Cover Image: The Silent Conversation

The Silent Conversation

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he Silent Conversation is the 13th Anderson & Costello modern police procedural thriller by Caro Ramsay. Released 7th Dec 2021 by Canongate on their Severn House imprint, it's 256 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a modern procedural with a returning ensemble cast set in Glasgow. It's gritty and realistic with a complex dynamic which is very well written. Although the mystery is self contained in this book, readers who are already familiar with the returning characters and their interrelationships will have an advantage. Like many police procedurals, there are lots of disparate plot threads which wind together more tightly as the book goes on. The author is quite gifted with immersive atmospheric ambience and the Glasgow setting was believable and encompassing. There are some graphic descriptions of violence and death. It's not egregious, and it's central to the plot, but some of it was quite realistically written.

The denouement (especially the epilogue) was top notch, well written, fraught, and effective. It was a satisfying end to a well written book. I'll go back and pick up the earlier books in the series, though there are major spoilers in this book which will color earlier installments. If readers are planning to read this one, I would recommend picking up the backlist first.

Four stars. This is a really well written modern murder mystery with interesting, intelligent, and believable characters.. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This is my second time reading an episode in the Anderson and Costello procedural series set in Scotland. This is a complex, well developed story with two story lines: the upcoming fourth anniversary of the disappearance of young Johnny Clearwater from a family wedding and the death of a young woman in an upscale, gated community under odd circumstances. Both cases are more complicated than they initially appear.

Anderson and Costello have been partners for some years now and they bicker at times like married partners, harping on each other’s perceived weak points. But the strength of their relationship is felt. All of the characters, whether police or civilian, are well developed and multi-faceted which adds to the story lines. These people feel real and act from real emotions.

I do recommend this book and series. I intend to find more of the earlier books in the series. But I was able to follow this story without problem with adequate back story provided.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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I have read a few books in the Anderson and Costello series and found them to be a bit hit and miss. Unfortunately this falls into the latter category for me. In present day Glasgow the murder of a woman has links to the disappearance of a 4 year old boy, 4 years ago. There is a good plot here and I liked the setting but I found the writing did not flow and for me this meant I could not entirely absorb myself in the novel.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this digital ARC.
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If any series makes it as far as book 13 you know it will be a great series. 

The Silent Conversation, is part of the Anderson & Costello Mystery Series, it could be read as a standalone but this book does reference Book 5, The Night Hunter, at times and it is best if you had read The Night Hunter or you may feel lost at times. 

If we were speaking about the series in a whole I would tell you none of them are a disappointment, however, the series does get better as it gets further along. The character development builds up after each book. 

This book is told from 3 points of view, both detectives and an eye witness to the crime, Carol Holman. Carol, I would consider an unreliable witness but I wont go into too much detail as I do not want to spoil anything. The crime is centered around a female police officer being attacked in front of her home. 

I would consider this a police procedural book with a murder mystery twist. I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone who has read any of the previous series novels.
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This book got me gripped from the first page, up until the last. Intense, fascinating characters, I couldn't wait to keep reading about.
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest, independent review.

Four years ago, four-year-old Johnny Clearwater disappeared without a trace. A TV documentary series revisits the case, dragging up the past, looking to solve the mystery. 

On the night of the documentary, a female police officer is murdered. But when detectives Anderson and Costello arrive at the scene, an exclusive complex, they find nothing is straightforward about this crime. And when DNA evidence later links missing Johnny to the present-day murder, the pressure is on to find the link... and find Johnny.

I admit I struggled at first as I did not know at first when requesting from Netgalley that The Silent Conversation was part of a series. However, as soon as I got stuck into the story, I realised that didn't matter, as enough background information on the characters is provided for the novel to be read as a standalone book, and I was able to enjoy the story without feeling lost.

The novel was told from many points of view - mainly Anderson and Costello, though I was intrigued by Carol, a recluse living in the exclusive complex, and enjoyed the insight she provided into the crime from a different angle to that of the detectives.

Many threads were weaved together throughout to form one gritty, engaging, character-driven novel. Full of interesting, realistic characters, and I particularly loved the relationship between the two main characters, detectives Anderson and Costello, who despite working closely together, do not always agree! I will definitely read more from this series.
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The silent conversation by Caro Ramsey. 
An Anderson & Costello Mystery Book 13.
When DNA evidence links a present-day murder to the disappearance of a young boy four years earlier, detectives Anderson & Costello are plunged into a baffling mystery.
It’s been four years since four-year-old Johnny Clearwater disappeared without trace one hot summer afternoon. Now, a new TV documentary series is revisiting the case, dredging up memories perhaps best left forgotten.
A brilliant read.  I love this author.  Great story and characters.  5*.
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This book, The Silent Conversation is the thirteenth in Caro Ramsay's Anderson & Costello mysteries and my fourth in the series; I dived in at book ten in The Sideman.

The Silent Conversation is a splendid novel. Set in Glasgow, with its mixture of clever plotting, suspense and with the Scottish location this is an exhilarating, intense read. The novel is told mostly from Anderson and Costello’s points of view. I really like their characters, particularly DI Costello with her snarky comments and antiseptic realism and I appreciated the cocktail of current investigative duties (although they have links to a previous novel, The Night Hunter which you might want to read) and personal matters in this novel. The inclusion of PC Ruby Redding brings freshness and the well-plotted narrative comes with a sizeable chunk of good twists leading this reader to struggle with the puzzle pieces and there are some unexpected surprises. I am inspired to continue to read more from this series and accomplished author.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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EXCERPT: Do you ever hear anything at night like someone moving around? That might be Sven or Murdo.

Obviously, with the way this place was built originally, the first and second floors are continuous round the whole quad. So through the wall from me is one of the rooms where Sven runs his business. I think he must be up during the night. He looks like the sort who needs little sleep - he has a type of restless energy about him. Murdo collects all kind of weird stuff and stores it in the attic. Pauline told me he has a humidifier and everything.

Or it might be the noises of the spirit of the man who died in the vat of pure alcohol. However, sometimes when I am upstairs, looking out of the window the way you do when you can't sleep, I see a face at the window on the corner. Or maybe that's the gin. This is a weird place we live in.

ABOUT 'THE SILENT CONVERSATION': It's been four years since four-year-old Johnny Clearwater disappeared without trace one hot summer afternoon. Now, a new TV documentary series is revisiting the case, dredging up memories perhaps best left forgotten.
On the night the TV show is broadcast, detectives Anderson and Costello are called out to investigate the murder of a female police officer. On arriving at the scene, they discover that nothing about this death is as straightforward as it would appear. What was the victim doing in the garden of the exclusive gated residence where she was found? How did she die? Why is the key witness so reluctant to speak to them? Even the off-duty police officer who was first on the scene isn't telling them everything.
The pressure intensifies when a link is discovered between the dead woman and the disappearance of Johnny Clearwater four years earlier. What secrets are lurking behind the closed doors of this small, exclusive community . . . and what really happened to little Johnny Clearwater?

MY THOUGHTS: Although The Silent Conversation is the 13th book in this series, it is the first that I have read. The mystery is a complex one, multi-layered and twisting but is able to be read as a stand-alone despite references to an earlier case which is well-explained.

I really enjoyed the characters and getting to know them. By far the most interesting character is Carol Holman, a new resident at the Maltman. She is clearly an extremely intelligent woman, yet a recluse who has suffered some great trauma.

The two main characters are DCI Colin Anderson and DI Costello. Although they work well together, they often don't see eye to eye. Costello, although dedicated, can be hard to like. She is often abrasive and has no home life, while Anderson sees the birth of his third child with Down's syndrome as a chance to redress his work/life balance.

There's a lot going on in this book, and an equally large cast of characters which, at times, became a little confusing. But, Ramsay has written a dark, gritty and gripping thriller which I read over the course of a day. There are plenty of secrets, manipulative characters, smoke and mirrors, and unexpected twists that kept me entertained and wanting more from this author.

I admit to initially being attracted by the title - it intrigued me, and am pleased that I followed my instinct. The title is perfect for the book.


#TheSilentConversation #NetGalley

I: #caroramsay @severnhouseimprint

T: @CaroRamsayBooks @severnhouse

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #mystery #suspense

THE AUTHOR: Caro Ramsay was born and brought up in Glasgow, and now lives in a village on the west coast of Scotland. She is an osteopath, acupuncturist and former marathon runner, who devotes much of her time to the complementary treatment of injured wildlife at a local rescue centre. (Amazon)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House, Canongate Books, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Silent Conversation by Caro Ramsay for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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I made the mistake of starting this book at bedtime and almost gave up as there are so many characters thro2n at you in the early chapters. I did stick with it and enjoyed it more when I wasn’t  as sleepy but I still think it’s an overly complex book both in threads of multiple stories and again so very many characters. 
The development of these characters looses something in the whole melee and a lot of them seem fairly one dimensional. They all have a story to tell though…that’s the problem unfortunately.
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The Silent Conversation is the thirteenth book in the Anderson & Costello series by British author, Caro Ramsay. On a hot June night when the BBC airs a program featuring an appeal for information about the abduction of a toddler four years earlier, and a review of a serial killer case, a young woman in police uniform dies in the garden of an exclusive gated residence. A man in a baseball cap runs off. An off-duty police officer renders assistance but fails to save her. There is a reluctant witness.

Glasgow Police DCI Colin Anderson and DI Costello are puzzled by many aspects of the case, not least, that she is unknown to police. Mobile phone, laptop and handbag missing. Car not located. Only a tucked -away credit card finally identifies her. What really mystifies them is the trace of DNA on her person belonging to that missing toddler from four years ago.

Maltman Green looks like a little idyll in the middle of the city: four residences converted from a former brewery, surrounding a private green. Two families who own the property, and two tenants. All very friendly. But are appearances deceiving? Is everyone quite who and what they say they are? And when police finally interview the woman who saw it happen, why does her story not quite tally with that of the heroic off-duty constable?

DI Costello feels that their unit has lost cohesion: Anderson is distracted by his new grandson; Mulholland, by his nascent media career; for her, a sensitive anniversary looms. Nonetheless, and despite the red herrings that lead them (and the reader) astray, they do manage to sort out just who is who, and who might have had motive to take that missing boy.

While Anderson seems fixated on the driver of a car accident that left a young boy severely disabled, Costello is more convinced that a faux Swede, or a lying constable, or a half-brother of the dead woman, somehow fit the frame. The truth, ultimately, is quite tangled. 

Ramsay uses multiple narrators to tell the story, including one who is anonymous but is apparently held captive somewhere in the gated residence. While this novel can easily stand alone, the reader may be at a disadvantage not knowing the back stories of the main characters, and there are spoilers for the fifth book in the series, The Night Hunter. Excellent British crime fiction.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Canongate/Severn House.
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Caro Ramsay never disappoints and this gritty, dark and twisty thriller was a gripping and highly entertaining read.
There's a lot going on in this book, there's plenty of secrets and hidden truths, something from the past.
The plot is solid and the twists surprised me. The characters are fleshed out, not always likeable but realistic.
I cant' wait to read the next story.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This was a book that could have had a great story behind it but I found that the execution didn’t work for me at all. I read until the end because sometimes the last third of the book redeems itself if it’s a slower start, but unfortunately, the ending was very anti-climactic. There were so many aspects of the story that needed to be revealed, and I felt that they were just laid out very casually without any sort of buildup or intrigue.

I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters because there were so many and not really much of a deep focus on any of them. For the first half of the book, I struggled to keep any of the characters straight. I just seemed to feel so much disconnect to the story and the people involved that I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

There were definitely some cool aspects to the novel that I would’ve loved to read about if they were presented differently. But overall, I was disappointed with this one and there were many times where I almost decided not to finish it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for providing a free copy! I will be posting my review on my Bookstagram account (@janinesbookcorner) sometime this week for its pub date.
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The latest addition in the Anderson and Costello series, set in Glasgow, is one of my favourite series. They are fascinating characters, who feed off each other, and this case is very intriguing. It's complex, has a fascinating plot and is brim filled with a variety of interesting characters. I really loved the story, although at times I struggled to keep up, but I can really recommend the read which kept me engrossed to the last page. It is part of a series but works well as a stand alone and is sure to be another winner for the author. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.
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The Silent Conversation by Caro Ramsey has multiple moving parts keeping  the readers on their toes. In the early part of the book, the reader might think it is going to be a police procedural about the murder of a young woman. This thought is made uneasy as the book shifts through multiple points of view, including an unnamed character and a witness whose own story is horrific and unknown to her nearest neighbors. To add to the complexity, there are the stories of the detectives and police constables involved in the case. Some of these stories are directly related to the issue at hand, some are private stories which nonetheless color how they proceed through the investigation.

All these factors combine to create an atmosphere of uncertainty throughout the book. It’s an atmosphere that creates the feeling that the reader is seeing a beautiful setting that, if pulled back, will reveal something dark and unpleasant, perhaps even evil. The question for the reader is who is truly as good and honest as they appear, and who is wearing that as a persona that hides a rotten core.

As the book begins, readers may expect two stories to intertwine; that of a young woman who is apparently killed inside a locked compound and the four year old kidnapping case of an unrelated child. As the characters come more into focus their stories change and develop, adding to the complexity of the book and to their role within the story. Then, when the reader least expects it, Ramsey throws in a twist that turns everything on its ear and completely changes the focus of the book.

To say that the story has a major twist would be an understatement. There are actually multiple twists which occur at an increased pace as the end of the book nears. I can imagine burned dinners, lost sleep, missed activities happening as readers become more involved with the twists and turns of this book and become more reluctant to put it down without learning where this twist or that turn will lead them.

This is the thirteenth book in the Anderson and Costello series, and while it functions well as a stand-alone, readers may benefit from having read earlier books to help establish relationships among the investigative team. I appreciate the opportunity to review an advanced copy from Severn House Publishing. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
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A multi layered police procedural with the established team of Anderson and Costello. The plot is carefully devised if. A little complex needing concentration to keep track. I found the storyline intriguing but the reference to previous incidents in earlier books of the series disconcerting as I had not read the Night Hunter . A lot of characters to keep track of butvanother good addition to the series
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Oh My! Blink and we're now at book 13 in this series... Which, unlike some which reach this level, shows no signs of flagging. I do love a long running series as it gives me a chance to really invest in the characters and look forward to reconnecting with them in their next outing.
So... what does the author have in store for our dynamic duo Anderson and Costello in this book...? Well, it's a cold case this time. At least it starts off that way. The anniversary of the disappearance of 4yo Johnny Clearwater is approaching and there's a new TV show which is bringing the case up again, big time. On the same night the show is broadcast, the police are called to the death of one of their own. Found in the garden of a gated community where they don't live. Her death is a bit strange and the residents of the community stranger. It's going to take a lot to get to the bottom of things. And that's before there's a link to Johnny which throws a big spanner into the works...
I cleared my decks before starting this book as I knew it would suck me in and hold me captive throughout. And it did. I love this series, the characters and the no nonsense writing style of the author. The heinous crimes described and the humour to keep it all balanced. As well as the main two characters, there's a whole host of other series characters, and these are just as carefully utilised within the narrative. We also have the usual necessary episode characters, all with their parts to play and. as usual, they play them very well.
The storyline is interesting and intriguing and gets on with itself very well as it twists and turns to a cracking conclusion without the need for any superfluous waffle or padding.
All in all, a worth addition to an already well established (and loved) series. Which, if you don't mind me says is best attacked from book one and read in order. Me, I'm just hanging for the next book. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Its a crime novel which is not my usual read but I was gripped and read the whole thing in 2 days I must explain why I've only given in 3.5⭐. 
The problem was in the synopsis it fails to mention that part of this story is from a previous book by the author (The Night Hunter) and this is actually the 13th book in a series featuring the lead detectives DCI Anderson and DC Costello. I only found this out after I finished the book and looked through other reviews to try and make sense of the outcomes.
 I loved the story, it had lots of elements to draw you in but I did occasionally struggle to keep track of who was who, I thought it was just me being ditsy but after finding out it's part of a series I realized why I struggled. 
Although this did just about stand up as a stand alone book I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read the previous novels. ...Its probably my own fault for not researching it properly before requesting it on Netgalley but I was so tempted by the synopsis and cover that I just tapped request as you do!

Thanks to the @canongatebooks
@netgalley and #caroramsay for the ARC of this book
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I admit to having struggled a bit with this one, which is told from the perspectives of DIs Anderson and Costello and Carol, a witness to a murder.  Ramsay writes complex procedurals in a gritty Glasgow setting, which I like very much, but there are a lot of characters to keep straight.  And, more importantly, in this latest, the murder is linked to events  in a novel several volumes back in the series = which I had not read. I've read a few in the series but not the critical one and Ramsay didn't give good backstory to help.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC>.   I liked the characters and appreciate that fans will enjoy it more than I did.
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This was my first book to read by this author but I hope to read more soon! The characters and the story stay with you long after you finish it. Good, fast read. Highly recommend!!
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