Title: THE SILENT GIRLS
Author: Eric Rickstad
Publisher: William Morrow
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.
WHAT I THOUGHT
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.