Out of the Silence

Love Honour Murder

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Pub Date 28 Jan 2019 | Archive Date 01 Feb 2019

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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…

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.


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ISBN 9781912986002
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Average rating from 8 members

Featured Reviews

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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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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