No One To Hear You Scream
Review: The lives of a killer and a middle-class family collide when the latter moves into a home built by the former, who lost it to foreclosure while in prison, in No One To Hear You Scream, the second novel of suspense by Julia Madeleine.
Rory Madden is living in his dream home with a prized rose garden on 20 lakefront acres in upstate New York when he's betrayed by his best friend and sent to prison for dealing drugs. While incarcerated, he's unable to make payments on the mortgage — his lawyer, believing Rory was in for a long stretch, has stolen $180,000 Rory had hidden in the garage — and he loses his home to the bank, which promptly sells it to Brett and Pamela Jameson, who are looking to get out of the city. When a legal technicality frees Rory, he vows revenge on everyone who ruined his life: his best friend, his lawyer, and most importantly, the Jamesons, who are now living in his home.
Most of the storyline involves the intersection of the lives of the four principal characters: Rory, Brett, Pamela, and the Jameson's 17-year-old daughter Justine, who is also the mother of an infant girl. Each of these characters is seriously flawed in some way, but they also have their moments of goodness and tenderness, of which they are almost afraid to embrace for fear it will make them seem weak in the eyes of others. Readers will likely be torn between disliking Rory, Brett, Pamela, and Justine for their actions, but drawn to them as individuals. Despite these generally strongly developed characters, No One To Hear You Scream is at best an uneven thriller, with several plot points introduced with the potential of generating suspense — or at least some level of unpredictability — but little derived from them. An unrelated murder by Rory occurs in the first chapter, with the decaying hand of the victim found late in the book by the Jamesons, yet they don't seem surprised by it and ultimately it is forgotten and serves no purpose plotwise. Rory's younger sister, who went missing when he was a child, an event that seems to play a big part of making him who he is today, and is hinted at times to be germane to the current events, is actually somewhat irrelevant and resolved briefly towards the end. Even the death several years earlier of Pamela's daughter and Justine's step-sister, the mystery of which is teased at for much of the book, is explained to be a simple, but tragic accident. In a whodunit, all of these examples — and there are several others — might be construed to be red herrings, but that doesn't apply here. Some excitement is generated in the final chapters, but without any significant tension to precede it, it feels rather flat.
Acknowledgment: The author provided a copy of No One To Hear You Scream for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Black Heart Books (Trade Paperback), April 2008
ISBN-13: 9780980887402; ISBN-10: 0980887402
Location(s) referenced in No One To Hear You Scream: Upstate New York
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No One To Hear You Scream by Julia Madeleine
Publisher: Black Heart Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2011
List Price: $16.95