Broken Silence Review

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Broken Silence by Danielle Ramsay
Rating: 4/5
Source: Buy - Waterstones
Released: 14th October 2010

Back on active duty after an enforced break in his less-than-glittering career, DI Jack Brady is barely holding it together. With his personal life resembling a car crash, his problems only intensify when his close colleague Jimmy Matthews reveals that he was with the victim on the night of the murder. 

What first appealed to me about Broken Silence was that it is set in my hometown of Whitley Bay. The front cover features the Rendezvous Cafe, somewhere I've had many an ice cream over the years.  One piece of advice I can definitely offer to any reader; if you have the chance to read a book set in your hometown or somewhere you know inside out, do it. Danielle Ramsay's incredible writing and knowledge of the North East had me fully immersed and walking past landmarks, pubs and other buildings in my mind, that I'd walked past dozens of times in real life but never really noticed before. She paints a very dark image of life in Whitley Bay but it's far from exaggerated, the majority of those who live in the area know not to venture to South Parade at night unless you're looking for trouble. 

The characterisation is really what sets this book apart from other Crime fiction I have read. While there is the murder mystery aspect and without spoiling anything the plot kept me constantly second guessing myself, the book focuses on the protagonist Inspector Jack Brady through some of life's many struggles. 

At the point in his life that Broken Silence is set, Brady is the sort of man that doesn't think very highly of himself but whom women are drawn too. Jack Brady is that sort of brilliant, broken man that you can't help but fancy but at the same time loathe for his self-destructive tendencies. 

This book gives a very personal insight into Brady's mental state following the separation from his wife, Claudia. Brady is in a dangerous place in his life, he's very self aware and knows how bad things have gotten, but it takes his life getting a lot worse for him to contemplate fixing it. I think this is a very important depiction because a lot of the time men, and the police, are portrayed as unapologetic in their actions. Evidenced as the book goes on, Brady's infidelity towards his wife and the relationships he has with a few other female characters, really eats him up inside. With mens mental health in the forefront of media, I think this book offers a perspective worth checking out. 

While his personal life suffers, as does Brady's career; cheating on his wife with another officer has left the police station alive with gossip. To make matters worse, Brady suspects his old friend and fellow detective is involved in the case. Top that off with another ghost from Brady's past coming back to haunt him, you've got a man with a very hard life but that only makes him more fascinating.

It's not all doom and gloom, Jack Brady is blessed with still having the loyalty of his deputy, Harry Conrad. Thank god for Conrad. Their relationship seems strained at times what with all of the things Brady is dealing with, but Conrad really is Brady's guardian angel in this book and always has the Inspector's best interests at heart. Dr Amelia Jenkins also deserves an honourable mention for keeping Jack Brady mostly sane throughout the book -though seeing as strong, attractive women are Brady's Kryptonite, you will quickly come to appreciate why Conrad's company is generally more productive. 

The book ends with Brady solving the case, it's a very satisfying ending and all the loose ends were tied up and you can go to sleep knowing all is right in the world in that aspect. However for me it just left me hungry for the Jack Brady Hour where he sits in Conrad's Saab and figures out how to fix things with his ex wife, who is back on the scene as of the conclusion of the case. Such is the beauty of a series; there's another four books to dive right into. 

Overall I would highly recommend reading this book yourself, there is a lot of explicit language and intimate detail into the life of the victim, so definitely read at your own discretion. Murder isn't pretty after all.

In the run up to Danielle Ramsay releasing the first in a new series of detective novels on June 1st, I will be re-reading and reviewing the remaining four Jack Brady books on the first of each month. Up next - Vanishing Point. Review coming February 1st. 

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