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A Silent Death    by Peter May Amazon.com order for
Silent Death
by Peter May
Order:  USA  Can
Quercus, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Peter May writes very thoughtful thrillers in varied and unusual settings, and with the most intriguing characters. A Silent Death is another fine example of his craft. It's set in Spain, where an ex-pat fugitive, Jack Cleland (a major drug dealer) is living the high life with a woman he loves and who is pregnant with their child.

That changes suddenly and tragically. Police are called to his multi-million-euro villa by a neighbor who believes Cleland to be away and suspects a burglary. Fearing that his past has caught up with him, Cleland mistakenly shoots and kills his lover. Of course, he needs someone to blame and selects Spanish police officer Cristina Sanchez Pradell - and everyone close to her.

Cristina and her family become key players in what follows, especially her deaf and blind aunt Ana, whose life turned silent and dark in her teens because of rare Usher Syndrome. Completing the cast of characters is Glaswegian investigator John Mackenzie, whose career has suffered from his lack of tact - he has no filter. Nevertheless he is good at what he does. He's sent to Malaga to bring back Cleland. After the latter's escape, he's ordered to aid the Spanish manhunt.

Cristina is assigned to be Mackenzie's liaison. Though irritated by him, she invites him to a family dinner. He also meets her aunt. Cristina is terrified for all her family - her aunt, her husband, her son and her sister who has cancer - and she's right to be afraid. Readers see Cleland's plans develop. We wonder what might save these good people, and their salvation comes from a most surprising source. Peter May has long been on my must read list.

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