Silent All These Years
by T. A. Massa
Length: 203 Pages
Release date: September 11, 2018
A broken daughter’s search for the truth unwinds a spiraling journey of panic, lust, and murder in this manipulative thriller from debut author T. A. Massa.
Melanie Stewart has just been left ten million dollars by a man she never knew. Should she accept the money? What if it means her mother, Marilyn, who died when she was only three years old, was murdered by the man who left it to her?
Melanie is trapped with crippling anxiety after the loss of her mother at a young age and the fatal stabbing of her fiancé on the night of their engagement.
When she discovers she has been written into the will of Roger Andrews, a name linked to the mysterious death of her mother, Melanie must trudge down a path of buried memories, reliving painful heartache, all while attempting to restart her life and trust a new admirer.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Melanie’s investigation and Marilyn’s last weeks leading up to her death, the clues unravel one by one, leaving you guessing until the final climax. Who should Melanie trust? What happened to Marilyn all those years ago?
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to T. A. Massa. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the author.
Silent All These Years has one of my biggest pet peeves for a thriller: the whole plot depends on the protagonist being ridiculously, unbearably gullible. The villain is painfully obvious from the moment they appear in the story, and Melanie ignores red flag after giant, waving red flag as she walks blissfully into danger. When the threat is so obvious (not just from the reader’s perspective, mind you, but when there are countless things that should truly give the protagonist pause) and the protagonist remains so oblivious, it becomes difficult to get invested in the character.
You know that moment in a bad horror movie where the person being chased runs up the stairs instead of out of the house to call for help? That’s what this whole book felt like this for me. What are you doing, Melanie? What is going through your head? Do you want to get murdered, Melanie? Because this is how you get murdered .
I also had a difficult time empathizing with the trauma that has left Melanie with PTSD, mainly because the deceased fiancé never feels like a fleshed-out character. There are a few sparse flashbacks to when Nathan was alive in Melanie’s chapters, but never enough to give the reader any kind of an idea who he was as a person. Nathan exists in the story solely as a means to explain Melanie’s fragile state. The problem is that without a clear picture of Nathan and his relationship with Melanie, it feels very hollow. The readers are not made to feel Melanie’s pain, we are simply told that she is in pain.
I did enjoy some of the chapters which were written from Melanie’s mother’s perspective, however. Marilyn’s love for her daughter is palpable and tender. Her last days aren’t spent mourning her own impeding death, but the realization that she won’t be there for her young daughter anymore.
The story is fast-paced and does have some unexpected twists in regards to the mystery of the mother’s death. Fans of Riley Sager or Mary Kubika may find this an entertaining read.
Thank you for reading! Have you read Silent All These Years? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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