Book Review: An Act of Silence, by Colette McBeth

Publisher:  Wildfire Books

Publication date:  26th June 2017

An Act of Silence picks at the scars of the past leaving them forever unhealed, as facts are creatively twisted to provide a sickening substitute for the truth.

The headline of “comic arrested on suspicion of murder” is no laughing matter. Multiple narrators step in and out of recurrent past and present time periods to raise their voices from an orchestrated hush to an almighty roar. They are each painted as wholly unreliable and their dependability remains cleverly disguised in plain sight throughout.

The story takes an outrageous turn when this funny man’s latest celebrity scandal bleeds into his mother’s disgraced political career and the most despicable of monsters groom dispirited residents of children’s home with the lure of fame and the wrong kind of attention.

I suspected the worst in people, questioned every motive, and sat a little further forward in my seat as their vulnerabilities were exposed wondering whether integrity would ever raise its head as the traumatising nature of the deception intensified.

Clever narration is applied too, allowing each of the characters to appear in a first person spotlight and crumble under its scrutiny. They are forever giving their secrets away, yet always holding just a little something back. Even though they each tell their own version of the same event I was left wondering if their judgement was overshadowed by what they had to lose.

An Act of Silence skilfully highlights just how easily someone from any walk of life can be betrayed in the worst ways imaginable. But how far these individuals would go to protect themselves can be very unpredictable for vastly different reasons. It dares to reveal the darkest side of a system that is meant to shelter, leaving the defenceless unguarded, their voices unheard. As overwhelming misery and discouragement invade, getting someone to believe your story is one thing, the price of justice is quite another.

Not an especially quick read for me was this one, but I do think that’s due to me taking a little while to settle into the ‘revolving door’ time switches. While it’s not a complicated plot to follow, personally I found this a little distracting. Nevertheless this author has created a suspense-filled, cracking plot as An Act of Silence is an absorbing, multi-layered story where the distinction between a morally good or bad decision can only be determined by its consequences.

Rating:  4/5

(My thanks to Millie Seaward and Wildfire Books for providing an early proof copy of this title. It was a pleasure to read and provide this unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

A powerful psychological thriller about a mother faced with an impossible choice, and the consequences of her decision for years to come. Perfect for fans of APPLE TREE YARD, DISCLAIMER, and television dramas STATE OF PLAY and NATIONAL TREASURE.

These are the facts I collect. 

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.

Mariela is dead.

Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning. 

Linda Moscow loves her son; it’s her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she’s not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?

She’s done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.

Now, the past is catching up with them. As old secrets resurface, Linda is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line…

BUY THE BOOK

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Colette McBeth had the idea for her first novel Precious Thing in 1998. Instead of writing it she went to work for the BBC where she spent 10 years as TV reporter. In 2011 she enrolled on the Faber Academy Novel Writing course and completed Precious Thing in 2012. She lives in West London with her husband and three children.

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