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In Silence
     

In Silence

4.4 30
by Erica Spindler
 

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Journalist Avery Chauvin is devastated when she receives word of her father's suicide. How could her father, a dedicated physician, have taken his own life? That he set himself on fire is unfathomable.

Returning to her hometown of Cypress Springs, Louisiana, Avery desperately searches for answers. Instead she hears whispered rumors of strange happenings, of

Overview

Journalist Avery Chauvin is devastated when she receives word of her father's suicide. How could her father, a dedicated physician, have taken his own life? That he set himself on fire is unfathomable.

Returning to her hometown of Cypress Springs, Louisiana, Avery desperately searches for answers. Instead she hears whispered rumors of strange happenings, of neighbors who go missing in the night. She discovers a box of old newspaper articles in her father's house, all covering the horrific murder of a local woman. Why had her father kept them?

Then the past and present collide. A woman is found brutally slain. An outsider passing through town vanishes. And Avery begins to wonder, could her father have been the victim of foul play?

As each step closer to the truth exposes yet another layer of deceit, Avery must face the fact that in this peaceful Southern town a terrible evil resides, protected—until now— by the power of silence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The old adage, "You can't go home again," doesn't apply to Cypress Springs, La., a picaresque little town that goes to extreme-and sometimes deadly-lengths to keep the outside world and its corrupting influences at bay. The town's outward calm provides an eerie counterpoint to the struggle occurring beneath the surface, which makes it the perfect setting for Spindler's latest thriller (after Dead Run). When investigative reporter Avery Chauvin returns to Cypress Springs to put her father's affairs in order after his apparent suicide, she takes comfort in the familiar attentions of her high school sweetheart, Matt Stevens, and his loving family, who treat her as one of their own. It soon becomes apparent, however, that things aren't as they seem. For starters, the Stevens clan seems uneasy, particularly when she mentions Hunter, Matt's fraternal twin. Then she receives a call that leads her to suspect that her dad was murdered. Her fears are sharpened when a local woman turns up dead, and "outsider" Gwen Lancaster tells Avery about her brother's disappearance. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Avery's investigative instincts take a while to kick in, but once they do, she uncovers clues indicating that a vigilante group has taken it upon itself to police and punish the town's citizens. Most disturbing is the fact that Hunter, with whom Avery becomes romantically involved, fits the killer's profile. While smoothly written, the book's absurdly macabre (and somewhat implausible) denouement will disappoint. Still, once readers get past the sluggish first half, they'll be chilled by the town's creepy Big Brother rhetoric and pulled inexorably onward by the question of whodunit. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781551666990
Publisher:
Mira
Publication date:
05/27/2003
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.22(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

In Silence


By Erica Spindler

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551666995


Chapter One

Cypress Springs, Louisiana Thursday, October 17, 2002, 3:30 a.m.

The one called the Gavel waited patiently. The woman would come soon, he knew. He had been watching her. Learning her schedule, her habits. Those of her neighbors as well.

Tonight she would learn the price of moral corruption.

He moved his gaze over the woman's darkened bedroom. Garments strewn across the matted carpeting. Dresser top littered with an assortment of cosmetic bottles and jars, empty Diet Coke and Miller Lite cans, gum and candy wrappers. Cigarette butts spilled from an overflowing ashtray.

A pig as well as a whore.

Twin feelings of resignation and disgust flowed over him. Had he expected anything different from a woman like her? An alley cat who bedded a new man nearly every night?

He was neither prude nor saint. Nor was he naive. These days few waited for marriage to consummate their relationship. He could live with that; he understood physical urges.

But excesses such as hers would not be tolerated in Cypress Springs. The Seven had voted. It had been unanimous. As their leader, it was his responsibility to make her understand.

The Gavel glanced at the bedside clock. He had been waiting nearly an hour. It wouldn't be long now. Tonight she had gone to CJ's, a bar on the west side of town, one frequented by the hard-partying crowd. She had left with a man named DuBroc. As was her MO, they had gone to his place. To the Gavel's knowledge, this was a first offense for DuBroc. He would be watched as well. And if necessary, warned.

From the front of the apartment came the sound of the door lock turning over. The door opening, then clicking shut. A shudder moved over him. Of distaste for the inevitable. He wasn't a predator, as some might label him. Predators sought the small and weak, either to sustain themselves or for twisted self-gratification.

Nor was he a bloodthirsty monster or sadist.

He was an honorable man. God-fearing, law-abiding. A patriot.

But as were the other members of The Seven, he was a man driven to desperate measures. To protect and defend all he held dear.

Women like this one soiled the community, they contributed to the moral decay running rampant in the world.

They were not alone, of course. Those who drank to excess, those who lied, cheated, stole; those who broke not only the laws of man but those of God as well.

The Seven had formed to combat such corruptions. For the Gavel and his six generals, it wasn't about punishing the sinful but about maintaining a way of life. A way of life Cypress Springs had enjoyed for over a hundred years. A community where people could still walk the streets at night, where neighbor helped neighbor, where family values were more than a phrase tossed about by political candidates.

Honesty. Integrity. The Golden Rule. All were alive and well in Cypress Springs. The Seven had dedicated themselves to ensuring it stayed that way.

The Gavel likened individual immorality to the flesh-eating bacteria that had been in the news so much a few years back. A fisherman had contracted necrotizing fasciitis through a small cut on his hand. Once introduced to the body, it ate its covering until only a putrid, grotesque patchwork remained. So, too, was the effect of individual immorality on a community. His job was to make certain that didn't happen.

The Gavel listened intently. The woman hummed under her breath as she made her way toward the back of the apartment and the bedroom where he waited. The self-satisfied sound sickened him.

He eased to his feet, moved toward the door. She stepped through. He grabbed her from behind, dragged her to his chest and covered her mouth with one gloved hand to stifle her screams. She smelled of cheap perfume, cigarettes. Sex.

"Elaine St. Claire," he said against her ear, voice muffled by the ski mask he wore. "You have been judged and found guilty. Of contributing to the moral decay of this community. Of attempting to cause the ruination of a way of life that has existed for over a century. You must pay the price."

He forced her to the bed. She struggled against him, her attempts pitiable. A mouse battling a mountain lion.

He knew what she thought - that he meant to rape her. He would sooner castrate himself than to join with a woman such as her. Besides, what kind of punishment would that be? What kind of warning?

No, he had something much more memorable in mind for her.

He stopped a foot from the bed. With the hand covering her mouth, he forced her gaze down. To the mattress. And the gift he had made just for her.

He had fashioned the instrument out of a baseball bat, one of the miniature, commemorative ones fans bought in stadium gift shops. He had covered the bat with flattened tin cans - choosing Diet Coke, her soft drink of choice - peeling back V-shaped pieces of the metal to form a kind of sharp, scaly skin. The trickiest part had been the double-edged knife blade he had imbedded in the bat's rounded tip.

He was aware of the exact moment she saw it. She stilled. Terror rippled over her - a new fear, one born from the horror of the unimaginable.

"For you, Elaine," he whispered against her ear. "Since you love to fuck so much, your punishment will be to give you what you love."

She recoiled and pressed herself against him. Her response pleased him and he smiled, the black ski mask stretching across his mouth with the movement.

He could almost pity her. Almost but not quite. She had brought this fate upon herself.

"I designed it to open you from cervix to throat," he continued, then lowered his voice. "From the inside, Elaine. It will be an excruciating way to die. Organs torn to shreds from within. Massive bleeding will lead to shock. Then coma. And finally, death. Of course, by that point you will pray for death to take you."

She made a sound, high and terrified. Trapped.

"Do you think it would be possible to be fucked to death, Elaine? Is that how you'd like to die?"

She fought as he inched her closer. "Imagine what it will feel like inside you, Elaine. To feel your insides being ripped to shreds, the pain, the helplessness. Knowing you're going to die, wishing for death to come swiftly."

He pressed his mouth closer to her ear. "But it won't. Perhaps, mercifully, you'll lose consciousness. Perhaps not. I could keep you alert, there are ways, you know. You'll beg for mercy, pray for a miracle. No miracle will come. No hero rushing in to save the day. No one to hear your screams."

She trembled so violently he had to hold her erect. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

"This will be your only warning," he continued. "Leave Cypress Springs immediately. Quietly. Tell no one. Not your friends, your employer or landlord. If you speak to anyone, you'll be killed. The police cannot help you, do not contact them. If you do, you'll be killed. If you stay, you'll be killed. Your death will be horrible, I promise you that."

He released her and she crumpled into a heap on the floor. He stared down at her shaking form. "There are many of us and we are always watching. Do you understand, Elaine St. Claire?"

She didn't answer and he bent, grabbed a handful of her hair and yanked her face up toward his. "Do you understand?"

"Y-yes," she whispered. "Anythi ... I'll do ... anything."

A small smile twisted his lips. His generals would be pleased.

He released her. "Smart girl, Elaine. Don't forget this warning. You're now the master of your own fate."

The Gavel retrieved the weapon and walked away. As he let himself out, the sound of her sobs echoed through the apartment.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from In Silence by Erica Spindler Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author



Catching a summer cold changed Erica Spindler's life forever.

Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and MFA in the visual arts. Then in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn't read a romance in years but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up--and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself.

The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling. Since that day, Erica has published more than twenty novels. Her titles have been published all over the world and Red was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as "thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your-seat whodunits" and The Times Picayune praised 2003's In Silence, calling it "Creepy and compelling; a real page turner."

Erica is a USA TODAY, New York Times extended, Waldenbooks and amazon.com bestseller. In 2002, her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death award for her novel Forbidden Fruit and is a three-time RITA award finalist. In 1999 Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen-Up award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998. Praisedby booksellers as "The best suspense novel I've ever read" and "A perfect 10 out of 10," Erica's 2004 release See Jane Die is the story of a woman who must face her darkest fears when her husband becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murders of two women.

Erica and her husband--a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy--met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hailed from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing--fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head-over-heels in love with the city.

Erica is currently at work on her next thriller for MIRA Books.

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In Silence 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I have read of erica I must say it was different than some other murder books I have read.it was a page turner.kept you guessing who the killer was. It had 59 short chapter and 366 pages. I would recommend it to buy and read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful thriller page turner
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a real nail bitter, sit on the edge of your seat, stay up all night, & can't put down novel......A definite must read
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LindaOlds More than 1 year ago
Once again, Eric Spindler has caught me in her web of intrigue. I couldn't put this book down until the very end. The gripping mystery held you in it's spell right to it's surprising conclusion. I wouldn't start it at night if I were you because you will be up until dawn. Absolutely riveting!!!!
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KristenH More than 1 year ago
This is a great book from Erica Spindler. It has twists and turns on every page of drama and intrigue. You'll be at the edge of your seat. A great thriller! When Avery learns her father committed suicide, she's shocked to hear it. As a journalist, Avery returns to her home in Cypress Springs, Louisiana, and tries to put together the pieces of what happened. She later learns, that he set his house in life. Also, strange things have been happening, even when she's reunited with her former flame, Hunter Stevens, and meets his family, which have been acting strange. And when she digs deeper, she's in the line of fire of a vigilante group who wants to punish people, and vows to never go home again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No matter who you're rooting for, you're always left surprised at every twist and turn with In Silence. With every new character, mood change, and evidence found, all you want to do is keep turning pages. Erica Spindler takes you on another enticing road of a Journalist who has moved back to her home town in lieu of her father's death. What she finds is not what she expected from her quiet town of Cypress Springs, Louisiana. The longer Avery Chauvin stays in town, the more mysterious things become. For everyone who lives there, life is fine aside from the occasional death; to an outsider, it's a trip with numbered days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book.....I don't know where she comes up with it all. Such a Great suspenceful book. Couldn't put the book down. ove all the references to louisiana and new orleans. Makes it more real!
raeswords More than 1 year ago
You can't help but get into Erica's books. She has the knack to suck you right in and you can't get out until you have finished.The charachters are great and the whole story is told so well. So grab what you pleasure and curl up and we will see you when your done reading. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have read by Erica Spindler. The first was 'Bone Cold' also excellent reading but 'In Silence' was the best. I couldn't put it down. It keeps you on the edge of your seat to find out who did it. I will keep reading all of her books, she is an excellent writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book last night. it had me on the edge the whole time. never would have guessed who it was. i have every one of ericas books and will keep on reading them as long as shes writing them