Author: Eric Rickstad
Publisher: William Morrow
ISBN: 9780062351548
Genre: Crime Fiction


Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective’s badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an ’89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath’s investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere-and no one is safe.


I can’t go on. I mean it, I simply cannot go on … reading this book. This is one long monotonous boring read. It’s the equivalent of a long straight driveway covered in grey chippings. This endless ribbon of uniform grey that stretches off into the distance, hard and uneven under foot, unyielding in form or feature. That’s how reading THE SILENT GIRLS feels.

There’s a total lack of any emotional depth to the characters, and while the author tells us a great deal about the main protagonist’s past, we know nothing about him. It’s like he had nasty past and then, popped up in the future, as a middle-aged man looking after his dead sister’s daughter. And therein lies the problem with not only the characters, but the lack of story itself.

We’re told everything, I mean, everything, but nothing. There’s a lot being said, but it has nothing (so far) to do with the story and reads like way too much filler. And while this is supposed to be a murder mystery, there is no murder, so far as I can tell.

I read 90 pages last night, and stopped at chapter 15. Chapter FIFTEEN, and nothing has happened.

There’s possibly a missing girl, but even by chapter fifteen, after pages, and pages of filler, we still don’t know if the girl has run away, been kidnapped, or is lying dead somewhere. Because we have no breadcrumbs, no hints, no nothing about anything or anyone. We have plenty of descriptions of the countryside in up state Vermont. We know about Frank Rath’s distant past. But not why he went from being a promising detective to a washed out PI.

The only evil lurking seems to be in the imagination of the author, but he’s not up for telling us about it, yet!

Oh, don’t get me wrong. He opens the book with a superfluous prologue that does nothing for the story (so far as I’ve read), and seems to be there only to shock. Look, here’s something nasty. But even reading it just left a dull taste in my mouth because it’s so badly written as to be a weird scene lifted from a Stephen King novel. It tells the reader how evil (this being a very young child at that) people can be.

And like the scene between Rath and the run-away young woman’s father—who may or may not be a pimp, who may, or may not sell drugs—it comes at you from out of left field. One minute the two men are testing each other’s testosterone levels, and then?

Bang! Our PI with supposedly a bad back is pushing a man twice his size and weight down onto the floor in a weird confrontation that is disjointed and out of place. The whole scene is badly constructed and had me re-reading it to make sure I hadn’t missed something, it was so preposterous.

Add to that how irritating the lead character of Rath is, and I can see this being another DNF.

The author has Rath eyeing up every woman and female child as if (a) they’re an affront to his maleness and manhood which he needs to lock away, or (b) reacting like a pervert staring at a young girl, or getting aroused by a sales woman racking her fingernails on his wrist. Which is kind of disturbing on so many levels, let me tell you.

I cannot empathize with Frank Rath on any level, nor any character so far, and I am so bored with the dull writing I felt my eyes glazing over as I read, last night. Tedious, plodding and lacking any interest or impact, you could say it’s criminal that this one ever got a publishing contract, let alone, published.

Rating: DNF

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  1. Oh noooo, sorry this one was such a bummer for you! They can’t all be winners but the analogy of driving was perfect for a DNFer!

    • Alexandra
      December 24, 2018

      Yeah, it really was a drag to try and read. What was worse, Christina, was this author was recommended to me. It just goes to show we don’t all like the same kind of read. Onwards, and upwards.

  2. December 19, 2018

    Oh damn! But you explain this perfectly so yes I understand the DNF. Life is too short to have reading looking like a chore! Now after science fiction I am happy to tell you that now I am reading a murder/mystery. Granted it is YA but not a romance. See what you and Norrie make me do LOL

    • December 19, 2018

      Damn, was right, Sophie. Another paid-for dud. It happens to all of us at one time or another, but this year, way to many times for me. I’m going to start being ultra selective in the books I buy from here on in.

      Oh, I am glad Norrie and I are getting you into other genre. There are so many good books, that I think people don’t read them because they think, ‘Oh, I don’t read X or X.’ Which precludes so much reading joy. Me? I’ll read any genre. But whatever the book, or author, I need certain boxes ticked. Good writing, well plotted, a story that grabs your attention, and characters who are real and three-dimensional: good or bad!

      Not a lot to ask for. 😀

  3. December 18, 2018

    Oh dear, I get so grumpy when I find a book that doesn’t work for me. I literally want to smash it against a wall… probably that’s why I read digital to spare our neighbours…

    On a more serious note, sorry to hear it didn’t work out. The points you mentioned would also irritate me, it’s a fair review Alexandra. Life is too short to spend it on reading what just doesn’t work for us when there are so many other books to enjoy. Hope your next pick is much better one.

    • December 18, 2018

      Oh, you and I both, then, Vera. I think either tossing it out the window into the snow, or burning would be great. But, alas, it will probably go to the library. Someone there might read and enjoy it.

      Funnily enough, I’ve had two people ask me why I post these kind of reviews and had to say, well, would you rather do as I did and buy a book that was a dud, or have someone give you their personal opinion as to it being a dud, to make an informed decision? I know what I prefer. 😀

      • December 19, 2018

        I agree, critical reviews are important. Krysta wrote a wonderful post on them here:
        I’m absolutely with you on that!! 🙂

        • December 19, 2018

          Oh, I am glad to know that, Vera. And thanks for the link. Will go check it out.

          I know a few in our extended group of book bloggers post this sort of review on DNF books, which I for one appreciate, because it helps in decision making about not just a book, but that author too.

          We don’t have to be nasty in our reviews, just honest of what worked, and what didn’t.

  4. December 18, 2018

    Awwwh, i’m sorry this didn’t work out for you.
    You cracked me up tho… i still remember the main character having the backpain and complaining about it all the time. Maybe that’s why i related to him so much. Story of my life, hehe 😀

    • Alexandra
      December 18, 2018

      Was this one you reviewed, Norrie? lol I know I got the author from you, but don’t remember the exact book. Sad to say, yeah, this one just didn’t do it for me. It’ll make good kindling tho!

      • December 18, 2018

        LOL! Kill it with fire! 😀
        No, i didn’t review this, i just put it on my autumn cozy list.

        • December 18, 2018

          Yeah, it just might end up on my End Of Year bonfire of books, Norrie!

          Damn, you mean, I can’t blame you for buying this dud? Ha! Ha!

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