In The Silence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

Thankyou to NetGalley,  Bloodhound Books and the author, M.R. Mackenzie, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of In The Silence in the exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
I thought this book was well written. There were plenty of twists to keep a crime enthusiast on the edge of their seat. I love when a book is unpredictable and this offering gave me that. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books from this author.
Well worth a read.
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Rounded up to 3 stars

The first part of the book - 3.5 stars, the second part of the book- 1.5 stars.

Anna, a criminology lecturer, returned to Glasgow from Rome, the first time in ten years. Very soon it became clear that something bad happened to her long ago that forced her to leaver her hometown and never looked back. It seemed she was doing well in forgetting and processing the events of the past days. It is why she came back to spend some nice days with her best friend Zoe. Only instead of a peaceful holiday Anna came into focus of a murder investigation.

I enjoyed the first part of the book, the setting of Glasgow, undiscovered secrets of Anna's past waiting for to discover, mysterious atmosphere of the investigation.

Unfortunately the second part of the book and the ending disappointed me. By all my understanding for Anna's traumatic experience I couldn't comprehend her transformation to a hysterical annoying character with a totally illogical behavior.
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I wanted to like this book because it was a murder mystery, and the background motive made sense to me. But alas I didn't, as most of the book didn't make sense to me.

Anna comes home to Glasgow for Zoe's birthday after 10 years and gets a chance meeting with her teen crush Andrew who disappears on her and soon she discovers his body in a park. Cops are called, she becomes a prime suspect and cops harass her, no idea why!! Soon other murders start happening and Anna decides to investigate - again no idea why!! Most of the dying characters utter a clue as their last word only to her, when they don't really know her, not to the cops - no idea why!! 

I hated the main character, she goes on rants about sexism, misogyny, and equality suddenly in the book. She hates the man yet leaps up on him to have sex and then gives us an explanation - again no idea why!! 

The plot was good but delivery failed for me due to Anna. She was a social criminologist with a PhD, but she doesn't use her knowledge in the investigation. She is so convinced of her righteousness most of the times that she verbally goes on an attack mode - no idea why!! Some aspects of mental health and abuse are written well. What triggered the murderer to go on a killing spree years later - no idea!! Damn, did I not feel dumb in this book!! 

All the characters except Anna speak in a local dialect which for me spoilt the fun. My brain kept rereading them to understand better. There are a lot of things which niggled me, but one irked me especially. The author wrote some lines with a finality that the characters would never meet again and after a few pages, they meet up. This happened twice - why write the goodbye in a deep philosophical sense when you are going to make the characters meet up - no idea why!!

Maybe this book was Glasgow specific and they would understand it better: the circumstances, the dialect, and the way their cops work. At one point, Anna was strip searched including body cavities and left naked. Don't cops see background, motives, forensics, alibi? Again no idea!! This book was not for me!!
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In The Silence by M R Mackenzie
A  good read , I thoroughly enjoyed the story . The story kept me fixed on what was happening and I had no idea of the finish.  First book I have read by this author.  Well recommend and give four stars .
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"The ones that say nothing are as guilty as the ones doing it."

Dr. Anna Scavolini returns to Glasgow, where she grew up, in mid-December to stay with her old best friend, Zoe, and Zoe's brother, Victor. She's been living in Rome for the past 10 years and hasn't been home since. Out celebrating Zoe's birthday, Anna runs into a man she had a mad crush on when they both were in school together. After a few drinks, he disappears, and Anna later discovers him dead in a nearby park. Murdered. And he's just the first victim. Anna gets caught up in her own investigation to find out why these particular persons are being killed and by whom. It happens that this might be a vendetta for something that happened during Anna's school days. NO SPOILERS.

Well, if you can apply a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief while Anna is playing at being Nancy Drew, and if you can get past the fact that the character of Anna is so terribly unlikeable with her pontifications, self-righteousness and holier than thou attitude toward everyone, and maybe if you can ignore how Anna acts and the ludicrous things she does, perhaps you will enjoy this debut novel. For the most part, I couldn't overcome all of those detractors and only read to the end to find out who the killer was. And it all made so little sense even then. I found the Glaswegian dialect inserted to be completely annoying because it was so hit and miss sprinkled around some of the characters and not others. The rest of the characters in the book were not very convincing and could be lumped into the stereotypical category of "bad" guys. I just could not buy into the story, feel any empathy, and got tired of all the soap box proselytism on the subject of consent and rape. And why did all this just happen to come to a head when Anna returns?

I did like the setting, the descriptions of the town and the climate made me feel COLD. Couldn't understand why Anna never seemed to eat or bathe or take her medication. It seemed at complete odds to her supposed level of education. I guess there was something within the pages that made me at least finish it, but I can't say that I found much to recommend this. That being said, I realize this is a first novel, I understand this is a man writing about a real hot spot of an issue of paramount importance to women, and I get that there's probably some sort of takeaway meant to be there. I think I missed it. I just never could buy into how Anna got herself so involved in the mess, her antipathy to the police, and her behavior.

That doesn't mean, however, that I won't read another book by this author. I do thank NetGalley and Bloodhound Books for an e-book ARC of this to read and review. I'm sorry I didn't find it a gripping crime thriller. And lastly, I wish someone would explain that Prologue to me.
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With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, Bloodhound for the book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was about Anna, who returns to Glasgow where she grew up after 10 years. She now lives and works in Italy as a criminalogist. She stays with Zoe who was her best friend when they were at school together.
Then the murders start after Anna and Zoe are on a night out together and Anna finds the body. Then more murders occur and Anna is determined that she will find the murderer.
It was an interesting read.
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In The Silence is a gripping thriller and overall one of the best written debut thriller novels I have read. 

Set in Glasgow, Scotland, Anna is a criminology lecturer, returning home from Rome after 10 years. While out partying with her best friend, Anna has a chance encounter with an old crush from her high school. Later that night tragedy strikes and soon Anna finds herself at the centre of a murder investigation. Soon we have a spree of similar murders with a suspected serial killer. Will Anna able to find a pattern among these killings and unmask the killer. As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in.

What I Liked : The story was fast moving with enough twists & turns which keeps you hooked. The masked serial killer theme reminiscent of the slasher films of the 90s (Scream, I know what you did last summer) felt really exciting. The setting of Glasgow, Scotland felt unique and the Glasgow’s cold and wintery landscape added to the dark atmosphere of the book. The dialogue and the characters were all well written and didn’t feel repetitive. Some of the characters speak in a Scottish dialect which i felt added to their characters (not too hard to understand either). The author also did a good job of creating tension, leaving clues and building up a series of suspects (all with a solid motive) which keep you guessing right till the end. 

What I Didn’t Like : The first half had too many things going on (incl a discussion on the criminal justice system) which distracted from the main story. The story gathers momentum in the second half. For a while, the story shifts to a second POV and after a few chapters, it is abandoned rather abruptly which was confusing.

Overall, In The Silence is an exciting read and a very solid debut novel. It had an intriguing plot with several good twists. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on the author’s future books.

Many Thanks to NetGalley and Bloodhound Books for the ARC.
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Returning home after a 10 years absense, criminology lecturer Anna Scavolini soon finds herself embroiled in the murder of high school friend, Andrew Foley. 

There are plenty of twists to go around in this debut novel from M.R. Mackenzie and he certainly shows a flair for the descriptive, painting a vivid picture of Glasgow and bringing life to the characters and the stories. His little flashes of humor brought some much needed relief (and reality!) to the darker themes.

In The Silence was well paced, even if a few plot points seemed a little out of place, but even when you’re fairly sure you know where the story is going, there are enough twists and turns to throw you off kilter. The powerful and shocking conclusion does not disappoint either.

Mr Mackenzie has put himself firmly on my “must watch” list.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bloodhound Books for the ARC!
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Anna hasn't set foot in Glasgow for ten years. And for very good reasons... When Anna, a criminology lecturer, does return to Glasgow from Rome, during the coldest winter in memory, tragedy strikes. While out with her best friend from school, Anna has a chance encounter with a former flame, Andrew, and later that night discovers Andrew stabbed and dying on a blanket of snow. Soon Anna finds herself at the centre of the investigation as the star witness for the police, and embarks on investigating the case herself. But Anna doesn't realise the danger she is in and soon finds herself in trouble. When another body shows up, who has links to the first victim, it appears that the motive may lie buried in the past. As Anna gets closer to the truth, the killer starts closing in. But can she solve the gruesome mystery before the killer strikes again?

What’s interesting about this novel is I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, not even Anna, everyone seemed a bit too full of themselves for my liking. But, I did want to know who the killer was.

All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable debut novel that has much promise for the future. Do yourself a favour, head over to Amazon and buy this book, you'll love it. The long winter nights are just around the corner and this will be perfect for them. Just don't have nightmares! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloodhound Books for an advance copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This book hooked me in at the beginning and I read it in two days.  I was convinced I knew how it would turn out and I was wrong - and I like when a book does that.   If you are looking for a quick and suspenseful read - give this one a whirl....
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The story begins with Anna arriving in Glasgow on a flight from Rome.  She was born in Glasgow and is en route to see school friend Zoe who is celebrating her birthday.

They meet at a club and despite the freezing weather, the scantily clad women are there for fun.  A glance from Anna towards the bar surprises her as she sees an ex-school friend, Andrew.  They chat for a while and then he leaves.  Unbeknown to him, Anna overhears a telephone conversation he makes on the phone.  Later that night, she comes across a man staggering in the park.  He collapses and she becomes the star witness to the murder of Andrew.

She is the chief suspect and the police interrogation is rigorous in intensity.  Another body turns up with links to Andrew.  

The killer is closing in and Anna's nightmare is just beginning.

A well thought out story with realistic characters.



I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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Some very skilful writing in this thriller and I loved the Glasgow setting and conversations. The book delivers murder, friendship, mental illness and a few quirky police officers! I didn't like the lead character of Anna but I really enjoyed the story and the perfect setting of my birth town. An exciting read. Thanks to Net Galley for my copy. Reviews on Amazon and Facebook.
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Oh boy, I was so hooked by this book, the story was intriguing and gripping, I found the book unputdownable!

I enjoyed how the characters interacted, the emotions and the good descriptive writing with the Scottish accent coming through, made it feel like I was there. Will be looking out for more books by this author.
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I really enjoyed this story it had just the right amount of detail to keep me interested and I thought the suspense built up as the book progressed was excellent.

The characters in the story are very well developed and I enjoyed their interaction.  The plot itself is well planned out and executed very well.  I was intrigued from the start and that interest kept me entertained and hooked right through to the end.

A solid four stars from me for this one – a really good debut!!
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I’m a huge fan of novels where the answer to the present lies in the past, so when Anna returns to Glasgow to stay with her best friend, Zoe, it doesn’t take long for her past to catch up with her, old wounds to reopen, and this book to grab my attention.

What’s interesting about this novel is I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, not even Anna, everyone seemed a bit too full of themselves for my liking. But, I did want to know who the killer was, so this novel’s success lies in its plot, rather than its characters, for me. The plot also threw up some great discussion on the criminal justice system in relation to a certain crime, and I enjoyed seeing the criminologist in Anna, as the blurb stating she was a criminology lecturer was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book, so I’m glad these elements of discussion were incorporated.

This novel also incorporated a strand focusing on mental health, I only wish this had been explored in more detail rather than just touched upon, as there was so much scope there to help the reader understand, and get to know, Anna. Although, the brief mention of it did go someway to explaining why Anna behaved in certain ways.

In The Silence is set in Glasgow, Scotland, and that is most noticeable in the abundance of Glaswegian featured in this novel. I do like the Scottish use of “cannae” and the more familiar dialect to non-Scots, but I did struggle with this dialect, in that there was so much of it. Now, I’m not sure if Zoe’s dialect is ‘typical’ or if the author maximised it to ensure the reader felt like they were in the heart of Glasgow, but it felt a bit much sometimes, a bit too full on.

What was just right, however, was Mackenzie’s ability to create a cold and wintery landscape, if I was Anna I’d be jet-setting back to Rome right away!

Regarding the mystery, it kept me guessing until the end! As Anna is heading up this investigation on her own, there’s always going to be moments when you disagree with her actions, or wonder why she didn’t tell somewhere where she was going, but it’s these moments that bring the danger, have you turning the page that little bit faster to see what’s to come.

In The Silence is a good debut novel that shows the promise for future novels. It may be more suited to those who enjoy dark themes written in a lighter tone, no graphic descriptions, minimal violence, no ‘hard-to-read’ moments; especially those who are particularly fond of the Glaswegian accent.
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I always enjoy a gritty crime novel, Bloodhound books have never let me down before so I was prepared to take a chance on this debut by M. R. Mackenzie. I will ignore the minor detail that linked him to Dario Argento, any fans will know what I mean & understand it reflects a great story!

The cover also sent a few shivers up my spine so we have some good credentials before hitting the actual story.  Right from the outset In the Silence was a real page turner, set in Glasgow added to the suspense, luckily I have friends from the area otherwise some of the vocabulary may have gone over my head, it’s raw, down to earth with a dark humour. See what I mean, already so many thing going for this book from a positive angle.

Anna, returns to her home town, she is a criminology lecturer who seems to keep her ‘work’ hat on all the time. From the start I felt a dislike to her and that didn’t really alter throughout, yes we are enlightened to some of her previous history physically and mentally but I still couldn’t quite put my finger on her attitude.

This is a steady paced count the bodies novel, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I enjoyed it and will certainly keep an eye open for what this author does next.

My thanks to the author, publisher, Netgalley and Sarah from Bloodhound for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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In The Silence has a blurb so enticing, I just had to read it, and author M. R. Mackenzie did not disappoint. 

Anna Scovalini has finally come home; a place she avoided for several years only to find herself involved in a murder case, up close and personal. At first she doesn't mean to get involved, but when she feels the police are taking things seriously enough curiosity gets the better of her and once she has a poke around for answers she uncovers much more than she bargained for, and inadvertently puts herself into trouble, too. 

Throughout this story I found myself intrigued by some of the serious issues discussed, from femicide, rape to gang mentality, and this was all played out by some great characterisation and an exciting plot, where the more I read the quicker the pace sped up until it reached the final reveal of who the killer actually was! 

I found the unravelling of the secret surrounding the reason why people were getting killed really enjoyable. Mix this with those paragraphs where there's a hooded figure tracking people down that literally sent shivers down my spine and made my blood run cold. Is that corny? Maybe. But true!  

A word on the dialect. For an East Anglian, born and bred, I thought the Scottish dialect was actually quite fun to read. When I tried the words out loud I actually could do a very good impression of a Glaswegian! On one hand I always find this a little distracting as it does take you out of the story as you're experimenting with how the words sound on your tongue, but on the other hand it was not full-on throughout the book, and I quickly got used to it.

Returning to characterisation, I loved how Anna (now a criminology lecturer living in Rome) and her best friend Zoe, (who like me has never left her home county) seem to have lives which are worlds apart, and when they get back together they're instantly best pals again. But under the stress of the investigation even Anna has to think twice about Zoe. 

What happened back in the past, that caused so many people in one town to have so many secrets? For me, uncovering the truth made this story for me. For a debut book, I'm exited to see what this author writes next! 

An intriguing, fast read that had me guessing who the killer was throughout, with a satisfying, final conclusion.
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I absolutely loved this book, I was hooked from the first chapter. I though Anna’s character was portrayed brilliantly. I lost a fair bit of sleep because I genuinely didn’t want to put this book down, it’s twists and turns like a rollercoaster of a ride. I am not a person who post spoilers, I know for a lot of readers once a spoiler as been posted. It does spoil any good book. I can honestly say this is a excellent read and I highly recommend you to read this book. ( you will be missing out if you don’t )
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A big thank you to Sarah Hardy and the publishers for issuing me with my review of the book and for inviting me to participate on the blog tour.

This is one of those books that really gets under your skin. I hadn’t read anything previously by this author but I will definitely be looking out for anything in the future as I really enjoyed this particular story.

Set in Glasgow we meet Anna who although was born here, left at the age of 18 and hasn’t been back since. On a night out with her childhood friend Zoe, she bumps into another school friend, Andrew and when later on in the evening she stumbles across him horribly injured, things take a horrible change for the worse.

The author has done a brilliant job with the storyline and keeps you hooked with just enough information to keep you guessing. Although we are led to believe it is a random killing, we soon begin to think something else is afoot when another body is discovered with links to Andrew AND Anna. Whilst this is going on Glasgow is experiencing horrible storm like weather which is perfect for the setting of the plot.

We begin to learn about Anna and also Andrew’s background which slowly explains what is happening whilst the subject is handled well and with sensitivity. I thought I had it figured out at some point but such was the author’s brilliant way of adding in some red herrings and plot twists, that I had got it completely wrong!

A really enjoyable thriller that I managed to read in record time!
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Dr Anna Scavolini has lived in Rome for the last ten years but is drawn by home to Glasgow by her friend Zoe for her birthday. Unpleasant memories begin to surface, especially when she comes across her former crush Andrew Foley at Zoe’s birthday party.
 
After an awkward conversation, Andrew disappears until she finds him later bleeding in a local park.  Anna is soon drawn into the police investigation as their only real witness, but she feels like she can’t trust the police.

Another victim turns up, someone she also went to school with. He gives her a strange message which leads to an incident in the past.

Anna doesn’t know who to trust and with her rapidly declining mental state, she’s putting herself in more danger than she knows.

So this is the author’s debut novel and wow what a way to start!  It’s an intense and gripping read which kept me guessing until the ending with some very good red herrings.

I do enjoyed a story that a member of the public puts on their detective hat and digging into a mystery! (I think secretly a lot of us would like to do that ourselves.)  Anna is not all that likeable, I feel she’s a little self absorbed and standoffish but when you find out her family history, the trauma she’s been through and her mental health issues, I warmed to her a little more.

The wintery setting of Glasgow and the use of the Scottish dialect added a little bit more authenticity to the story and although there were a few words I had to look up, I still really enjoyed reading it. 

In The Silence deals with quite a lot of sensitive issues, including sexual assault and how the victims of such crimes are treated, mental health and toxic masculinity. I think the author deals with them well and in a delicate manner but at times I did feel like I was being preached to a little, because I have seen over the years how bad it is for victims of sexual assault and how horribly the court system treats them. 

Also while I enjoyed the ending I did feel there was a few unanswered questions but that’s me just being a little fussy.

In The Silence is a powerful yet thoughtful mystery that raises a few moral questions along the way.
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