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Listening to the Silence

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Karen Maitland
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Sacrifice - S.J. Bolton Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan have recently moved from the the British mainland to the remote Shetland Islands, his childhood home and a place to which he hasn't returned since leaving for university. Engaged in her own risky and illegal behavior, burying her beloved horse Jamie, Tora unearths another body altogether, that of a young woman. And that's where the fun begins. Unable to put the woman out of her mind, suspicious of what she perceives as a cover-up, and against direct orders of both the police and her boss, Tora starts her own amateur investigation. This eventually brings her into collusion with Sergeant Dana Tulloch, herself skeptical regarding the facts of the case. Each discovery they make is more and more bizarre, resulting in more questions than answers. Each question makes them bigger targets until it seems that there is no way either one of them will get out of this alive. Everyone is suspect and the criminals aren't who they appear to be.

While the story was a little far-fetched and convoluted in places, this was certainly an impressive debut. The Shetland Islands aren't exactly the first place most people would go, but their remoteness is part of what makes this book so unique. The history and folklore of the islands figures prominently in the novel, adding a chilling twist that you don't expect, as does Tora's specialty, obstetrics. For the experienced reader of mystery novels I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out just who is behind everything, but I was only able to discover half the truth before the conclusion. She kept me interested and guessing enough that I wanted to keep reading until all the secrets had been revealed. Not normally a reader of mysteries, I can definitely see myself picking up another novel by this author when I need something different from my usual fare.