SILENCED CRY, Bewrite Books, 2007, 284 pgs
As a writer, I'm well aware of how difficult it is to write a good pitch. For that reason when I read the publisher's blurb for "Silenced Cry", I bought a copy. Bewrite Publishers promised that Stephens's novel would keep me entertained from start to finish.
Author Marta Stephens delivers on that promise.
Homicide detective Sam Harper stands by helplessly as his partner is shot dead at what should have been a routine pick-up for questioning. His late-partner was so certain of the lack of danger that he declined to wear his vest before confronting the witness. Now Harper is left with more questions than answers. And to make matters worse, he's taken off the case and assigned to Homicide and a new partner.
When Harper is called to investigate a cold case, (the skeletal remains of an infant are found stuffed in the wall of a building due for demolition) the investigation leads him to a possible involvement by his police hero father and his boss, a man he respects and trusts. As more leads surface, the investigation becomes baffling. What is surely a horrific crime also involves rape and police brutality. Stephens's depiction of the grieving mother Roxanne Lewis is unforgettable and deeply moving.
Someone once said that if you've read one mystery, you've read them all. That is so far from the truth here. Sam Harper is not your run-of-the-mill hero. Though the story is about a good cop, it's not reminiscent of any other good-cop story. Harper is his own man, troubled, sincere, loyal and complexed. Silenced Cry is an intelligent story about a police detective determined to do the right thing even if it means it might destroy him.
For those interested, here's an excerpt:
SILENCED CRY - CHAPTER 1
The hour-long sessions started at nine in the morning, twice a week, whether narcotics detective, Sam Harper liked it or not. The only good thing about this damp and cold Massachusetts morning was that it marked the midpoint of Harper’s commitment. Internal Affairs had drilled him for three days in a row. Now the police shrink wanted a piece of him. He was sick of her dogged questions. That was his job, to wear the other guy down. Three sessions left, three hours of digging into his past, into the events of that night – that goddamned night.
Neither the mild vanilla scent floating up from a flickering candle on the doctor’s desk nor the subtle gurgle bubbling from a tabletop fountain were doing their job to relax him. Harper rubbed the arms of the leather chair with his thumb as he calculated his next move. He stared at her and finally broke the silence.
“You ever kill a man, Doc?” A subtle twitch of her brow told him he had her attention. “A split second. That’s all it takes, pull the trigger, and whoosh! He’s gone.” more
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