Some of the members of my discussion group (and my wife) attended an event – the second annual Buns and Roses Romance Tea for Literacy. They were scheduled at the table of author Brenda Novak who in addition to writing romance novels also wrote a series starting with Dead Silence. I decided I would read this book. Is this book a mystery? Well … not really. Technically it is classified a romantic suspense novel. It does not have a typical “sleuth” which is generally associated with a mystery. Is there a mystery? Yes there is – what happened to and where is Reverend Barker a respected member of the Stillwater community who disappeared some 16 years earlier than the book. But it is no mystery to the Montgomery family.
Most of the Stillwater community suspect murder and still believe the Montgomery family is responsible. Grace Montgomery who left Stillwater 13 years ago and became a successful assistant D.A. is returning to Stillwater for a visit. In spite of her success, most of the community still thinks she is trash. We learn in this book why the there is this image of her and the underlying reason. As a young kid, she had been abused by her stepfather – the reverend. As a result she had a very low esteem as a teenager and fell into a trap of getting approval by letting the boys have sex with her. Yes this is fiction but it is not unusual for the same thing to happen when a kid is molested. Grace Montgomery’s return restirs the suspicions of the community that the Reverend was murdered by the Montgomery family. We learn what the Montgomery family knows about the death of the Reverend. But was he murdered?
We learn the circumstances leading up to his death. Giving this information, we understand why it happened. I am no lawyer but it would be my opinion that no legal charge of murder should be made. But given the attitude of the community and their feelings towards the reverend, the Montgomery family feels alone. However, they learn they have allies. And when you think the truth (that the reverend is buried on the family property) is going to come out, it still remains a secret. In the end Grace gets some peace in knowing she was not responsible for what the reverend did to her. Also she finds love and a family. But since this is the first in the trilogy, this is obviously not the end.
Even though this was not what I consider a mystery, I enjoyed the book and will probably read the other two books in the trilogy.