Monday, July 25, 2011

Review - The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: The Weight of Silence (Amazon)
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira         
Release Date: 2009
Pages: 373
Genre: YA, Adult
Source: Library

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.
Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.
Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice.
Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.
Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets. (Goodreads)

Kim’s Take: This book was one of those kinds of mysteries that you just can’t really figure out until the end. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you constantly wondering.

At the age of 4, Callie becomes a selective mute after witnessing a terrifying tragedy. No one really knows exactly happened that day other than Callie, her father, Griff, and her mother. Griff is an unhappy, abusive alcoholic who is gone from home often working on a pipeline. It becomes obvious right away that Callie is terrified of him. Callie has become best friends with Petra, who is so close to Callie that she understands her without words and often speaks for her.

The story details a twenty four hour period in which Callie and Petra, both seven years old, mysteriously disappear from their beds in the middle of the night. But the book will go back to years earlier to give you history of each of the narrators. The story is alternately narrated by Callie, her mother Antonia, Petra’s father Marti, Callie’s older brother Ben, and Deputy Sheriff Louis, who has a long history with Antonia. The search is focused on the forest behind Callie’s home where she has grown up and knows like the back of her hand.

Griff was to have gone on a fishing trip with a friend early on the morning of the disappearance but is unable to be found or contacted. He becomes only one of several characters that come under suspicion. This book really gets your imagination going while trying to figure out what could be happening and who may be involved. And characters will discover, and be surprised by, the strengths and actions beyond what they imagined they were capable of.

This is such an excellent mystery from Heather Gudenkauf. I picked it up after reading her book What lies Beneath, which also turned out the be a great mystery with a very surprising ending. I like books that have such intricate plot lines that you can never really figure everything out until the end. I recommend this book very highly if you happen to be a mystery lover. You won’t be let down!

Kim’s Rating: 5/5


  1. Sounds great! I've read her other book These Things Hidden and the mystery was just as intricate, with different point of views. I really loved it so I will be adding this one to my list as well. Great review. =)

  2. WOW! This book sounds thrilling. Nice review!

  3. This sounds like a great mystery!I kind of wish it were a movie so I could watch it because I'm not very patient with mystery books.


    I might still have to give it a go, just to figure out what happens.

  4. I loved this one also and only enjoyed These Things Hidden.

  5. You've really made me want to read this to see what happens! I'm going to check to see if my library has this one. :) Thanks for the great review!

  6. I'll have to pick this one up since you liked it so much. I also read What Lies Beneath and loved it so I'll have to try this one too. Great review!