The LitFest Blog
I love crime thrillers; the mystery, the characters, the plot twists, the shock of finding out the killer was your favourite character all along (what, this doesn’t happen to you?). Unsurprisingly, then, I helped myself to a copy of Ann Cleeves’ Silent Voices while I was passing through our volunteer/ radio/ Festival Friends Manager, Chrissie’s office. As they say around these LitFest parts, ‘One does not simply walk out of Chrissie’s office without a book’.
The crime strand at the Festival is a lot of fun and our crime authors tend to be the funniest. Why crime and humour go hand in hand, I’m not sure, but apparently it does. When Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series, was announced, I was excited. I had managed to watch a couple of episodes of the television adaptations and was eager to read her books.
Silent Voices is gripping, humorous, and with a cast of characters so real, they could be your next-door neighbours, which is terrifying, because who wants to live next to murderers? Vera, the protagonist, isn’t your ordinary detective. She’s a hard-working, dogged personality with a brilliant mind, who just happens to look like a bag-lady. Her team vacillate between being in awe of her and wishing she would just take a breath and stop for a while.
However, what I’ve really enjoyed about Silent Voices is my complete inability to find the killer. Oftentimes one picks up a crime novel and figures out the killer within a few chapters, which makes for a very dull read. And there are other books that spring the killer on you in the last chapter where he/ she explain their motivations in detail to their last ‘victim’. That’s just… don’t do that. I didn’t find any of these tropes in Cleeves’ book; I was left guessing till the end but not without sufficient clues.
I can’t wait to see Ann Cleeves at the 2016 Festival and hear her method for creating these authentic characters and jaw-dropping scenarios.
Now, off I go to scour the office for some more of Cleeves’ books!
Read more about Ann Cleeves here