Tag Archives: Colette McBeth

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

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An Act of Silence opens with former Home Secretary, Linda Moscow, being awoken in the early hours by her son, Gabriel, who has been asked to report to the police later that day.  The police have questions over his suspected involvement in the death of Mariela – a young woman who went home with Gabriel, and whose body was later found in an allotment near his house.

He pleads his innocence to Linda, but she isn’t entirely convinced and, following a misunderstanding, he runs out.

Linda may have retired from politics but she still has some influence.  The question is, should she help him?

When I started An Act of Silence, I was expecting something fairly run of the mill.  It starts with a dead body, and the question over Gabriel’s guilt – did he do it, or is he telling the truth when he denies his involvement?  Will his mother stand by him, is she right in whatever path she chooses?  You know the sort.  But, about a third of the way in, there’s a twist, and it made this novel a stand out in the genre.

In terms of the structure, An Act of Silence may come across at times as being a little disjointed, as it touches on multiple perspective and jumps around in time with flashbacks to Gabriel’s childhood, events in Linda’s career, and in her time since she left the world of politics, as well as other key moments that are relevant to the plot.  Whilst in some novels this can be confusing, I thought that it worked brilliantly here, as much of what goes on needs the historical context, and everything became clear by the end.  There are also instances in which the reader sees the same event from multiple perspectives.  This can sometimes be a little repetitive, but again, it’s handled so well here, and there were times when it changed my perception of what had really been going on in an event that I’d already considered to have understood.

No one is good or evil.

McBeth’s characterisation is also spot on, with a few rotten eggs, but the majority of characters being neither wholly good or bad – they’re just people, trying to get through their respective situations.  And even the bad guys do good things occasionally, even if their reasons aren’t always admirable.  I found that I couldn’t fully sympathise with Linda, although this wasn’t an issue for me in terms of enjoying the novel.  Linda is a former Tory politician who resigned following a scandal, and has since become something of a recluse.  It was clear that the situation she finds herself in is at least partly down to her own actions, and I did judge her for it.  It made for a great story though, and I liked how all of the little details all came together at the end – even those that seemed almost irrelevant at the time.

It’s worth noting that An Act of Silence touches on some darker themes.  I found these to be sensitively handled, and whilst there is no ambiguity as to what is happening, there is also nothing gratuitous in the descriptions either.

An Act of Silence is both brilliantly written and expertly plotted, and has that “just one more chapter” feel to it.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of psychological thrillers.

An Act of Silence was published on 29 June by Wildfire.  Many thanks to the team at Headline for the review copy, which I picked up at their Blogger Evening earlier this year.

Rating: ★★★★★

Headline Blogger Night 2017

On Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend a blogger night hosted by Headline at Carmelite House on Victoria Embankment in London.  This was my second visit to the wonderful sixth floor of Carmelite House with it’s famous (amongst the blogging world at least) rooftop terrace, although the doors to the terrace were kept firmly shut due to the miserable weather.

I’m always quite nervous about attending these kinds of events – I often find it difficult to initiate a conversation with people I don’t know, and I don’t like inviting myself into a group, which is often the best way to start talking to people.

I needn’t have worried, however – the Headline team were extremely welcoming, and ushered people around to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to meet the authors in attendance.  Additionally, book bloggers are a lovely bunch of people, and I don’t think that anyone was left standing on their own for very long 🙂

I was absolutely delighted to meet Felicia Yap, who’s novel Yesterday will be published in August.  I picked up a sampler for this novel, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am.  I’m more than willing to beg for a proof of this when they become available!  And isn’t this cover glorious!?

yesterday

I also enjoyed meeting Gemma Todd, whose novel Defender I’m extremely excited about – it sounds very much like my kind of thing – as well as Colette McBeth, Nikola Scott, Mary Torjussen and Julia Crouch.

As well as the wonderful company, wine and nibbles, there were plenty of books available.  I felt that I showed considerable restraint in only picking up four titles (plus the one in the goodie bag!) – I was tempted to take more, but was conscious of the fact that I’d have to carry them back to the train.  Note to self – take a backpack next time.  Tote bags are great, but loading up on weighty tomes just gives you a bad shoulder, particularly when you have to run for your train!


These are the books that I picked up:

Defender by G. X. Todd

the-defender

In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.

The moment locks them together.

Here and now it’s dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.

These voices have purpose.

And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.


The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

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The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold.  Now its streets are stalked by wolves.  Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip.  Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out.  Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war.  For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall…


An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth

an-act-of-silence

These are the facts I collect.

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar.  She went home with him where they had sex.  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: loving mother to Gabriel.  Linda promised herself years ago that she would never let her son down again.  Even if it means going against everything she believes in – she will do anything to protect him.  She owes him that much.

Gabriel Miller: the prodigal son.  He only ever wanted his mother’s love, but growing up he always seemed to do the wrong thing.  If his mother could only see the bad in him – how could he possibly be good?

How far will a mother go to save her son?  Linda’s decision might save Gabriel, but it will have a catastrophic impact on the lives of others.  What would you do if faced with the same impossible choice?


Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

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You leave for work one morning.  Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.  His belongings have disappeared.  He hasn’t been at work for weeks.  It’s as if he never existed.

But that’s not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.  Because just as you are searching for him, someone is also watching you.


As well as providing a selection of books for bloggers (and authors!) to help themselves to, goodie bags were also available containing some wonderful little treats, as well as another book!

Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti

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When Anna’s partner walks away from their relationship, she is shattered.  But it is her little girl Ava who takes it hardest of all.  The six-year-old falls silent for three days.  When she does speak, her words are troubling.  Ava wants to go home.  To a place called Seal.  To her other mother.

Anna knows to unravel the mystery she must find Seal and take Ava there.  She hopes this tiny island will unlock her daughter’s memories.  But could it also offer a new life… and unexpected love… for Anna too?


Many thanks to Georgina Moore, Millie Seaward and the rest of the Headline crew for hosting such a lovely event.