The scream heard by no one is the deadliest.
In the rural parishes of Louisiana's French Triangle, young women are
disappearing one by one, only to turn up on the banks of the bayou, strangled and cast aside where they are sure to be found. But there is one trophy the killer prizes above all others, one woman who must be silenced forever....Attorney Laurel Chandler did not come back to Bayou Breaux to seek justice. That once-burning obsession had destroyed her credibility, her career, her marriage—and nearly her sanity. But when a ruthless predator strikes too close to home, she's lured into a perverse game from which there may be no escape. Once before, Laurel's cries against a monstrous evil went unanswered.
Who will listen now?
I don’t know if it’s the setting but the truth is that I always find myself completely absorbed with stories set in the Louisiana bayous. And I really wanted to read Hoag again after having enjoyed Dark Paradise so much. So one night this week I picked this one to read before bed time and the truth is that I just couldn’t stop and was kept awake half the night trying to finish it.
Laurel Chandler used to be a public prosecutor and after having lost a child abuse case she has a nervous breakdown and goes back home, to Bayou Breaux, to recuperate. She comes from a dysfunctional family and instead of staying with her mother she chooses to stay with her sister and aunt instead. Her sister particularly seems to have big problems rooted also in sexual abuse as a teenager. Also in town is Jack Boudreaux, a crime writer with a less than pristine past and a bad boy attitude that Laurel meets when she goes to confront him over his dog. She also antagonizes the local preacher who is trying to close one of the local bars. They meet and soon Laurel is seeing the good man in him and Jack is feeling protective towards her.
I must confess that I didn’t particularly like any of them. Laurel needed to grow a spine in what concerns her mother and definitely change her attitude towards her sister. Now Jack kept alternating being really bad with being really protective and I didn’t like the combination. Had the book been just about these two it might not have kept me awake but soon we discover that there’s a serial killer on the loose and someone is watching Laurel. The killer’s victims are all young women with a bad reputation and Laurel’s sister Savannah not only has one but she is bent on self destruction. I was quite curious about what Hoag was going to do with that character but I guess she chose the easy way. Either that or some people just don’t have a chance in life.
I think Hoag was particularly good at describing the swamps at night; she creates such a good atmosphere that whenever the scene change to the swamps I was immediately expecting something horrible to happen. She is also good at creating a suffocating atmosphere regarding the abuse Savannah endured and how she and Laurel always kept it a secret. You know something horrible is going to happen and you can’t stop regarding because you really want to know what it is. Hoag completely sucks you in and I must confess that my complaints with the story were all found after I read it and when I was sitting in front of the computer and trying to write this review, while I was reading it I was completely hooked.
The identity of the killer is slowly revealed so instead of a bit element of surprise you are left in doubt about whether he is going to succeed with Laurel or not. I found it an absorbing and intense read but with a really dark theme.