Newly married and navigating life with a toddler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job which allows her to “potter in, coffee in hand and log on for a spot of internet shopping–precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance.” But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couple’s counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.
But when Manon is on a walk with her two-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job, full-force, trying to solve the suicide–or is it a murder–in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.
Remain Silent, the third in the brilliant Manon Bradshaw series, is a fantastic new instalment that had me feeling every emotion as I tore through its pages. With a gripping and very timely plot and truly engaging characters, I felt completely absorbed in the characters and their lives.
The plot centres around Manon and the Cambridgeshire Police department’s investigations into the death of a Lithuanian man, no doubt connected to the many Eastern European immigrants in Wisbech, an area not too far away from where I grew up (in Peterborough). It’s not clear if the death is suspicious or suicide, but some of the local community is resentful of these immigrants and what they represent.
I really liked that throughout the novel we get varying point of views, from Manon herself, her close colleague Davy, through to the men, such as Lucas and his friend Matis, who are living in horrendous conditions in houses of multiple occupancy, having been promised a better life in England but ending up trapped, working all hours for no pay and beaten if they don’t obey orders. I found it really difficult to read to be honest, feeling very emotional at times; at some parts I had to put the book down for a while and come back to it, but the way Susie Steiner writes is so engaging I couldn’t leave this novel closed for long!
Although so much of this novel is truly depressing, there’s also lots of humorous parts. Manon is a great character – acerbic, weary but dogged too – and some of her witty lines to other characters brought some very welcome light relief. We find out more about Manon’s personal life too.
No one in this novel is perfect which I really liked, and I have to say I wish the ending had turned out a bit happier, but that’s life for you… sometimes things end differently to how we’d hope.
Remain Silent really did blow me away – it’s brilliantly written and is a fitting third novel in this excellent series.
Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.