Title: Not A Sound
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Published: May 22nd 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.
As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?
I selected Heather Gudenkauf’s latest based on an article I read that was featured in the highly regarded Washington Post stating this novel was ‘a thriller worth staying up all night to finish’. Going on this strong recommendation and my enjoyment of Gudenkauf’s 2016 release, Missing Pieces, I was all set to be thoroughly entertained by Not A Sound.
Not A Sound deviates somewhat from a traditional thriller. The heroine is a hearing impaired, former nurse, named Amelia Winn. Amelia is joined by her hero, a four legged and rather prickly service dog, named Stitch. Together, this twosome inadvertently enter in a full blown murder investigation. The book first takes a step back in time, as we learn the circumstances that lead to Amelia’s accident and her subsequent hearing loss. Amelia was once a highly dedicated nurse, based in a sexual assault unit. One evening, she selflessly decides to walk a patient back to her car after a long shift and tragically both are struck by a hit and run driver. The patient sadly dies and Amelia is left with life changing injuries. Two years later, the hit and run driver has never been found and Amelia is slowly coming back to life. We learn life in the last two years has been tough on Amelia, she spiralled into a dark depression, she lost her career, marriage and stepdaughter. Life begins to look up when she is approached to work as a clerical assistant, transferring patient records from paper to digital form, by a friend of her estranged husband. However, on the morning of the interview, in attempt to clear her mind, Amelia goes paddleboarding in the waters that surround her remote cabin home. In the shallows, Amelia stumbles across a dead body. Amelia is shocked by her discovery and is floored even further when she recognises the deceased as Gwen, a former nurse, colleague and good friend to Amelia. Despite authorities taking on the investigation into Gwen’s death, Amelia finds she cannot help but do her own digging into the case. However, the more Amelia probes into the case, the more dangerous life becomes for a woman who has only just got her life back on track again.
If you are looking for a fast paced and riveting thriller, that leaves you guessing until virtually the close of the novel, then I would suggest you put Heather Gudenkauf’s newest book on your reading list – quick smart! I had fairly high expectations going into this novel, which was mainly due to my enjoyment of Gudenkauf’s previous novel and the acclaim this novel has received from the media. I am pleased to report that I was very taken by this gripping thriller.
Part of my appreciation of this novel comes from the insertion of a hearing impaired main protagonist, who later becomes the lead investigator in the case of her murdered friend. I thought Gudenkauf handled this character with both a balance of respect and insight. Through Amelia Winn, we learn what it is like to have one of your primary senses ripped away from you unexpectedly. Gudenkauf makes mention of the difficult period the main character Amelia goes through, in the aftermath of the accident, which is around a period of two years. Gudenkauf details Amelia’s depression, battle with the booze, her self imposed exile from life and the losses Amelia had to endure. Gudenkauf, hearing impaired herself, uses this story to highlight the services available to the hearing impaired. Some of these essential services include lip reading courses, service dogs and speech pathology classes. Having worked with the hearing impaired in my profession, I wasn’t aware of many of these forms of assistance and reading Not A Sound served to enhance my understanding of the challenges faced by the hearing impaired.
Along with Amelia and the loveable scruff ball Stitch, Amelia’s service dog, there are not a huge amount of characters that fill the pages of this novel. The small character list ensures that the characterisation in this novel is sound. It also meant that my suspect list was shortened. I found that I was initially wrong with who I suspected in committing Gwen’s Murder, but my second guess was correct. Gudenkauf doesn’t make you work too hard in putting the pieces of this puzzle together. Entertainment value wise, Not A Sound is one of those novels that keeps you theorising until the close of the novel. I do have to say that I was a little displeased to discover one of the main mystery threads of the novel was not closed.
I encourage you to select this intense mystery/ suspense filled novel if you like the challenge of reading a book that will make you want to stay up until you finish it, even if it’s close to the sun rising – it did just that for me, thanks Ms Gudenkauf!
Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf was published in June 2017 by Harlequin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Learn more about the author of Not A sound, Heather Gudenkauf here.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty and Lace. To read the original review on the Beauty and Lace website please visit here.