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Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Quiet Child by John Burley

Hi, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for John Burley's latest, The Quiet Child.

Cottonwood, California is a small town. The kind of town too small for its own police force, where the sheriff and the firemen are volunteer. The kind of town where everyone knows everyone's name and everyone's stories. 

Kate McCray has always called Cottonwood home, even before she was a McCray. So of course everyone knows Kate and her husband, Michael. And when Kate becomes sick, everyone sympathizes. But Kate and Michael have two sons, Sean and Danny. And Danny doesn't speak. Not only that, but ever since Danny was born, people in Cottonwood have been getting sick. And small town gossip says it's something to do with Danny. So when Danny and Sean are kidnapped, some people think maybe it's for the best that Danny is gone. 

In spite of all of that, Sheriff Jim Kent is determined to find the boys. Even when almost a week has gone by without any clue as to their whereabouts, he isn't ready to give up. It's not until Michael takes off on his own, though, that Jim gets his first big lead. 

The Quiet Child makes for a great latest from Burley.

First, there are the twists I've come to expect from one of his books. And yes, there are twists here. And even though I had them figured, it actually didn't make the book any less gripping.

Second, there's the setting. Not only is this set in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone, it's set in the 1950s. Which makes tracking down two missing boys a different sort of animal than today. And I really appreciated the attention to detail in that regard. There's a piece where Kent and the two detectives assigned to the case end up having to trace a phone call that really brings this home for the reader.

Finally, though, this is a story about family. It's about how far you'd go to protect the people you love. Michael is our predominant narrator here and he's struggling. He's struggling as a father and as a husband. His wife is dying, his youngest son doesn't speak, and he knows all too well what the townspeople say about the boy. As the story builds, it becomes clear just why people have attached this superstition to the boy who, by all accounts (and by the pieces we get from his POV), is a good kid. And yet, as the reader you have to wonder if there's merit to the belief that he could be causing the town so much pain. And why.

Not that Burley gives us a why in the end. Which is ok too, because it means this is one that sticks with you!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on John Burley and his work you can visit his website here. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble




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