Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh's Reviews > The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
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really liked it
bookshelves: mystery, suspense, 2012, realistic-fiction, reviewed, debut
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover
Recommended for: Fans of suspense / mysteries with a preference for non-graphic content

The Weight of Silence –I was drawn by the fabulous title. Keeping secrets is a coping skill we've all used, when taken to the extreme it can be deadly. Silence is this novel’s binding theme, hammered home by her choice to have the main character Calli a selective mute; a theme that lifts it above the slew of other child abduction stories currently on the market.
Calli and her best friend Petra go missing in the middle of the night. The suspicion is kidnapping, her alcoholic father the prime suspect; we follow the families in their search for the missing children. Gudenkauf adopts the current trend of telling a story through several points of view, a style she handles with refreshing cohesiveness. She builds strong, multi-faceted characters then ratchet’s the tension between them to high. Calli a surprisingly resilient little survivor; Ben struck a personal cord, the older protective brother every little girl wants - I lucked out and had one. It’s got a swift moving plot and thwarted love thrown in for good measure. Child abuse is an element, but the reader is spared the graphic details.
Negatives: Fairly predictable outcome and kinda clunky dialog. What bugged me most was the police investigation, incompetent to the point of silliness.(view spoiler)

3 ½ stars for a solid debut. This is finely crafted suspense, my preference over graphic thrillers and motivation to read more of her books. Kept me up half the night anyway. Footnote: As a child the author was hearing impaired, personal experience with the weight of silence. Explains the empathy breathed into Calli's character.

“I ate my words that day. Actually bit down, chewed them, swallowed them and felt them slide down my throat like glass until they were so broken and damaged that there was no possible way that the words could rearrange and repair themselves enough to be spoken”.
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Reading Progress

July 30, 2012 – Shelved
December 16, 2012 – Started Reading
December 23, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Jennifer How are you liking it so far?


Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Haven't started it yet - taking a little breather from fiction - reading Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
But I'm looking forward to it, it's definitely next. How about you?


Jennifer I picked it up to get a little preview of it the last week of November. I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed it. I have placed a hold on her two other books at the library. I am hoping they come in for the Christmas holidays.


message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Carter Good review! This is the first book i have read by this author & i did enjoy it. I cant really go into specifics because i read it earlier on in the year but it stayed with me enough to remember to give this author another go at some point!


message 5: by Jennifer (last edited Dec 27, 2012 02:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer Great review. Like you, I was annoyed by some aspects of the police investigation, including the concern mentioned in your review. I was also surprised that they didn't analyze family, friends, and acquaintances to see if there was a person in common with the previous child abduction case.


Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Thanks so much Kim! I'm going to read These Things Hidden next - but it's currently Hidden under a pile of other books I want to read... I know, corny:)


message 7: by Agnes (new)

Agnes Houston This sounds pretty good Florence. Think I'd like it?


Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Jennifer wrote: "Great review. Like you, I was annoyed by some aspects of the police investigation, including the concern mentioned in your review. I was also surprised that they didn't analyze family, friends, a..."

Thanks Jennifer, appreciate it. I agreed with your review, she's wonderful at character development. She did fail with details on the crime investigation. Interesting you caught that too.(view spoiler) I think Heather needs to watch some CSI:) All in all though, I really enjoyed it.


Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Agnes wrote: "This sounds pretty good Florence. Think I'd like it?"

Yeh, probably you would Agnes, though it might not be gory enough for you...


message 10: by Florence (Lefty) (last edited May 14, 2013 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Theresa wrote: "Interesting Florence, that the author was hearing impaired as a child. I remember I couldn't put this one down long enough to get a good night's sleep. I like your review!"

Yeh, she wore hearing aides as a little girl, had trouble fitting in, escaped into books. Guess what, I stole the idea of reading this book in the 1st place off of you (was snooping your shelves looking for mystery / suspense books) See you've got These Things Hidden on your to-read shelf. It looks good, I'm going to read it as well:)


message 11: by Arah-Lynda (last edited Aug 28, 2013 02:42PM) (new)

Arah-Lynda You are so right. Keeping secrets is a coping mechanism we can all relate too. I have read These Things Hidden and found it be be fairly predictable as well. Interesting note on the author, that I for one, was unaware of.


Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Arah-Lynda wrote: "You are so right. Keeping secrets is a coping mechanism we can all relate too. I have read These Things Hidden and found it be be fairly predictable as well. Interesting note on the author, that..."

Had hoped her future books a bit less predictable - cutting her slack with her debut...Still will read another of hers, good escapism.


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