Lisa Regan Brings Josie Quinn back into the Horror
Generally-speaking, people seldom mind consuming criminal topics through various forms of media, whether they be real or fictional. Even the most horrendous crimes, so long as we are disconnected from them, don’t exactly have a lasting impact on us as people. We consume, get our kick, and forget about it. It becomes all too easy to forget there are people whose lives are all about confronting this sort of horror on a daily basis, largely so the rest of us don’t have to. While in real life these heroes seem to get little recognition, their archetypes have certainly been immortalized in the realms of literature by some fantastic works, such as the one we’ll be looking at today, Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan.
The sixth book in the Detective Josie Quinn series, let me begin by assuring you it stands firmly as a standalone novel and doesn’t require any previous knowledge of the genre. Anyhow, the story begins with the abduction of little seven-year-old Lucy Ross, snatched from a working carousel at Denton city park. Josie Quinn arrives on the scene and finds Lucy’s backpack, with a note from the kidnapper stuffed inside, warning the parents to answer their phone if they want to see Lucy again.
The glimmer of hope for a happy resolution doesn’t last long at all, for on the next day a short series of events leads Josie to find little Lucy’s babysitter dead in her own apartment. Plunged into the type of darkness she has seldom seen before, Josie is determined like never before to stop this madman who seems only intent on leaving more bodies behind and shattering the Ross family into pieces. However, Josie feels few things in this case are what they appear to be, and even the people who are supposed to be helping her seem to be hiding things. How many more members of the family will fall before the truth comes to light? How long does Lucy have, if she is still alive at all?
Breath of Class
While in older times it was heavily frowned upon in literary circles, the idea of gratuitous violence and its precise descriptions has gained more and more popularity lately, whether we like it or not. Authors are always trying to push the limits and boundaries established before them, and often times this manifests itself as extreme ideas which end up bringing nothing but shock value to the table. In other words, I’m getting fairly tired of novels (and movies) banking on describing gruesome and horrible scenes to elicit emotions from the reader.
Now, with this novel, I was unbelievably happy to see none of this. Regan definitely took the high road on this one, and while she certainly could have showered us in descriptive paragraphs of violent and sexual content, she never once gave into the temptation. Instead of relying on cheap shock value like so many others, the author relies instead on her own skill in developing the story, drawing us in with the nature of the events, the mystery, and the characters themselves.
The writings itself is simply top-notch, to the point where I consider Regan to be one of my personal favourite wordsmiths, right alongside Lovecraft and Murakami. Each and every word seems to be chosen with great care and precision, which in turn makes the pace of the book this much more frantic. The events progress rather quickly from one to the next and we are always given some new information to digest relating to the main plot. There is barely any room for anyone in the book to take a breather, the reader included, and it begs to get finished in one sitting.
A Family’s Legacy
Moving on from the more technical aspects of Her Silent Cry, let us take a look at the actual plot itself. In large part, things develop rather logically, and as mentioned before, at a fairly frantic pace. Nothing retains our attention for too long, and in my opinion this works to the author’s benefit as we don’t end up dwelling on the couple of moments where a bit of suspension of disbelief is required.
Mind you, these passages are by no means numerous, but there were a few moments where I simply decided to accept a few things I didn’t find entirely believable, largely the FBI’s relatively lackadaisical attitude towards Amy. Ultimately though, these moments didn’t ruin the story in any sense of the word, and were quickly made peace with.
Because the story moves at such a fast pace, we seldom have the time to really stop and develop the characters we meet along the way. However, Regan still manages to give them enough characterization through dialogue to the point where we have an easy enough time to figure out relationships between various characters. It’s especially interesting when we witness Josie conversing with the various members of the family for we are able to simultaneously learn about the plot and advance it, as well as get an increasingly better picture of what they are like. In my mind, this is a very high level of writing and ought to be mentioned.
While I won’t call the story itself to be groundbreaking or something we’ve never seen before, it does offer its fair share of surprising twists, with Regan knowing how to aptly misdirect her readers and subvert their expectations. In the end, if you saw it all coming, you might want to take up a career as a detective yourself.
The Final Verdict
Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan is, overall, a fantastic thriller which offers non-stop developments, an interesting cast of suspects and victims, as well as an often-surprising and unpredictable plot. It’s all wrapped together in a beautiful package with the help of Regan’s writing prowess, and I cannot help but recommend it to any fan of the genre.
Lisa Regan is a an American journalist working for USA Today and Wall Street Journal, as well as a bestselling author whose most renowned work has without a doubt been the Detective Josie Quinn series. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English as well as a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of various literary associations, including Sisters in Crime and the Crime Writers Association.