood out the most was Detective Kate Bennett. She was cold and calculating, rude to her partner at times – and I did wonder what made her act this way. The reason for her sudden change in behavior is heart-breaking.
The mystery behind Oliver’s death kept me guessing till the end. What started as a possible drug-related murder takes a turn for worse. Trigger warnings include trauma and abuse (children). The second half of the book was heart-wrenching to read – especially the traumatic experiences at school and Lottie’s pain.
The identity of the killer was a jaw-dropper. I was like, “what??? No, that’s not possible. They were one of the good guys, right?” Totally shocking and unexpected!
I absolutely loved the storytelling and the characters. The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. If I have to choose a favorite character in this book, I would choose Cora. Hmm, Lottie played a fantastic role too… so, I am going choose two favorite characters here.
If you are looking for a gripping, mind-blowing and jaw-dropping mystery, I recommend you to give The Silent Child by M.J. White a try.