The Silent House by Nell Pattison

I received a copy of The Silent House via Netgalley. The decision to read was my own, and this review forms my honest opinion.

Blurb

If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?

Review

As a child, aged around 4 or 5 I contracted mumps despite having had the MMR vaccination. I remember sitting with my Mum one morning having my hair done for school and being unable to hear the radio which was to my right hand side. I kept asking for it to be turned up, much my Mum’s annoyance – she was always very concerned about keeping the noise down so as not to disturb the neighbours. Over the next few days it became apparent that the mumps infection had caused hearing loss in my right ear. It was temporary, although it took several years for it to return to what it was. I don’t remember much about the day to day now, as I quickly adapted and learned to live with things, but I strongly recall in that moment being frightened and disoriented by losing half of my hearing.

This was one of the reasons that I was drawn to this book. The idea of someone being in your home, committing the most atrocious of crimes under your roof – all whilst being unable to hear is truly terrifying.

What this book does so well is to take what we do know and flip it. Things that hearing people take for granted and think nothing of, suddenly have a spotlight shone on them as the author throws the doors open to the Deaf community. It’s fascinating too, to look at life from an entirely different perspective. The very idea that we wouldn’t be able to hear someone in our homes is horrifying. But it’s also eye opening in that the book delves into the everyday lives of people who are deaf, and things that those of us who can hear take for granted – for example, hearing a telephone ring, or a knock at the door – and the measures that are put in place to overcome these simple everyday challenges.

Paige Northwood is a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter called in by Humberside Police to manage communications following the brutal murder of eighteen month old Lexi Hunter. Despite her connections to the case, Paige continues in her role and soon finds herself a little too close to the investigation.

I’d like to say a hurrah, because this book is set in my home county of North Lincolnshire. Finally, the potential has been seen in Scunthorpe for being the perfect location for a dark, crime thriller! For me, this added an extra layer of realism to proceedings as it gave me the ability to feel as if I were beside Paige, as with only a few words I was able to hone in on exactly where the author was describing.

It does deal with a heinous subject – the murder of a very young child – and at times it was incredibly upsetting to read, however I was grateful to the author that these segments, whilst they were impactful, were not overwritten. The balance erred very much on the side of the solving of the crime and Paige’s own involvement with the case and her subsequent investigations.

An assured, well written debut that had me utterly immersed, desperate to reach it’s conclusion. I will be making room in my reading diary in late October for the next novel in the series, Silent Night.

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