Rich in the atmosphere of rural Australia, this gothic thriller sizzles with suspense and psychological intrigue as horrific family secrets come to light.
Set in rural Australia in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s (the plot smartly slips between the decades), Lyn Yeowart’s The Silent Listener - her debut novel - is a dark and stormy psychological thriller focussed on family secrets and the search to fathom terrible truths.
When Joy Henderson returns to her family’s farm to care for George, her dying dad, she’s confronted with a succession of horrendous events - both those that occur in her present, and traumatic experiences from her past. The very day after her father confesses to a horrific crime, he’s found dead with his own belt around his neck.
As the narrative slips back to 1960, we learn how eleven-year-old Joy existed in utter fear of her father. An abusive bully who forced her to declare herself a “lazy, good-for-nothing sinner”. A brute who scarred her for life - psychologically and physically, for Joy has been left with “thick red strips of raised flesh creeping over the top of her shoulder and under her loose bra strap, wrapping themselves around the top of her arm like the tentacles of a red octopus.” This description is representative of the author’s taut, evocative style.
Then there’s the Constable investigating George’s death - Alex Shepherd, a man still haunted by an unsolved case of a missing girl from 1960, and now deeply engrained in this new case, and the Henderson family’s secrets. As Joy and Shepherd talk, Joy is struck by a sickening thought: “The bastard killed himself so that you’d think I killed him. So I’d go to jail for murdering him. It was the ultimate punishment for disobeying him.” Shepherd isn’t sure what to believe, but his instincts lead him back to that unsolved case of the missing child.
Exploring coercive control, violence, abuse and revenge with edgy levels of tension through potentially unreliable narrators, this is a satisfyingly suspenseful gothic thriller.
AN UNFORGETTABLE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER SET IN THE DARK, GOTHIC HEART OF RURAL AUSTRALIA
The moment he dies, the room explodes with life.
Joy Henderson returns to the family farm to nurse her dying father. To the outside world, George is a pillar of the community, but to Joy and her siblings, he’s a monster. As children, they lived in constant fear of the punishments he dished out to his “dirty, filthy sinners who are going to rot in Hell”. Then, the day after George finally confesses to a horrific crime, Joy finds him dead — with a belt pulled tight around his neck . . .
Senior Constable Alex Shepherd, summoned to the scene by George’s doctor, is suspicious: did Joy murder her father? If so, why?
The more Shepherd digs the more questions he raises. Will the truth finally be revealed?
Effortlessly propelling the reader back and forth between three timelines, Lyn Yeowart’s unforgettable debut richly rewards the reader with its explosive, pitiless conclusion.
This electrifying literary thriller will be devoured by fans of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, Eve Chase’s The Glass House, Delia Owens, Gillian Flynn and Kate Morton.
|Publication date:||24th June 2021|
|Primary Genre||Crime and Mystery|