Dandi Daley Mackall's novel, The Silence of Murder, hooked me
with its cover. The title is succinct but rich with possibility.
That's a hard thing to do. The illustration, a green glass bottle
shattering against a black background, and a blurb in small letters,
"an unspeakable crime
A voiceless defendent,"
helped to make my giving the book a chance inevitable. Fortunately
the narrative lived up quite nicely to the promise of it's jacket.
Hope, Mackall's heroine, is in quite the bind as the story
opens. A popular baseball coach has been killed. A bunch of
circumstantial evidence points to her brother, Jeremy, as the killer.
Most people feel that he committed the act, even their mother who is
counting on a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. Hope is
desperate to prove him both innocent and sane. But how?
Part of the problem is that Jeremy hasn't spoken for half his
life. Elective mutism is about the only thing the doctors can agree
on. Each of the family's many moves and school changes has led to a
flurry of tests, a new diagnosis.
Hope knows that if Jeremy is found guilty the death penalty is a
distinct possibility. She's sure, however, that her sensitive brother
would not survive in a mental hospital. She's doing her best to
investigate and find new evidence that can create reasonable doubt in
the minds of the jurors.
Jeremy's lawyer is a lot less than cooperative. His mother is
convinced that an insanity plea is their only chance. Hope, however,
just may be onto something. She's started getting ominous phone
calls. A mysterious white truck has taken to parking in a vacant lot
across the street from her house.
What if she's getting too close to the truth and someone doesn't
want her to discover it?
On a personal note, I won reelection.
A great big shout out goes out to the Veazie voters who gave me three
Julia Emily Hathaway
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