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The Quiet Child

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  389 ratings  ·  90 reviews
From the award-winning author of The Absence of Mercy, comes a gripping and darkly psychological novel about family, suspicion, and the price we are willing to pay to protect those we love the most.

It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  389 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dang, this is one strange and unique book. Being a Hitchcock fan, I couldn't help but be reminded of his shows broadcast back in the 1960s. This book takes place in the 50s. It is about a family that has had its share of bad luck and illnesses, and a town that shares in it all. A father leaves his mute son in the car while he and the older son run into the store for something. The car is stolen with the boy inside, but not until the older son manages his way into the passenger seat to save the d ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! When I finished it my hands were cold and clammy and my brain abuzz thinking about the ending! The residents of Cottonwood are suspicious and leery of Danny, a mute 6 year boy. People are dying or becoming ill and all fingers point to this little boy. Even Danny's mother is ill and his father showing signs of tremors. Then because of one wrong decision Danny and his older brother go missing. The search that follows is intense and keeps building till the very end. I'm definitel ...more
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever watch those old episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents? This is like those...but a book.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Cottonwood, California, 1954. From the outside, the McCrays are a normal family, mum and dad, Michael, Kate and the two brothers Sean and Danny. Danny is the youngest and a quiet child, at six hasn’t yet uttered a word, his big brother Sean, 10 y.o., is fiercely protective and watches out for him.
One fatal morning, while buying ice cream at a store, Michael realizes with horror that someone has stolen his car and abducted his two sons.
Immediately the police starts the search, the county detect
An easy read that I got through pretty quickly. A bit slow in the middle but the last 1/3 is great!
Starts off with a kidnapping that could so easily be like so many other missing children, traumatised parents, stories... and if it had been just that I would've switched off early doors. But there's quite a bit more to this one and worth getting right to the end.
I read someone else refer to a Hitchcock type TV story and I was transported back to Tales of the Unexpected.......
I am going to try to review The Quiet Child as vaguely as possible, because it is a book that could easily be spoiled with too many details and if you like dark and twisty thrillers, you will want to go into it not knowing too much about it. It's set in 1954 Cottonwood, California--interesting to me because Cottonwood is a real town and I lived in nearby Redding as a child--so the town and landscape felt familiar--even if I lived there in the 1970s. Cottonwood is a small town where everyone know ...more
First Sentence: Michael McCray squinted into the low-hanging sun as he swung the liberty blue Mercury four-door into the Century Grocery parking log off Gas Point Road.

Danny and Sen McCray are 6- and 10-years-old respectively when they go to the market with their father, Michael. There have always been rumors about Danny, who doesn’t talk, being the cause of sickness in the town and to his own mother. When a man steals McCray’s car, with the boys inside, Sheriff Jim Kent ignores those who say t
3 no 7
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Quiet Child” by John Burley is a book filled with non-stop suspense, mystery, suspicion, and surprises. It is difficult to write a review without spoilers because every event is tied to another. In the summer of 1954, the residents of the small town of Cottonwood in California are shaken by the blatant daylight kidnapping of two children; the family car was stolen with Danny and Sean McCray inside. The search for the boys is complicated because the younger boy, Danny, is a “quiet child” and ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In 1954 in the small town of Cottonwood, California, teacher Michael Mccray lives with his wife Kate and sons 6 year old Danny and 10 year old Sean. Kate is very ill and emaciated from a disease that is slowly stealing her life. Kate's sister had breast cancer and her husband committed suicide not long ago. Many of the townspeople have health issues and they seem to blame little Danny. He was born prematurely and has never spoken a single word and the townspeople think he is somehow infecting ev ...more
Ali K
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This was a great read. I received it as a giveaway. When reading the book sleeve I wasn't sure if it was a book that I would be able to get into but once I started reading I couldn't put it down.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! A pretty dark plot and I certainly didn't see what was coming at the end! Quite an excellent psychological thriller!
Cathy Ryan
Set in 1950s California, the McCray family live in the small town of Cottonwood. Kate McCray was born and bred there and when she married Michael McCray that’s where they set up home. Their two boys, Sean and Danny, ten and six respectively, complete their family. Michael adores his wife and boys but things aren’t going well. Danny has never spoken or made a sound, although he’s perfectly healthy. Kate is sick, with her condition worsening. Michael is beginning to be afflicted by tremors. The re ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cottonwood, California is a small town. The kind of town too small for its own police force, where the sheriff and the firemen are volunteer. The kind of town where everyone knows everyone's name and everyone's stories.

Kate McCray has always called Cottonwood home, even before she was a McCray. So of course everyone knows Kate and her husband, Michael. And when Kate becomes sick, everyone sympathizes. But Kate and Michael have two sons, Sean and Danny. And Danny doesn't speak. Not only that, bu
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: am-i-thrilled
The Quiet Child reminded me of that old Twilight Zone episode where a local boy in the community can wreak havoc with his psychic powers so everyone in the town pretends to be happy and jolly except the child in question is a mute six year old and does not seek to cause harm intentionally.

It is the tale of two kidnapped young brothers, the animosity and fear of a narrow minded community and the lengths to which a father and husband will go to protect his family, at the cost of innocent lives.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review, 2017
I have really enjoyed the other book that I have read by this author. So, I went into this book with high expectations. I ended up being drawn right into the story right away. I actually read this entire book on my three hour flight last week. It's kind of hard to talk about this book without giving away spoilers, so I'm not going to try. There are a few surprises and the book definitely took a turn that I wasn't expecting.

I had to sit on it for a few days to really digest the story and the end
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four years ago my brother recommended a book to me, Absence of Mercy, by new author
John Burley. I'm so glad i took my brothers advise, for that recommendation led me on a journey with a fantastic author.
In each of Mr Burleys novels he tells his story so convincingly that you know exactly what is happening, until he turns the story into something you couldn't possibly see coming.
The Quiet Child does exactly that. There is an incredible sadness throughout this book, but what an imagination for
Susan Bennett
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing psychological thriller. Although you may probably guess fairly early on who is at fault for the children's disappearance, there is a surprising twist at the end.

I think the author captured the essence of small town American in the 1950s. The only problem that I had at first was trying reconcile the mention of Interstate 5. When I was growing up in the 1950s, we never said fact, I don't think Eisenhower signed the Interstate program into existence until the 195
Luanne Ollivier
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 John Burley has just released his third novel, The Quiet Child.

1954 - Cottonwood, California. Many residents of this small town are ill, including the McCrays. Although there are environmental reasons that might explain the sicknesses, fingers are instead pointed at six year old Danny McCray, who doesn't speak. But how could a child bring so much illness to the town and his own family? When Danny and his older brother Sean are kidnapped, the townsfolk whisper that it's maybe for the best. Bu
Sherry LaJaunie
This was a story of a family in a small town. There were two boys and one boy would not/did not speak. Because of this, the whole town would blame him for anything bad that happens. One day both suns are kidnapped. From there you follow along in the search for them. There is a twist but a small one.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure how to describe this book. Not your run of the mill mystery/thriller. Kind of reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. Definitely kept me engaged! First time reading this author and will be reading more.
Rolando Barrientos
What an amazing story but it will get to your core. This story will stay with me for a while. I can’t wait to read his other books, highly recommend this one !!
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was different! So sad. Well written. Sometimes hard to continue but also couldn't put it down. Three and 3/4 stars, rounded up to 4.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
No review; I have no words for this horrible little story.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good. Dark. Could have used a bit more character development on the front end
Elsbeth Magilton
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That book was... haunting? Comforting? I don't know, but it'll stick with me. Amazingly well crafted and I loved the shifting viewpoints.
Susan W
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young child is thought by his town to be causing death and illness among the people. Then while his brother and father run into a store both boys are taken along with the car. The parents are distraught, but the town wonders do we really want to find the young boy.
A modern day witch story? Well written, engaging plot line, will keep you reading till the end.
Thank you edelweiss for the early copy. Will promote.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right at the beginning of this story Michael McCray, a quiet, measured man, appears to be mulling something over and that maybe he should pack his family up into the Chevy Bel Air right there and then to move for a fresh start to some place new where things may be better for them. Instead he puts the boys in the truck and drives into town to buy ice creams to celebrate their mother, Kate, feeling unusually well that day. A decision he will come to regret.

I really enjoyed this southern gothic atm
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-tour
Continuing my streak of reading new-to-me authors this summer, I read John Burley's third novel for the TLC Book Tour stop for the psychological thriller The Quiet Child. Set in 1954 in small town Cottonwood, California, six-year-old Danny and ten-year-old Sean McCray are abducted by a stranger while their father science teacher Michael is in the grocery store. Rumors have swirled for years throughout town that the mute younger child Danny is poisonous to those around him--especially since their ...more
John Burley’s novel The Quiet Child asks some compelling questions: ‘How far would you go to protect the people you love?’ chief among them.

It’s 1954 in Cottonwood, California and high school Science teacher Michael McCray and his wife Kate had it all. Had being the operative word. Things have been different for them for a while now, ever since their younger son Danny was born six years ago. That’s when Kate started to get sick; now she is practically bedridden. The people of their small town st
Gloria Feit
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the publisher: It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople regard with superstition, who appears to bring illness and ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by a disease that is slowly consuming her. Sheriff Jim Kent, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy, has watched the people of his town suffer, and he worries ...more
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John Burley worked as a paramedic and firefighter before attending medical school in Chicago and completing an emergency medicine residency at University of Maryland Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. His debut novel, THE ABSENCE OF MERCY, received the National Black Ribbon Award, which recognizes a novelist who brings a fresh voice to suspense writing. His se ...more