Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.
When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.
Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.
As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.
Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?
Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC of this novel in return for an honest review.
Firstly I have to say before I list the reasons why I loved book, that it is a first class thriller, five star without any shadow of a doubt. That it is engaging, exciting and very clever! It has an amazing group of characters, the story is complex and the setting is exotic.
Thrillers should wrong foot you and trick you into believing you have figured out the clues before the end of the story. What I appreciated was that there was lots of misdirection throughout the narrative. I only guessed the identity of the perpetrator when the writer Owen Mullen intended me to. Right up to that point I was following his lead down blind alleyways and being left utterly blindsided by a revelation. The writing left you unsettled because you didn’t know who was really involved. Thrillers should thrill you and this one does that from beginning to the very end. Simply because the writer teases you with clues, but like a great Agatha Christie novel, provides many possible adversary’s for the ‘hero’, weaving a complex group of motivations, leaving me as a reader continually changing my mind who was responsible for the murder of a prominent family. Each scene revealed something to me, no matter how slight, it all added up to a strong narrative thrust, but for me, best of character development was as important as the pacing of the story.
Another great thing about this revenge thriller is the characters. You sort of want your protagonist to be miserable, want them to suffer heartaches, come close losing all they hold dear and omg we get it in Ralph Buchanan. He is easy to love, flawed and lost, but getting to know him us very rewarding. The same with Simone Jasnin! Each character plays there part in this complex story. As an collection of characters they give the story a richness of experience. Each is fascinating, their story full of hope for change, horror unimaginable. They are brave, capable of change, or evil and depending on which character you are reading about, capable of unbearable cruelty.
On top of all of this was the setting of the story. Most thrillers are set in Britain or America, places we can all identify in some way, but by setting it in Pakistan, Owen Mullen takes us to a land whose differing relationship with women and family add layers to the reader’s experience. The unfamiliarity breeds a sense of dislocation and unbalances the reader, as we try to understand the motives behind such violent attacks. As well as this it takes us into a world far removed from our own, an added feeling of mystery and tension. You’re lost in its beauty and underlying terrors as much as Ralph is, you have to navigate the differing social way of life with him and it is thrilling.
I have read a lot of thrillers and love them all for different reasons, what made this book extra special was the message it gave, the setting it was rooted in and the quality of the characters. Like a great puzzle they all joined together to create a story of many thrilling layers. Exciting, emotional and brave, it maintains the tension in the story without sacrificing it for endless thrills and shocks. It had emotional depth, a great range of points of view, most important of all; it is a bloody fantastic read.
You can purchase Out of the Silence from Amazon
About the author
Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year long-listed novelist.
Owen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; he still loves to perform on occasion. His passion for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home in the Greek Islands where In Harm’s Way and the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series’ were created and written. His latest novel Out Of The Silence is a truly compelling thriller set in Pakistan.