In The Silence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

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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Wow, this is a debut! Seriously! As I mentioned in a previous post, I am seeming to be reading a lot of thrillers lately, and just to add to it, a lot are set in Scotland! Man, I really need to get my butt up there and do an author walkabout!! A big plus for me in this book is yay there is a Zoe in the book lol.

The story has brought Anna home, back in Glasgow, somewhere she has avoided being for quite a few years. She is back from her best friend Zoe’s birthday. Whilst in the bar, Anna bumps into Andrew an old school friend, they spend the evening chatting. I was expecting them to go home together and have some adult time, however, this was not to be. Instead, Anna discovers the gruesome dead body of Andrew in a park and thrusting her into the limelight of the investigation. 

I must admit I loved reading the characters speak with the Scottish dialect, and in my head, I tried to get the accent to the tee! Luckily I was not doing this out loud! Not sure my Scottish friends would appreciate my poor attempt. The writing and passion of the author is evident and the imagery is so vivid I felt like I could have been stalking the streets of Glasgow, something I may have to do. 

I may be biased but Zoe was my favourite character, she was brash and funny, not one to mince her words. Had me wondering if the author had met me or something! The intensity of the story does not relent, so the humour in the book was well received in this dark and twisty book.

This book IS a fast-paced thrilling ride, that does not let you go until the final pages. There are many twists and turns, I mean why does the killer keep closing in on Anna, what is the link? Well sorry, I am not going to tell you that! You need to read it to find out!
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A killer is stalking the streets of Glasgow in the depths of winter, in the run up to the festive season, and they are ticking off their victims, one by one; is there a connection between them or are they striking people at random? This is M.R. Mackenzie’s debut novel, and I was really impressed. It is a gritty and dark debut thriller, and the time of year that the author chose to set the book was perfect for creating that menacing and eerie atmosphere which he certainly did. 

Anna has recently returned to her home city after spending ten years in Rome. It has been a while since she has seen her old friend Zoe, and on her first night back they hit the clubs to celebrate Zoe’s birthday. But things soon take a disturbing turn when the body of a man who Anna knows, who she saw at the club the night before he died, is found. Anna soon becomes a suspect in the eye of the police who are working on the case and to help prove her innocence, Anna decides to investigate what has happened herself. 

What I loved most about the book was its setting. Although I have never been to Glasgow, I thought that M.R. Mackenzie captured a strong sense of what some parts of the city must be like, especially the clubs and the people who go there. I got the sense that the killer could be lurking in every corner, waiting for their turn to strike again. As Anna became further involved in the case, I feared what was going to happen to her, particularly as the police seemed to take a dislike towards her and appeared intent on making her life difficult. I was appalled at the treatment Anna was receiving, but this made me keen to read on as I wanted to find out what was going to happen to her and if the killer was going to get away with their crimes. She is a captivating character, and I felt that I could root for her from the beginning.

M.R. Mackenzie slowly reveals details about Anna’s past, and there were some revelations which were shocking. She is a character who you will become invested in as the plot develops. One of my favourite aspects of the novel was her friendship with Zoe, she is the more domineering of the two, but I really liked her sense of humour, and she did add some lightness to the book. 

This was a debut that I thought was really engaging. There was a part of the novel at the end which took me completely by surprise, I could see where the plot was going but I was shocked at how everything unfolded, it does make for a powerful ending. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on what M.R. Mackenzie writes next. Thank you to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Bloodhound Books for the advance review copy.
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I chose to read MacKenzie’s debut novel “In the Silence” because I was intrigued with the idea of a an academic criminal sociologist who is ensnared in a murder case when she comes back to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland for the first time in ten years. Anna runs into an old crush from her school days in a bar and then later that night discovers him murdered nearby. She ends up wrapped up in the investigation as it turns into a spree of murders that seem related to events that happened with classmates of Anna’s from ten years ago.  

First the good: the setting of Glasgow, Scotland is conveyed amazingly well. The dialogue is spot on and I would love to listen to the audiobook version. Her best friend Zoe is a breath of fresh air. The author also did a good job of building tension and leaving clues about who-dun-it as befitting the thriller genre. 

Now the bad: I was disappointed in the characterization of Anna. Anna uses very little of her knowledge of criminal sociology and comes across as hysterical. Her own reasons for leaving Scotland aren’t explored fully. Spoiler alert: The feelings and reactions of rape victims comes across as inauthentic and wooden. Until I looked up the author profile, I was going on the assumption that the author was female and I couldn’t understand how a female author could be so off. The author is male. The “offness” is a subtle distinction and perhaps this is just my own personal response to it. 2.5 stars rounded up to 3. Despite my own reactions the female characters in this debut thriller, I would read more books from this author. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Bloodhound Books and the author M.R. MacKenzie for an advanced electronic reading copy.
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My review is written with thanks to Bloodhound Books for inviting me to participate, and for providing my copy of the book via Netgalley.
Anna is a criminology lecturer, returning to her home town of Glasgow for the first time in ten years to celebrate a friends birthday. On the night out, she strikes up a conversation with someone she knew from school; however, just hours later, she is cradling his dead body, after discovering that he has been stabbed. Anna unwittingly finds herself at the centre of the police investigation, which is not helped when a second victim who was also one of her classmates is also discovered dead. Believing the police may be missing something, Anna goes in search of answers herself. Can she find out what happened to the victims before she is in grave danger herself?
From the moment I met Anna, I felt able to relate to her. She is uncomfortable in crowds and would rather not visit her past, yet when the investigation takes hold she comes into her own and is determined and stubborn, yet very compassionate, reminding me a little of myself. She has a very well plotted back story, which makes her a very richly written character that I could easily get behind.
In The Silence is absolutely brimming with tension. Mackenzie creates an oppressive atmosphere from the very first page, with Anna's unease and the inclement weather. It steps up a gear when the first body is found, and there is a very definite sense that most of the characters, including Anna are lying or holding something back. This makes the novel very compelling, and I had to get to the truth. The novel builds up to a huge crescendo, and there were several moments where I was holding my breath, floored by the twists and turns until the killer is finally revealed.
​There are scenes of rape in In The Silence, which may be triggering for some readers. The violence is not gratuitous, but it is described in some detail. It is difficult to expand further without giving away spoilers, but I felt that Mackenzie raised awareness of issues of consent in a very thought provoking manner.
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A thrilling read - and one which took me by surprise as, for a debut novel, it has hidden depths!

Anna Scovalini - that would be Dr. Scavolini to you and me - never saw herself settling in her home city of Glasgow and headed off to Italy for university and her career. Ten years on sees her returning for her best friend's birthday. At the end of the night, they head off - as they did all those years ago - to an all night cafe for food before heading home, but something happens which unsettles Anna and as Zoe heads to the cafe's loo, she decides to investigate and gets much more than she bargained for! With the discovery of the slain body of an old friend Anna is the star witness and, not entirely convinced of the ability of the police officers to solve the case, she does a bit of her own investigating but never really appreciates the danger she is putting herself in.

It's truly enjoyable to read a novel set in a city which is familiar to me - although not nearly as much as it is to the author. The descriptions of the locations bring it all to life and, as always, the addition of the local humour brought a grin to my face.  Swinging one way and then the other, it's not clear to the reader where this is heading but the outcome is both surprising and impressive! I was completely taken in, and loved the complete explanation of what was going - and had gone - on. For a debut novel, this is a complex but riveting read, and one I couldn't put down. The story moves along at a brisk pace and there's never a dull moment. I was shocked more than once but delighted to see that by the final page, everything was fully explained with no loose ends left dangling. This is an author I will happily watch out for again.

My thanks to publisher Bloodhound Books, not only for my copy via NetGalley but also for my place on this blog tour. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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In the Silence by M.R. MacKenzie

Amateur sleuth and feminist criminology professor working in Italy heads to Scotland for her best friend Zoe’s birthday. Little did she know that going back to what once was her home, after a decade away, would open doors to rooms she had tried to lock behind her. What Anna saw and experienced her first night home triggered memories, made her need to find out who killed the man she talked to in the bar and lead her to eventually share secrets she had not shared before. 

Anna and Zoe were childhood friends through thick and thin but over the decade she was away they grew apart. Staying with Zoe and her brother Victor was like going home in some ways. Talking to Andrew at the pub that first night was interesting and allowed her to talk to a boy, now man, she had a crush on in high school. Wondering who killed Andrew later that night took her down twisty trails that lead to the unearthing of a dirty secret party life some participated in during high her teen years…a party some enjoyed much more than others. 

As the story unfolds we learn more about Anna and why she left and how she has changed over the years. We find out more about the parties held when all were teens and how they impacted those who attended. We find out the motivation for murder. We meet some people caught up in or harmed by the evil of others. We see how police can be either good or bad and how some bend their positions to do as they will. We learn how family guards those they love. And we also see how choices made can impact people in good ways or bad. 

There were times I could not understand the thinking of Anna and wondered where her mind had gone. There were times I wanted to smack Anna and tell her to wise up. There were times I wanted to give some of the policemen she encountered more than a talking to. There were times I felt sad and wondered “what if” this or that had happened instead of what did happen in the story. 

This is a book that is dark and twisted but also one that is not farfetched in regard to what can and does happen at times in real life. It tells of those trying to correct and improve the universe as well as of those that want to enjoy hedonistically the time they are on earth. At the end of the book I wondered if Anna will be getting a series of her own and if so whether or not she will be more grounded in the next book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloodhound Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

4 Stars
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This was definitely a bit of a compulsive read. I was kept guessing throughout and had zero idea of who the culprit was. It's quite a dark read and it's difficult to warm to any of the characters but the twists and turns keep you reading right to the very end.
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'In The Silence' is M. R. Mackenzie's debut novel set in Glasgow and featuring criminology lecturer Anna Scavolini. Having loved Scottish crime fiction and Scottish noir from the first time I experienced the thrills and spills of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels, the sub-genre has gone from strength to strength. This is another addition to the genre, and it's actually very well executed. Being a Glaswegian himself, he knows more about the city than anyone, and it shows in his writing.

This is a compulsively readable story that gets you in its grasp and refuses to let go! The author uses quite a few Scottish words and phrases throughout which may prove confusing to someone who doesn't know the dialect already. Given I live just over the border in England, I encounter Scots regularly, so this was absolutely no problem for me. There were many instances that had me laughing out loud. I always appreciate humour in a crime novel. There are surprises aplenty, and a few of the twists were unexpected. At times, the plot is more than a little iffy, but the positive parts of the story were enough to keep me suitably intrigued and keen on reading it through to the end. Some of the parts felt quite contrived, and I found myself questioning why the author wrote about certain things which seemed in no way related to the plot. Padding perhaps?

Our main character Anna is an unstable person who suffers from bi-polar disorder but appears to be mismanaging her illness. She seems to be rude, standoffish and very unlikeable, but i'm hoping to warm to her should she feature in the authors future books.

Many thanks to Bloodhound Books for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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Set in my home town so I am very familiar with the areas described and for me it really adds to the story.

The characters are well developed particularly Anna and Zoe and the tension is set to a low humm throughout the book keeping it going and interesting 

A good read - if there’s another I will read that also !
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This is a real page turner from the start. 
Anna has not been home for ten years and for very good reasons, she is back to help her friend Zoe celebrate her birthday.  During the party she meets someone she had a schoolgirl crush on and was always to shy to say hello to. 
Now she is drinking and chatting with him. After the party Anna and Zoe both have the munchies so go looking for a cafe.  While walking to their destination they hear a scream,  it sounds like a fox but Anna is not so sure.  While at the cafe Anna is still thinking about she heard so returns to the area where she heard it. Staggering out of the bushes bleeding profusely is a man who collapses and dies in her arms.
The dead man is no other than the man at the party Andrew Foley. 
Anna is now curious to find out about the dead man, risking her life at the same time.
There are so many twists and turns to this book which kept me guessing until the end. This is a good murder and a very good debut. Look forward to his next book.
I would like to thank the author M.R.Mackenzie,  Bloodhound books and Net.galley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for giving an honest review.
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