Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review: Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid

Splinter the Silence (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, Book #9)
by Val McDermid
Release Date: December 1st 2015
2015 Atlantic Monthly Press
Ebook Edition; 416 Pages
ISBN: 978-0802124081
Genre: Fiction / Murder / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.5 / 5 Stars

Is it violence if it’s virtual? The outspoken women targeted by the increasingly cruel internet trolls and bullies would probably say so. For some of them, the torrents of bile and vicious threats prove too much. They begin to silence themselves in a series of high-profile suicides.

Or do they? Tony Hill isn’t convinced. But he’s the only one. Former cop Carol Jordan is too busy messing up her life to care. Until she gets an unexpected second chance. Now it’s game on, and the stakes have never been higher.

My Thoughts
Splinter the Silence continues the story of Carol Jordan after her retirement from the police force, her continuing relationship with Tony Hill, how she coped with said retirement, the effects of her drinking, and the mystery came in as a belated last thought, but was still intriguing and definitely important considering some of the online things happening today.  But it all seems to work just fine together, and I was just happy to finally know how things were going to work out after the last novel. This one made me quite happy at the turn of events, loved how some of the other characters were finally given a chance to develop, and the mystery was just there to give everyone something to do.  

First of all, the big mystery.  As Carol Jordan and her team was being reassembled, they happened across a death that shouldn't have been suspicious, but raised concerns in Tony's eyes.  A victim on vicious online bullies and trolls, an outspoken woman against certain men's issues committed suicide for no apparent reason.  As the group begins to look into the death, several more cases are unearthed with very similar circumstances, raising the interest of both Tony and Carol, who are nonbelievers when it comes to coincidences.  What I really liked about the investigation is the author's way of looking into the misconception that people feel that because they are writing 'anonymously' they can abuse and bully online and it is not a crime.  The misuse of online technology is so pervasive, yet people continue to feel that abusive comments and hateful comments are okay as long as they are anonymously online and it just angers me to no end.  I'm glad this author chose to address the issue as a serious crime and treat it as such.  For me, it makes me sick to see some of the comments after a news article or a blog post and I have long ago stopped reading them.  Most people are basically decent, but it's the awful ones that make you wonder about humanity, and they can be written by anyone you know, which is the scary part.  The author showed some of the pain the women felt after having spoken their minds, most of which was highly researched by these women, and written with care and thought.  The idea by the trolls was to make other women scared to speak their own minds and to hide, giving the trolls the power.  

What I really enjoyed in this novel though, was the development of the characters, especially Stacey, and the relationship between Tony and Carol (Finally!!)  I wondered when the author would deal with Carol's drinking problem and I thought it was handled quite well.  For those of you familiar with this series, the problem hasn't yet been resolved and will probably continue with some repercussions for quite a while, something I'm actually glad to see.  I can't say too much more, spoiler, but when you read it, you will understand.   The drinking problem did open up a way to develop Tony and Carol's relationship (yeah) and the two of them were a bit different as they traveled different waters from what they were used to.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops, but I don't anticipate it will necessarily be all sugar and roses.  I was pleasantly surprised by Stacey as it was nice to see a softer side to her as she developed a new relationship.  She's usually so prickly and hard-core, but things weren't necessarily easy for her during this time either, and with someone who has such computer skills available to her, I would be afraid for my life if I didn't toe a line in a relationship with her.  Enough said, you must read the book to find out more.  Interesting storyline, but easy to pick out and figure out what would happen.  Didn't figure on the ending though.  Loved it!!

Splinter the Silence was one of those books where I wasn't overly interested in the mystery this time as I was more concerned about what was going to happen to those characters I have been following for quite a while, and the last book had a bit of a twist I wasn't necessarily expecting.  This one was more along the lines of what I hoped for, so I was quite happy about that, but as always, the author had a few twists and turns up her sleeve, some of which were easy to figure out, some I didn't.   I am really curious as to what kinds of cases Carol Jordan will receive in her new position, but the possibilities are endless.  Looking forward to a new team, news scenarios, new relationships!! Another great entry into the Carol Jordan & Tony Hill series.