The Weight of Silence

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In her examination of love, friendship, and family, Heather Gudenkauf provides the reading with a decent mystery, some suspense, and a lot of strong characters.  The Weight of Silence is a mystery wrapped in a family story, with a side of unrequited love thrown in.

While there are many characters, each given their own chapters, the story starts with Calli, a seven year old elective mute.  Her alcoholic father drags her into the woods early one morning, saying he is taking her to her "real" father's house.  Her mother, Antonia, asleep in the house, has no idea that she is gone.  Enter Martin, father of Calli's  best friend Petra, who is also missing.  They soon contact Deputy Sheriff Louis, an old flame of Antonia's and the man that her husband Griff believes is Calli's "real" father.  As the frantic search for the girls begins, the story of these adults and how their lives intersect unfolds.

As mysteries go this one is OK-I figured out who took Petra pretty early on.  There were just too many references to a seemingly tangential character for it to be coincidence.  But what kept me hooked was the backstory of the adults.  Gudenkauf revealed just enough in each of her chapters, each told from a different point of view, to keep you wanting to know more.  While Calli's elective mutism doesn't seem entirely believable, it does provide the story with some suspense, as you wait to see if and when she will speak.  All in all this was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of days.

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