Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Helen Fields’ latest Crime novel, ‘Perfect Silence’. I was lucky enough to take part in the blog tour for this book, which you can find here – thanks so much to Avon for the opportunity! I’ve been following this series from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the latest instalment! You can find my reviews of ‘Perfect Prey’ here and ‘Perfect Death’ here. Keep reading to discover my thoughts…
When silence falls, who will hear their cries?
The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.
After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Contains explicit references to very physically violent crimes, including gruesome details about the murders and thorough examinations of the deceased bodies. Also includes explicit references to sexual abuse, including scenes of rape. Explores the themes of prostitution and pimping. Also explores extremist religious views and various types of discrimination.
‘Perfect Silence’ (23rd August 2018) is the fourth book in the DI Callanach series, following on from ‘Perfect Remains’ (January 2017), ‘Perfect Prey’ (July 2017) and ‘Perfect Death’ (January 2018). Helen Fields studied Law at university and practised law for a number of years, before going on to run a film production company. She then moved towards writing as a profession.
The series has received rave reviews, from the likes of Closer: “Must read! With nail-biting twists at every turn, [Perfect Remains] will have readers gripped from start to finish”, Woman’s Way Magazine: “Without doubt, this is one of the best first detective series I have read” and Saga Magazine: “Genuinely chilling.” Many fellow authors have also enjoyed the series, such as Paul Finch: “A fast and enthralling thriller” and Chris Brookmyre: “Relentless pace, devilish cleverness and a laser-sharp focus on plot.”
‘Perfect Silence’ opens with the death of Zoey, who has had the outline of a doll carved into her skin. This bizarre murder leaves D.C.I Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach stumped, until a doll made of human skin is found days later. The detectives must work hard to identify a pattern of the killings – and most importantly, why are they being targeted?
The narrative is told in the third-person throughout, with different sections/chapters focusing on different characters. The reader is able to gain an insight to not only the detectives’ investigation, but also the victims’ last thoughts and the acts of the killings. The narrative method is objective and distanced, but is also up-close and personal when it needs to be.
The two main characters in the novel are D.C.I Ava Turner and D.I. Luc Callanach. Although we are given some insight to the detectives’ personal lives, I felt that this novel was much more focused on how the detectives worked together to solve the case. I much appreciated this, as I felt that earlier in the series, especially with the previous book ‘Perfect Death’, we were given information about the detectives’ personal lives which proved insignificant to the plot as a whole. The detectives’ relationship blossoms, and they become much better at working together. But will they catch the killer, before it’s too late?
Other characters in the novel include: the victims and the victims’ families (who all suffer greatly at the loss of their loved ones), fellow detectives including D.I Salter and the superintendent Overbeck, the homeless community, students at a local school and members of an extremist religious group. There are many characters who are interviewed and linked to the murders in some way, making for a large cast of characters within the novel. But of course, all are very important and needed in order to solve the case.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) Contains repeated explicit references to gruesome murders and the suffering that the victims endured. The novel discusses these crimes in detail and the reader is given the details from the thorough examinations of the deceased bodies. The novel also addresses the issue of sexual abuse, including very distressing and disturbing scenes of rape. The theme of prostitution and pimping is explored in great detail, and the ethics of these lifestyle choices are put up for discussion. Finally, the novel also explores extremist religious views and discrimination towards certain types of people, including discrimination towards people of colour and women. All of these issues are dealt with sensitively and with appropriate detail, but if any of these issues may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.
As the narrative motors on, more and more murders are committed, and the detectives must work around the clock to attempt to solve them. A curveball is thrown into the mix and the detectives are left wondering what the killer is trying to achieve, and why these victims are being targeted. Will they catch the killer, or will the killer get away with their crimes?
So, let’s talk about the ending. There’s a dramatic end scene that is jam-packed full of action and drama. I physically couldn’t put the book down! The truth about the crimes is revealed, and the detectives must put their lives on the line to save an innocent victim. And just when they think it’s all over, there’s another twist thrown in! The end is absolutely fantastic, and I was really pleased with the way the book was resolved.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy Crime Fiction and have a strong stomach. This book does discuss some difficult themes, and there’s an awful lot jam-packed into it – my only criticism would be that there is a lot going on, and the book may have perhaps been stronger if Fields had chosen to focus on only a couple of these issues. But having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!
Happy reading 🙂