Conspiracy of Silence by Martha Powers

October 10, 2008
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Conspiracy of Silence
Martha Powers

Oceanview Publishing
10-10-08
Hardcover/340 pages
ISBN: 1-93351518X
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". . . mystery fare with warmth and a fascinating cast of characters . . ."

Conspiracy of Silence: Thrilling mystery in small town Minnesota.

Just before her wedding, Clare Prentice’s mother dies, leaving her with a shocking discovery and a mystery. She is adopted and her birth certificate and adoption papers are fake. Clare needs to get her identity and life in order. She cancels her wedding. Under the cover of interviewing best-selling author Nate Hanssen for the literary magazine where she works, Clare follows her only clue, a 1962 high school class ring, to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Clare finds more than she bargained for there. Someone is willing to kill her to keep their secrets.

Plunging immediately into the heart of the mystery, Martha Powers delivers a stunning revelation within the first few pages and keeps the pot boiling with new discoveries in every chapter of Conspiracy of Silence without veering too far into melodrama. Although there is an element of the damsel in distress, Clare Prentice remains a strong and resilient character.

With just the right mix of romance and danger, Conspiracy of Silence kept my interest to the end, although I figured out the answers to some of the mystery before Powers revealed them. The only annoying part of the book was Powers’ habit of delivering a startling revelation in the last sentence of a chapter and repeating the same sentence with little variation in the first sentence of the next chapter as though she didn’t trust readers to remember what happened. Other than that, Powers makes the small town insularity of Grand Rapids very real and the characters memorable without being clichéd or stereotypical. Erika Hanssen, the reclusive author’s precocious preteen daughter, is as endearing as she is prickly and very much an integral part of the story as both a hurdle for Clare to overcome and a bridge between Clare and Nate’s romantic attraction.

Martha Powers intersperses stock mystery fare with warmth and a fascinating cast of characters. Conspiracy of Silence keeps the energy high and the mysteries coming almost to the end with a satisfying conclusion that left this reader wanting more.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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