Silence in the Dark (Patricia Bradley) – Review

3 stars

 

Publisher’s Description
Two years ago, Bailey Adams broke off her engagement to Danny Maxwell and fled Logan Point for the mission field in Chihuahua, Mexico. Now she’s about to return home to the States, but there’s just one problem. After Bailey meets with the uncle of one of the mission children in the city, she barely escapes a sudden danger. Now she’s on the run–she just doesn’t know from whom. To make matters worse, people who help her along the way find themselves in danger too–including Danny. Who is after her? Will they ever let up? And in the midst of the chaos, can Bailey keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He didn’t understand why he continued to sit here watching Bailey make eyes at Joel.  When she accepted a small box from him, Danny’d had enough – time to leave.  He asked for his check and once again noticed that the man who had been watching Bailey earlier continued to observe her.
However, when Bailey and Maria left the table, the man’s gaze didn’t follow them.  It stayed at the table, on Joel.  Something about the man seemed familiar.  Abruptly the man stood and threw a handful of bills on the table.
Danny hesitated, torn between wanting to follow the stranger and staying where he could watch Bailey.  For what, torture?  His gut said to go after the man, and he usually followed his hunches.  Placing enough money on the table to cover his bill and a generous tip he stood and hurried to the street in time to see the man look away as a stocky Mexican climbed out of a car and stared at him.  Danny followed as he strode purposefully toward a blue Jeep Cherokee parked half a block away.
“Hey, wait up,” he called in Spanish, but the man kept walking, and Danny jogged after him.  “Can I -”
Gunshots rang out behind him.
Danny whirled in tandem with the stranger.  Three men carried a slumped Joel from the restaurant while two more stood guard.
Bailey!
He sprinted toward them as Joel was thrown in the backseat of a waiting car, and two of the  men hopped into the front seat.  Tires squealed, and the car shot down the street.  The other men dashed toward the restaurant, and Danny changed direction, going after them.
One of the men shouted a command. “Find the girl!”
They want Maria.  Bailey wouldn’t let her go without a fight.  To the death.
“Out of my way!”
He had forgotten the stranger who now shoved past him into the restaurant.  Danny followed on his heels.
The room was empty.  No waitress.  No men.  No Maria.
No Bailey.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review
Patricia Bradley’s fourth instalment in her Logan Point series doesn’t give you long to draw breath before plunging into the action:  A harrowing chase through the Mexican city of Chihuahua with the local drug cartel, the Calatrava, hot on their tail.  The question is, who are they after? Bailey, or four-year-old Maria Montoya (the young girl she is escorting to Mississippi)?  And why?

I’d love to say this was a great read, because the potential was there, but it just didn’t make it for me.  The suspense plot wasn’t bad – probably the best aspect of the book overall – but other aspects of the story were less convincing, and the writing mediocre.  The romance relied on clichéd moments that prompted one to pine for what they couldn’t/didn’t have with the other, or generic romance descriptions of the characters’ interactions that were a little cheesy – shivers, tingles, leaping/soaring hearts, and so on.  It felt like the characters went through the romantic motions, but I didn’t get the emotional connection that I wanted to feel.

Likewise, I didn’t feel as though I got to experience the characters’ spiritual journeys.  Both Bailey and Danny had their token ‘spiritual issue’ to work through, but we didn’t really get to see how they worked through it.  We were simply told when they had.

The suspense plot involved three main male point-of-view characters (and an occasional male antagonist), and it took me a while to get their professional and familial connections straight in my head.  The first is Danny Maxwell, who was once Bailey’s fiancé (for less than 24 hours); the second is Joel McDermott, Maria’s maternal uncle and guardian; and the third is Angel Guerrera, a Latino known as the ‘Angel of the Streets’ for his efforts in protecting the local businesses from the Calatrava.

There is more to these characters’ stories than I can include here, but each of the men has reason to be suspicious of the others’ motives and intentions – both in relation to Bailey and Maria, and in relation to a shipment of stolen rifles Danny is investigating.  The problem is, having all three viewpoints undermined this element of suspense, because we had direct insight into what was really going on with each character.

Focusing on multiple characters with their different agendas also made the story quite busy, jumping around from person to person, and I felt it didn’t give the characters a chance to be as developed as they could have been.  In the case of one of the male characters, I was confused about whether I was supposed to like him or not.  Sometimes the author seemed to be taking obvious pains to make him less-likeable, and I even wondered at times whether they were obvious hints that he would turn out to be one of the bad guys.  In the end, I still wasn’t sure.  I can’t say any more than that without giving spoilers, but the end of his story was anti-climactic – just a few lines in passing that kind of brushed him under the carpet.

As I said at the beginning, the writing was also mediocre.  Sometimes it was an obvious ‘tell rather than show’ moment or a clumsy sentence, sometimes it was the lack of subtlety or finesse or stating something that was already obvious, and sometimes it just felt too scripted.

If you’re after an easy-read romantic suspense, or something to pass the time, then this might be the one for you, but it didn’t engage me as I had hoped.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.

Buy from:                  Amazon.com                          Amazon.com.au

Release date:  19 April 2016
Pages:  352
Publisher:  Revell Books
Author’s website:  http://ptbradley.com/

Previous books in series:

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
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