Review: When the Dead Cry Out by Hilary Bonner

Title: When the Dead Cry Out

Author: Hilary Bonner

Publisher: Leisure Books [originally published 2003, this edition 2006]

ISBN: 0-8439-5758-1

In the 1970’s when Clara Marshall and her two daughters disappear from the seaside town of Torquay most people think her husband Richard is responsible. But there are no bodies and no other evidence so Richard Marshall remains free. Many people fail to forget the case including Clara’s father, a local journalist and Karen Meadows who was the Marshall’s neighbour and is now, nearly 30 years later, a Detective Inspector with the Police. When some human remains are found in ship wreck it seems as if Richard Marshall might finally be brought to justice.

This is a fairly standard police procedural with a stronger focus on the personal lives of some of the characters than is normally the case and the plot is well constructed if a bit predictable. It’s a small thing but I could have done without the protagonist promising to give up smoking every time she lit a cigarette. The book seemed to me to be full of that kind of unnecessary repetition.

For me there was nothing very engaging about any of the characters and that’s probably where my real problems with the book lie. It felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make me feel a certain way about each person at a certain time and I’m not fond of being led along like that. At some point one too many cliché was thrown into the mix and I stopped buying into the characters as anything other than plot devices.

Reviews of books I hate are easy to write (words come spilling out of my angry brain faster than my fingers can keep up) and, although a bit more difficult, I can always find plenty to say about books I love. But when my reaction to a book is, for want of a better word “blah” it’s almost impossible to find something to say. And this was just one of those books that I didn’t love and didn’t hate and doubt I’ll be able to remember in six months.

My rating 2/5

Other Stuff

A mini-review among Kerrie’s post about British, female cops in May ’08

This is billed as a standalone novel although some characters do feature in a previous book called A Moment of Madness

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3 Responses to Review: When the Dead Cry Out by Hilary Bonner

  1. Maxine says:

    I have read two or three by her (?) and have a similar reaction to you. Better than average, but not stand-out.
    I also find it hard to write reviews of books that did not move me very much either way. Hard to work up the enthusiasm or make the effort. A book that evokes a strong reaction is much easier to write about!


  2. Beth F says:

    There are so many good series out there that I think I’ll pass on this. Thanks for the honest review.


  3. Poulsen says:

    I like her style and her description of the West of England area. I look forward to more books from her hand as I actually enjoyed the two books mentioned above. I would say 3.



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