Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell is a mystery thriller with psychological elements thrown in. It is no mystery as to who killed Luke, Emma remembered doing it. She also remembered where she buried the body although admittedly she did not do a very good job which is why she returned to the burial site to do things right. The mystery is: what happened to the body? She knew to a certainty where she had left Luke dead. The thriller element is about who will find the body first. If Emma, OK, but if anybody else finds the body first, Emma’s future looks grim. As the reader looks around the interior of Emma’s mind, there are many hints of a horrible childhood that led to near mental breakdowns.
This novel begins with a lot of mysteries. Readers will be curious about Theresa. As a worker in Emma’s shop, a godmother to Emma’s son Jamie, and a sister or half-sister to Emma, the mystery of her character will continue to puzzle readers throughout the book. Alex, Emma’s husband, is a disappointing character. It seems his goal in life is to acquiesce to all of Emma’s wishes, moods, and desires, even when Emma appears to act as if she is in the throes of serious mental illness. Henpecked is one of the kinder and less vulgar words to describe his character. The preponderance of character development is with Emma. At the end of the novel, I felt her character was never developed as much as it could have been. There are hints about childhood trauma that might be the cause of present-day problems, but the early trauma is not developed.
A thoroughly unlikeable character appears as Luke. Only fellow psychopaths would like this guy. Luke is an important element in this novel but what is revealed about him could be the basis for a further stand-alone novel. With Luke, we have a lot of psychological horror. I feel sorry for anyone having to meet someone with such dedication to darkness and cruelty.
Mitchell has written a novel that is a page turner up to about the 50% point. The novel then turned into a story that I wanted to follow to get to the ending I was sure would happen. I felt I was owed a spectacular surprise ending so although I was not captivated by the novel, I went with the flow. The book exhibits a good, entertaining writing style but nothing dramatic until close to the 90% point. Then it picks up the pace once again and I turn pages faster. I did not get my surprise ending. What kept me interested in the final pages was the character of Alex. His mental struggles to fit pieces of a puzzle together were an interesting mixture of logic and coincidence.
This is solid storytelling with interesting themes. I gave this a solid three Amazon stars. No pluses or minuses. This is not a Gone Girl type of book. That big “excitement trough” between fifty and ninety percent makes the novel slightly above average and a good read through Kindle Unlimited but not a book I would otherwise purchase. Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans