Eric Rickstad – The Silent Girls

The Silent GirlsThere’s something compelling about murder in a rural setting. Statistically, these are the safest areas to live in and yet we read so much that takes place in what appear to be law-abiding places. Sometimes you just need to suspend your disbelief. Other times, the writer does good job at showing what happens behind closed doors. Eric Rickstad’s The Silent Girls is one such book.

In the small US town of Canaan, Vermont young girls have been disappearing. Private detective Frank Rath is hired to look for the latest missing girl, Mandy, whose mother is convinced she hasn’t just simply run away. The case has disturbing echoes for Frank who is bringing up his niece, Rachel, after the brutal murder of her parents years earlier. Now their killer is up for parole and Frank, absorbed in the hunt for the missing girls, also attempts to prevent the freeing of an earlier murderer.

Eric Rickstad is a very good writer which elevates this book above the average mystery. He manages to convey the isolation and brutality of elements of this seemingly peaceful country town. It’s a difficult trick to pull off the role of a private detective in modern times where police investigations are tightly controlled. He manages it by adding the personal element of Rath’s family history. The detective comes acres as both protective and vengeful on behalf of the girls he is trying to find.

The ultimate subject is a difficult one to tackle especially, I would imagine, in the US. I’ll leave it for readers to discover what it is as to say here would reveal too much of the plot. But he has my admiration for addressing it within a crime novel.

The Silent Girls will appeal to crime fiction readers who like a well constructed mystery that doesn’t shy away from addressing a complicated subject. Highly recommended.


18 thoughts on “Eric Rickstad – The Silent Girls

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Good to hear that this one worked for you, Sarah. I think you’re absolutely right that it’s hard to tackle a difficult subject within the context of a crime novel. Add in making a rural mystery believable and innovative and yes, that all takes talent. I’ll have to look out for this one.


  2. I like the sound of the small-town setting, and the family secrets – on the other hand the subject matter sounds difficult, a bit off-putting. I’ll have to decide later… meanwhile, have a Happy New Year! 2015 is going to be a great year for you…


  3. You’re right about the rural setting – it’s done so well for Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series, and Peter May’s Lewis books, that I’ve – tentatively – started writing about a murder happening where my parents’ live, which is another, though less remote, Scottish island (Mull.) Need first two chapters and a synopsis for a competition, and the first thing you hear is, write what you know. So it seemed to make sense to use the island setting. Anyway, this sounds good; I’ll look out for it. Great to see more reviews from you again Sarah, and Happy New Year to you, and I wish you a ton of success in 2015 with In Bitter Chill. x


    1. You’re writing, Linda? How wonderful. Good luck with it and if you need a reader, I’m here. Rural is close to my heart as it’s where I live. It has its disadvantages but is a very special place.


  4. Sarah, Thanks again for the review. I am glad you appreciated THE SILENT GIRLS. I read your reviews to see what I should (or shouldn’t) add to my stack. Good luck with your debut in 2015. Cheers, Eric


  5. Pingback: Review: THE SILENT GIRLS by Eric Rickstad | Reactions to Reading

  6. tracybham

    Don’t know how I missed this originally. Very nice review. Setting sounds good, not sure about the rest. I will wait and see.. maybe someday it will show up at a book sale and I will decide to give it a try.


  7. Pingback: The one without the maple syrup in a darker Vermont | Smithereens

Leave a Reply to Sarah Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.