I don’t really remember buying this audiobook on Audible but I think it was one of the Daily Deals that sounded good. Or at least sounded like something that would be interesting. And I admit that it makes me something of a hypocrite. How many times have I declared that I’m finished giving psychological thrillers another chance? Possibly thousands. Yet, I continually get sucked in by them. I’m a mug who always ends up annoyed that she’s just finished another stupid book. So, I went into this never expecting it to be good but to be something that would be an easy listen. To be fair, it was a pretty easy read. I didn’t do a great deal of reading last weekend so I wasn’t sure that I’d finish this in time. But I managed it. I regretted it horribly but I managed it.
What would you do if your daughter was accused of murder? That’s the situation that sisters Juliet and Chloe face when their daughters get mixed up in a terrible crime. Maddy and Brianna are the major suspects in a vicious attack on an elderly woman who ended up dying from her injuries. The police suspect that the cousins broke into the woman’s house and beat her up but the girls aren’t saying anything. Neither Juliet or Chloe can believe that their daughter is responsible but, as the families wait to hear anything more, the tension starts to mount and old secrets bubble to the surface. When Brianna tells the police that it was Maddy’s fault, Chloe has no trouble accepting it as truth. Juliet, on the other hand, cannot believe that her sweet and kind daughter could be capable of such an act.
I was interested in the fact that The Silent Ones centred on possible child offenders because it is something that people tend to avoid thinking about. It’s uncomfortable to imagine innocent young people being capable of such vicious and deadly actions. It doesn’t fit with our idea of humanity yet we regularly see children who have been guilty of heinous crimes. I thought that The Silent Ones could be an interesting and psychological look at what pushes them to do it. Unfortunately, it isn’t either of those things. Instead, it is a very flimsy thriller that fails to thrill or surprise. There are a couple of twists within this novel and neither one of them is very difficult to work out. In fact, the one involving Juliet and Chloe’s childhood is so ridiculously signposted that it made me angry.
The problem is, The Silent Ones thinks that it’s being really clever but it’s just doing what so many writers have done before. Slater is focusing so much on one thing that it becomes painfully obvious that we’re meant to be looking elsewhere. There’s no subtlety here. There’s also nothing about the main narrative that makes it possible to believe it. It’s like the novel can’t even be bothered to give it the weight it needs to convince you and if the book doesn’t believe it then why should I? It would just be nice if the actual story was either plausible or engaging. Instead, a character that we know nothing about turns out to have a very significant history. It’s stupid and lazy.
Which wouldn’t be as much of a problem is the rest of the book hadn’t dragged on and on and on. The first day of the investigation goes on for so long and most of that is spent with the girls in silence. During that time the novel switches between the perspectives of each sister and flashbacks to an incident that happened when they were kids. The chapters are short and end on stupid and completely see-through cliffhangers. It’s the Dan Brown school of writing. Create a mystery at every stage and keep the story going with insignificant details. Frankly, I found this book boring. I’m all for a dragged out police investigation but this book doesn’t even do that. It’s just family melodrama but not even remotely believable family melodrama. All of these characters of caricatures and don’t feel real. The mother and sister are straight out of Cinderella. The father is a wimp. The husband and children are so thinly drawn they might as well not be there. And Juliet? God, she’s the stupidest human being on the planet.
The problem that we continue to see with psychological thrillers is that writers keep trying to outdo each other. The Silent Ones is a prime example of that. This is something that was written to be outrageous and shocking. Unfortunately, the story is unoriginal and the quality of the writing isn’t that great. It all works together to give something that adds nothing to this genre. With every new release, the already oversaturated genre is diluted with more nonsense. It’s time writers realise that these types of stories are never as good as they think they are.