As part of her blog tour I review Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell, who has previously written a number of riveting thrillers. As such, I had high expectations for her latest novel, and I was not disappointed.
The novel centres on Emma, a loving wife with a young son, and the secret she has been keeping for years. She has been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen, which is buried in a shallow grave in the garden she now shares with her family.
Things get shaken up early on in the novel when Emma’s husband Alex decides to accept a promotion and relocate the family. Moving from a house that he never felt at home in to help further his career seems ideal for him, but for Emma it is nerve racking, and when she returns to find her secret has been uncovered she panics.
In her fright she shares her burden with Alex. Her new husband is initially incredibly supportive, however as the narrative reveals new truths about Emma and the secrets she has kept hidden over the years his resolve is tested as the couple’s idyllic life starts to fall apart.
Dancing between perspectives the first person narrative provides an intriguing insight into the characters; the world weary and tightly wound Emma, the conniving Luke and the stalwart Alex. Traipsing from past to present we see how their lives intersect and the driving forces behind the abominable crime which binds them together and changes their lives, or ends them.
Secrets and how far people will go to protect them are the heart of this gripping thriller, and Mitchell, a former police officer, shows a vast understanding of the human condition as she chaperones her readers through this tangled web of deception and betrayal to a nail-biting ending.
At the end of the day this is a strong thriller with an inventive premise and a cast of engaging characters whose innovative narrative drives the novel to its climatic conclusion.