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'The Silence of Murder'

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[June 06, 2012]  "The Silence of Murder," by Dandi Daley Mackall, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, 323 pages, young adult

Review by
Louella Moreland

Dandi Daley Mackall has served up a delicious, spine-tingling murder mystery for young adults that will keep readers turning the pages quickly and leaving the lights on if they are home alone. "The Silence of Murder" has all the ingredients needed to stir the imagination of teens as they wander through the quagmire murder of a favorite baseball coach just before the big game of the summer.

Accused of the crime is a 19-year-old mute boy, Jeremy, whom the coach had taken under his wing, paying him to work at his stable. Coach Johnson had even given him a team jersey and special wooden bat that Jeremy carried with him to the games. So when Jeremy is seen running from the scene of the crime with a bloody bat in his hand, the sheriff quickly arrests Jeremy as the murder suspect. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.

Jeremy's mother and lawyer decide on an insanity plea, hoping that Jeremy's autism will supply enough background that the jury will send him to a mental hospital instead of prison. However, Jeremy's sister, Hope, knows that her gentle brother could never have committed such a heinous crime against a man he loved dearly. Regardless of the evidence before the court, she sets out to prove "reasonable doubt," believing that the coach's wife is the one responsible. Helping her is T.J., her only friend in town, and an unlikely new friend, Chase, the sheriff's son.

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Mackall weaves into the story Hope's crush on Chase, spicing it up with the nomadic lifestyle she has led with her abusive, alcoholic mother and a stalker who does not want Hope to investigate further. Hope is attractive, but once people get to know her family when they move into a new town, she soon becomes an outcast. She seems unsure why they have ended up back in the town where her mother grew up, but the reader may see the reason long before Hope discovers it.

Clues and dead ends are sprinkled generously throughout the novel, leading to the revelation of the real murderer. Even so, this is a delicious read, a satisfying story and an ending that leaves the reader sated. While the murder is gruesome, the tale is light enough for the younger adults (or those with a sensitive stomach) to handle.

For this novel or other delightful mysteries, see us at Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St. We have quite a few to entice your interest.

[Text from file received from Louella Moreland, Lincoln Public Library District]

(Ms. Lou's blog:

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