Series: Will Trent #10
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Setting: Atlanta, GA
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
Reading Challenges: Cloak and Dagger/Medical Examiner Challenge
Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect. The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years. If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.
Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?
As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth. But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.
When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake . . .
The Silent Wife was savage in its crime story and the reader can only suspect everyone at one point or another. While our main character is Will, a Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) agent, the story features many supporting characters quite a bit. Will’s partner, Faith, a single mom of 2, Sara his girlfriend and medical examiner, Jeffery, Sara’s dead ex husband, and Lena, the crooked cop who they all hate!
First, there is some romance subplot here between Will and Sara. They have been together for awhile and both want to get married. But, Will didn’t ask her (he implies they will get married, but never actually asks) and Sara is upset. Also, their new case brings up accusations against her dead husband, and she is dealing with the memories of losing the man she loved.
However, the real story is the vicious serial rapist/murder who has been stalking and attacking women for at least 8 years now. In order to determine if the killer is, in fact, one person and therefore NOT the person in prison for one of the crimes, the team has to revisit the past. Lena is most certainly a crooked cop. She has no qualms about lying if it helps her case or makes her look better. Nick is another strange cop that comes off as a nice southern charmer at times, then is unhinged and attacking a suspect. Oh, and then there is the child porn peddler who is trying to prove he isn’t a killer (but still, not a guy you want to help because he IS into child pornography). The characters are all complex and difficult to understand, which makes the experience of the story more real. You get the sense that everyone has an alternate agenda and you have no idea what it is.
The story of The Silent Wife alternates between current time, where Will, Faith, and Sara are trying to determine if/who the killer is, and the past, when Jeffery and Lena found what seems to be the first victim. At first, I was really confused because you know Jeffery is dead. Then I realized it was a flashback. I actually thought this time hop worked brilliantly for this story! You begin to see the pattern in the cases in both the past and present from 2 different sets of eyes.
The Silent Wife is pretty graphic. What this killer is doing to these women is brutal. Also, several characters in the story were raped and they tell their story. It’s difficult to read because the pain jumps off the page. I also thought the author did an excellent job of addressing why many women don’t tell after a rape. Trying to get some of the “good ole boy” southern cops to understand that a woman can be raped and it’s not just a case of regret after sex is a big challenge, but I was glad to see the topic was being pushed!
Fans of crime procedurals and Law and Order: SVU will appreciate The Silent Wife for its upfront presentation of crime and the people who solve cases. Romance readers like myself will enjoy the real life complexity of the relationship between Will and Sara and appreciate a break from the brutality of the plot from time to time.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: None
- Triggers: View Spoiler »Brutal rapes/murders are part of the plot and they are detailed from the prospective of the cops and once from the a surviving victim. « Hide Spoiler
- Series/Standalone: This is part of a series, but I had no idea when I grabbed it and had no problem following the story!