Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Heather Gudenkauf - Not a Sound

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?

Comment: A friend whose opinion on thrillers and mysteries is one I trust (I don't read as many books in that genre as she does) only had good things to say about this story so of course I felt curious to try it myself. I bought an used hardcover in sale and now finally was able to get to it.

In this story we meet Amelia Winn, a nurse who now must cope with being deaf after a hit and run situation while she was helping a patient, who died on the same attack. Amelia took a long time to adjust to her new status, became an alcoholic, also put her family in jeopardy and her soon to be ex isn't confident about leaving her with Nora, his daughter and Amelia's stepdaughter. However, now Amelia is coping, has improved and only wants to get back her life, starting by getting a new job, even if not as a nurse. The issue is that as soon as the story starts, Amelia discovers the body of a former fellow nurse, Gwen, while she was kayaking and now she can't help but trying to put the pieces together so she can find what happened. Even with the help of her childhood friend Jake, can she find out the truth before her reputation is, again, lost?

This is the first book I try by this author, so I had no idea about what I'd find, except from opinions. Well, I must say this was one of those situations where what worked so well for my friend, wasn't as successful for me and I got a little frustrated with the story as I kept reading...

The premise was definitely appealing and I was quite interested in seeing how Amelia would deal with her sudden deafness, result of an accident. In fact, it wasn't an accident, she and another woman with her were targeted on purpose, and we are left with the possibility this was intentional because the woman Amelia helped was the victim of a crime. That other woman died but Amelia's injuries resulted in her deafness and, of course, this changed her life. I thought this introduction to the story would have some sort of closure later on but I don't think the author really explained this nor who did it, so I can only assume it was a convenient method to put Amelia on her current path.

As the plot developed, I've also started to get a little annoyed with another thing. This is something I particularly dislike in certain romance novels, but it turns out it can be as annoying in thrillers, which is the first person narrator. Amelia got on my nerves, I confess, and sometimes I wondered how on earth could her thought process be that interesting! First person narrations have to be by amazing characters or about amazing lives, otherwise, it can feel very childish or superficial and I fear Amelia wasn't that interesting. Her being deaf, while having some interest, if only because we don't have many deaf protagonists, wasn't such a big deal to her personality. I just think Amelia was simply irritating on her own.

So, she finds a body and that is a cause for stress, without a doubt. She misses a job interview and this sounds bad, of course. She is able to re try and is hired, so I thought, this must be the part where we would start seeing her "finally getting back on her feet". However, there's a murder investigation and, somehow, Amelia finds herself in the middle of it. I could accept this, after all countless thrillers out there have people, not in the police force, investigating. I could accept Amelia doing the same, and the person who died was a friend, so... but honestly, there is certainly a limit to how silly and unlikely a person can be while doing something they have no preparation to do. Amelia did plenty of choices which I don't see any person who doesn't know about crime investigation would do. She even invades a private house, I mean!

There is also the slight romantic interest. For a while we aren't certain if she would get together with her soon-to-be ex or if Jake, her friend in the police, would be it. She has no real chemistry with either of these guys and no romantic scenes/situations happen to let us be ready to accept a romance could be done to look believable. At least, I was not convinced Amelia could end up with someone, so complicated her life seemed to be, even murders aside. We are told who she ends up with, but I don't think this was done well.

In general, I was not impressed with the author's writing style and "voice". The style in how she wrote this made the main character seem silly at times, some details would be mentioned but had no real reason to be part of the story or were not developed properly. There is interesting content about being deaf, about dogs who work as guides (the best part of this novel has to be Stitch, the dog), about coming back after a huge trauma, but the overall effect was just rather weak for me. I also liked some of the plot twists, especially the explanations when we learn who the villain is. Too bad that, in my opinion, not enough time was dedicated to this part of the plot, so when we do learn the truth, it felt it came out of nowhere!

All in all, just barely positive for me, but to be fair I don't see myself getting another book by the author on purpose...
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment