Cover Image: Out of the Silence

Out of the Silence

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Member Reviews

I've had this book for years, I still haven't, unfortunately, got to it, so this is a placeholder review to reduce my shelf for my own sanity, but will replace this if I ever get to the book
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Sadly, I did not like this book. It felt more like the story line was forced and not as believable as I would have liked. I recommend, however, that you read this and form your own opinion as not every book is for everyone.
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This is a crazy powerful book. This is a difficult book to review due to the subject matter and my personal experience visiting Pakistan. Is there love in this country? Yes, not everyone agrees with marriage equaling slavery for women. And Jameel and Afra have a beautiful, inspiring love between them. They have a connection that gives you hope of change in the way men treat women in that country. Because the current situation, in this book, showcases abuse of the worst kind. And I believe this is a very accurate description of real life.
Owen Mullen takes every character in this book and makes them so alive in your hands and has you experience their journey to the point you feel their aches, their pains, you cry tears with them. You get angry, sad, happy, enraged with them. You celebrate their wins (and yes, in this book there are some murders I call absolute wins). The characters are solid and very well developed. Your heart will break for some while you'll hate others with every fiber of your being.
This book is a murder mystery, it's a love story and it's a woman's/human rights piece all wrapped up together. You will be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what exactly is happening and who is doing it. There are parts of this book that are extremely hard to read, because you know this is really happening in Pakistan. It's emotional and thought provoking.
I highly recommend this book. I picked it up after reading another strong review for it. And I'm so glad I did. Once you pick it up you can't put it down. And I want to check out everything else this author has written. I wish I could articulate my words better, because whatever I say simply does not do this book justice. Just pick it up and read it.

My thanks to Owen Mullen, Bloodhound Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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EXCERPT: 'The history of women in Pakistan is the history of oppression. All about power and inexcusable excesses.'

'Go on.'

'In this country, women are the property of men. Let me do something shocking for a female here. Let me buy you a drink and tell you the everyday circumstances of life that exists in this country, the world outside refuses to believe. And when I finish, if you don't see it as I do, I won't ask for your help. You're not in a hurry, I hope?'

I was a newspaperman and she was a lovely woman with a tale to tell with her hand in her pocket to buy me a drink. 

No, I wasn't in a hurry. 

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A powerful new thriller from a critically-acclaimed and bestselling author.
Star investigative reporter Ralph Buchanan’s glory days are behind him. His newspaper has banished him to Pakistan, not knowing the greatest moment of his long career is waiting for him there.

When Simone Jasnin asks him to help expose a grave injustice, he finds himself embroiled in a harrowing tale that began in a dusty settlement in rural Punjab, setting in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of everyone involved.

Seven years later in the city of Lahore, members of a prominent family are being brutally murdered one by one. The only clue is a hand-carved wooden bangle left at the scene of each crime.

As the list of suspects grows and the tension mounts, Ralph realises the answers might be closer to home than he ever thought possible.

Solving the mystery will put him back on top but at what cost?

Only when the smoke clears will the killing stop and honour be satisfied…

MY THOUGHTS: I was privileged enough to have read Owen's original manuscript for this book, then titled The Blue Rock, several years ago. It blew me away then and, even though this must be my fourth or fifth reading, its impact has not diminished. 

This is a powerful book. Contemporary faction, because it happens every day. Even here in New Zealand, a brother killed his sister recently for bringing dishonor upon his family. I was tempted to classify Out of the Silence as horror. It is horrific what people do to one another, are able to justify to themselves and others, and are actually proud of themselves. 

Owen doesn't pull any punches with his writing. He tells it as it is, and demonstrates a great deal of understanding and knowledge while still writing with compassion. 

A big thank you to Owen Mullen for having the courage to write this book, and for his perseverance in his quest to get it published. A big thank you too, to Bloodhound Books for publishing Out of the Silence. 

If you only read one book this year, make it Out of the Silence. It is impossible to read and not be moved. 

💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Owen Mullen is a McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year 
long-listed novelist.
And So It Began earned a coveted Sunday Times Crime Club ⭐Star Pick.

Owen Mullen graduated from Strathclyde University, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; Owen still loves to perform on occasion. His great love for travel has taken him on many adventures from the Amazon and Africa to the colourful continent of India and Nepal. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow, and their home away from home in the Greek Islands where the Charlie Cameron and Delaney series', and the In Harm's Way psychological thriller were created.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Owen Mullen for allowing me to read the early draft, and Bloodhound Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Out of the Silence for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2695706866
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Perfect psychological thriller!  It moved at a fast pace with twists and turns throughout!  I couldn’t put it down!  Highly recommend!
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This is a very different type of book from what this author normally pens.  It is shocking in its depiction of life in Pakistan back in the 90s, for women.  They suffered abuse, neglect, terror, and misogyny.  This describes this is graphic detail.

Childhood friends Afra and Jameel are close, but due to their backgrounds, it is not meant to be.  Afra's mother is widowed but has high expectations of who her daughter will marry.  Jameel just doesn't cut it so she refused his request for her hand in marriage.

The story brings together Afra, found badly injured near to the hospital and Dr. Simone Jasnin who not only treats her but takes a statement about what has happened.

A once successful investigative reporter, Ralph Buchan, whose life has lead to him drinking excessively, now had a chance to redeem himself.  This could be the story of his career.

Again, the goings on leave the reader with shock.  The author has pointed out all the atrocious acts carried out again women.

This is a good read, and I can highly recommend it.  This is well presented as things were and sensitively handled.

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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Cultural heritage meets murder mystery in this enthralling new release from Owen Mullen.

In the Pakistani village of Mundhi, Jameel and Afra have grown up together and as teenagers they fall in love. They dream of a married life together in their small village, but fate sends them in different directions, albeit to the same location - the teeming city of Lahore. Jameel is searching for his great-uncle; a relative he has never met. Afra, on the other hand, has been sold into marriage with Quasim, a wealthy businessman. All that continues to bind the young couple is their undying love, and a double set of wooden bangles, handed down through generations of Jameel's family. Afra has one set while Jameel holds onto the other.

Years pass and Afra's childless marriage has relegated her to the role of slave within her husband's family. While Afra is used and abused within her own home, Jameel has really fallen on his feet, becoming a great success on the Lahore business scene under the patronage of his elderly relative.

In a night of violence and terror, Afra is suddenly removed from her marriage and her home. Close to death, she crosses paths with Simone Jasnin, a French-Pakistani doctor working at a hospital in rural Punjab. Afra tells Simone every detail of her heartbreaking story. Then, a year later, members of Quasim's family are being murdered one by one, with the murderer leaving behind no evidence but their calling card - a wooden bangle.

This was a fascinating story that I didn't want to put down. At times the details of Afra's (and others like her) treatment are hard to bear, but at no point did I think it was exaggerated. It came across as realistic within the context of the patriarchal, misogynistic society that Mullen has portrayed here. Although the murders didn't really begin until about the final third of the book, the long build worked beautifully to increase the tension and set up my frenzied read through to the unexpected end!

My only fault with this book was that some of the characterisation was a bit uneven. Ralph (who I haven't even mentioned above) the British journalist was very well fleshed out, but Simone less so. I would have liked to know her better. And some of the Pakistani male characters, such as Quasim's brothers, were little more than caricatures. However, it all made sense in the end, as I think the author did this deliberately to string out the mystery for as long as possible.

Highly recommended.
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I'm not really sure how to review this book. It's not a story to be enjoyed, the poor plight of women in Pakistan being to the fore. However, it's not a story to be put down either. Owen Mullen tackles some serious issues in Out Of The Silence, and tackles them well. We follow two stories, those of childhood sweethearts Afra and Jameel, growing up in a small village in the Punjab region of Pakistan. However, they are not allowed to marry, and fate takes them in entirely different directions. Jameel goes to Lahore in search of his uncle, a successful businessman who owns several restaurants, yet Jameel is not sure of his whereabouts and his late mother hadn't heard from him since before Jameel was born. Afra, on the other hand, is sold by her mother into a loveless marriage with a rich businessman and she also ends up in Lahore. She is treated as a slave, used and abused, not realising that Jameel is not far away. One day she is left for dead in the grounds of a hospital and, under the care of French-Pakistani doctor Simone, she tells her tale. Soon after family members of Afra's husband are being murdered, the only clue is a wooden bangle is being left at the scene of each crime. There are only two sets of these bangles, one belonging to Jameel, the other to Afra, bangles meant to bring them back together no matter what. Simone brings in washed up British journalist Ralph into the picture, telling him Afra's story, and Ralph doggedly sets out after the truth of the murders. Who is leaving the bangles? Will Jameel and Afra ever find each other?
This is a powerful story, beautifully told, yet, as I mentioned earlier, not one to be enjoyed. It brings to light issues many Westerners don't know about, or just don't want to think about. This is one to keep you up late into the night, lamenting the distressing state of Afra and her Pakistani sisters, and the brutality of a misogynistic culture. Kudos goes to Owen Mullen for raising awareness on this issue. Recommended reading.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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