Monday, July 21, 2014


THE FINAL SILENCE by Stuart Neville

Pages: 325
Date: 21/07/2014
Grade: 5
Details:  No. 4 Jack Lennon Investigations
             Received from Harvill Secker
             Through Nudge

The blurb:

“Rea Carlisle has inherited a house from an uncle she never knew. It doesn't take her long to clear out the dead man's remaining possessions, but one room remains stubbornly locked. When Rea finally forces it open she discovers inside a chair, a table - and a leather-bound book. Inside its pages are locks of hair, fingernails: a catalogue of victims.

Horrified, Rea wants to go straight to the police but when her family intervene, Rea turns to the only person she can think of: DI Jack Lennon. But Lennon is facing his own problems. Suspended from the force and hounded by DCI Serena Flanagan, the toughest cop he's ever faced, Lennon must unlock the secrets of a dead man's terrifying journal.”


My thoughts:

I fell in love with Stuart Neville’s writing when I read The Twelve, early in 2011 and he’s impressed me more with each subsequent book.

‘The Final Silence’ is a return to the Jack Lennon mysteries after Ratlines; last year’s wonderful, stand-alone, historical thriller. And it is a welcome return. The books in this series are exquisitely written. Neville pulls the reader into his story on the very first page and hooks them further with each subsequent chapter. His mysteries are not for the faint of heart. He’s not afraid of violence, less than perfect characters or controversial plot developments; all of which make his stories more realistic and thrilling.

Jack Lennon is such a compromised hero. The way he is described, the actions he takes and the decisions he makes are so flawed and yet so very human that it is impossible not to root for him even if while you wish he’d make life easier for himself. His relationship and obvious love for his daughter Ellen may be the only thing that is pure and without a darker side, but it shows his character better than any of his less than ideal decisions do.

The same can be said for most characters in this series. With one or two exceptions they are all human and recognisable because of their flaws, prejudices and mistakes as much as their more admirable traits.

Stuart Neville’s books are about more than ‘just’ the mystery, fascinating as it may be. His characters all have lives that come into play. Their health, background, status influence the way they operate. Every issue is handled with care and sympathy without interrupting the flow of the story or distracting from the mystery; a remarkable achievement to say the least. As a result the book has far more depth than the average mystery/thriller.

“I won’t cry, Flanagan thought. A command to the frightened little girl that still lived inside her despite all the rotten, ugly things she’d seen.”

This book, like its predecessors, is set in Northern Ireland in the present and doesn’t directly deal with the violence of the past or today’s politics. Even so, it is impossible to write a realistic story without touching on the differences between the various factions or politics. Peace has descended so recently that old animosities are still very much alive, be it less openly. Politics don’t play a main role in these mysteries but they’re there, under the surface. They influence people and their actions; they create an atmosphere filled with a barely perceptible but always present tension. Northern Ireland is as much a main character in this story as John Lennon is.

In short, this is a book for anyone who enjoys an in depth, well written and thrilling story written by an author who weaves magic with his words. One warning though; while you could read this book as a stand-alone, I would advise against it. The Jack Lennon books are best enjoyed in the order in which they were written. And since there isn’t a bad, or even less than good, book in the series, you could do worse than going back to the start.

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