The Silence

Morrow. May 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780062983558. $27.99. SUSPENSE
DEBUT London 1997: Isla Green hasn’t been home to Australia in ten years, but a phone call from her father, Joe, makes her return inevitable. The police are searching for a missing woman, a former neighbor of Isla’s parents. Joe is supposedly the last person to have seen her alive and is now a suspect in her murder. Sydney 1967: Mandy says she will give up smoking. She also says she loves her husband, Steve, and wants a baby. But Mandy is a liar. Her unhappiness is accentuated by living next door to Louisa Green, who seems to have everything. Mandy is undeniably drawn to the Greens but soon discovers that her place in their lives is more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. This tumultuous story of two couples contains subplots of alcoholism, domestic violence, and the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children.
VERDICT Newcomer Allott does a solid job of establishing a vivid sense of place. The mystery behind Mandy’s disappearance is appealing at first, but the unveiling of the puzzle doesn’t allow the plot to quite reach its potential. A supplemental book for mystery collections. [See Prepub Alert, 11/25/19.]

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