An insightful review of A Conspiracy of Silence by Caitlyn Lynch. Some very interesting observations. My many thanks go to the reviewer:
“A pupil from an elite private school is missing, and the son of the groundskeeper is found dead, shot with bow and arrow. DI Gillian Marsh must get to the bottom of the case despite the school’s headmaster doing his best to keep ‘scandal’ at bay and the police out of the school entirely.
I haven’t read any previous books in this series, but I don’t think it was necessary to understand what’s going on here. Gillian Marsh is a no-nonsense police officer who, frankly, appears to be on the autism spectrum; everyone around her certainly recognises her complete lack of social skills and inability to comprehend the feelings of others. Dogged and determined, she is an inexorable force of nature once she has her focus fixed.
There are some interesting themes here, with cyberbullying, doping among elite student athletes, the attitudes of entitlement wealthy families confer upon their youth, and an exploration of how elite ‘clubs’ can easily be hijacked to follow specific ideologies if a strong enough personality is able to take charge of them. I actually did not see the twist coming (trigger warnings for anti-Semitism, racism and Nazi ideology apply) and I would say at least two of the characters displayed strong sociopathic tendencies, though this was never particularly explored.
What I did not like was the constant point of view hopping, especially in the first couple of chapters. It was distracting and frequently, we jumped into the POV of someone who really had no relevance to the plot. If you’re going to change POV, you need more than a new paragraph, you need a chapter or scene break. There are good and solid reasons for these conventions of fiction writing, and they are all about the reader experience. Honestly, a firm editor could have cleaned it all up in a single pass, but it really needed to happen to strengthen the storytelling.
There’s a good story here, exploring some themes which are extremely relevant to today’s world (and which might terrify you if you have kids). Marsh as a heroine is an intriguing character; she’s both by-the-book and occasionally completely off the wall as regards her attitude. The head-hopping however, does knock it down for me. I’ll give it four stars.”