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Silent Voices [Paperback]

Ann Cleeves
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Paperback, July 11 2011 --  
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Book Description

July 11 2011

When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders, briefly, if for once in her life, it’s a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim’s throat—death is never that simple...

Pulling her team together, she and colleague, Joe Ashworth, try to find a motive. The victim was well-liked, quiet, lived alone with her daughter and worked in social services. What possible reason could there be to want her dead?

Things are never as they seem though and when another body turns up then Vera knows that if she and Joe don’t crack the case soon, someone else could be next in line…

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“I do love Vera!” —Val McDermid

"Excellent . . . Intricate plotting makes for a compulsive read.” —The Independent (UK)

“Detective Vera Stanhope is a remarkable creation.” —Bookseller (UK)

“One of the most appealing fictional detectives to emerge since Andy Dalziel got into his stride.” —Martin Edwards, Spintingler Magazine (UK) 

“Watch out for Ann Cleeves . . . Snapped up by ITV, her creation, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, is the new Frost, played by Brenda Blethyn.” —Red magazine (UK)

“Cleeves has hit the big time . . . This is going to be a winner!” —BBC Front Row (UK)

“An absorbingly cunning mystery.” —Daily Mail (UK)

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ann Cleeves worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook, and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. In 2006, Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black. She lives in North Tyneside, England.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the usual characters April 2 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the fact that some of the characters are involved in routine social work, and the motivation appears to lie there instead of being just peripheral.The characters are particularly well drawn and Vera and Joe are consistent, if prickly, in their duty and off-duty interaction. The plot is, as usual, a good, well defined and an intriguing trail to the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly engrossing read. July 12 2014
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
First Sentence: Vera swam slowly.

It’s not every day a police inspector finds a dead body sharing a sauna with her in a hotel health club, especially when that body is of a murder victim. Vera and her team work to find a killer in a village filled with people, and their secrets.

From the very first paragraph, one is caught up in the author’s voice; her dry humor and the character. By the end of the first chapter, on is also caught up in the story.

There is so much one could say about the characters, particularly Vera. How nice it is to have a female protagonist such as Vera. She’s a mature woman, overweight and unconcerned about her appearance—except, not totally unconcerned. She does care about being fair to her team, knows what motivates each of them, and is a very good leader; even though she drives them hard. She’s respected by her colleagues, even when they frustrate her. The relationship she has with Joe, her sergeant, is an interesting one…”Sometimes Vera though he represented her feminine side. He had the empathy, she had the muscle. Well, the bulk.” Even with the suspects, she doesn’t just investigate clues, but motivations; what makes people do what they do, what drives them.

Cleeves has a very interesting style. Although the story is told in 3rd person, when she focuses on Vera, it switches somewhat to first person as we gain insight on her life and character through an internal monologue and her observations…”These days, people expected senior female officers to walk straight out of “Prime Suspect.”

There is a very strong sense of place and wonderful descriptions. Particularly appealing is the contrast between the town and the desolation of Vera’s home. It’s very much part of her character.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting character June 20 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First time reader of this series and found it kept me interested the whole time a very good read I will purc
hase another one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read... April 4 2014
By Sue D
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story moves fast with lots of twists and turns. Keeps you guessing right up to the end. I enjoyed the book even though I had already seen the TV show.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Queen of Crime Fiction April 11 2011
By Lisa Marie - Published on
Ann Cleeves is a masterful storyteller who deserves a wider audience here in the US. (With an upcoming British TV production of the Vera Stanhope series coming, hopefully that will be rectified soon.) An award-winning author, she's penned absorbing psychological thrillers, as well as two exceptional mystery series. In Vera Stanhope, she has created a wholly original character. Vera is an unattractive, overweight, uncouth middle-aged woman who is also one of the most intelligent, cunning and ruthless police detectives you're bound to come across. Who could resist that combination? She cheerfully manages to anger most people she comes in contact with - suspects and colleagues alike. (If you're familiar with the late RD Wingfield's work, Vera is the female counterpart to his irascible DI Jack Frost.)

In this fourth outing, Vera practically stumbles upon a murdered woman in the sauna of the local gym. Vera never feels more alive than when working on a homicide case - and this one is no different. She immediately goes into high gear, leaving everyone else scrambling to keep up.

The story is revealed layer by layer and it's a twisty psychological puzzle that will keep readers guessing up to the very end. Fans of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell should enjoy Silent Voices. Vera is addictive so don't be surprised if you want to read all the books in this series.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves Oct. 30 2012
By John - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What can one say about Ann Cleeves? She is, to my mind, one of the top writers of today and I love her books. You just can't go wrong reading one of her books. Unfortunately, the book was #4 in the series, and I was waiting for the 1st 3, but couldn't hold out and read it. Brilliant, of course! I've since read #1 and 2 and will be starting on #3 after I've read my latest Stephen Booth (love him too). Vera Stanhope is such an unusual character, you don't know whether to love or hate her (I love her most of the time), absolutely fascinating and a breath of fresh air. I'd love to see the TV series, am sick of all the police women on TV with their unlined faces and the hair falling in their eyes; and those ridiculous shoes they have to run in. No, give me Vera, that's much more real to me. Read Ann Cleeves, you won't be sorry, I promise!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a fun read May 7 2013
By Trish Arrowsmith - Published on
I received an ARC of this book through a giveaway.
For being a mystery/thriller, the story itself was a very light read. There was quite a bit of action but it was never heavy or overpowering; it kept the story flowing. The setting had just the right amount of detail so the reader could clearly picture every scene as it was happening.
There were a lot of characters in the book. Some appeared for two or three pages and others were woven in throughout the entire story. I would like to have gotten to know some of the secondary characters a little better but the main characters were very well fleshed out. I'm still not entirely sure whether I like Vera or not but that's not a bad thing. She's very strong-willed and highly intelligent. On the other hand, she's also overbearing, rude and, (for lack of a better phrase) disgusting; she eats crumbs directly off a restaurant table and wears the same clothes two days in a row. That almost creates a mystery in itself and it was fun to see what she would do or say next.
There were quite a few twists throughout the story and I changed my mind about who I thought was guilty three times. All the sub-plots of the story came together very nicely in the end and I loved summary of how Vera came to the conclusions that she did.
This was the first Vera Stanhope mystery that I read and I do look forward to reading the others in the series.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another case where a definitive parenting handbook could have saved a lot of problems June 15 2012
By Blue in Washington - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ann Cleeves has a fine feel for the dynamics of families and often writes about the consequences of family breakdowns. "Silent Voices" fits into that category--maybe bringing definition to it. Estimable protagonist Vera Stanhope, Detective Inspector in a northern English county, often deals with her own family issues as she dives into a case involving the murder of a social worker who is connected to the much-publicized killing of a child under the supervision of her services office. As DI Stanhope's investigation of the woman's murder broadens, a moderately large cast of walking wounded characters is added to the mix, each with some motive for the crime. A second murder removes one of the suspects, but doesn't immediately resolve the first killing. Resolution eventually comes down to the mysteries and pitfalls of parenthood and their potential for invisible damage to hapless offspring.

This is a deftly written story with characters that outweigh the storyline in importance and interest. The intrepid Vera is onstage virtually every page, and while her own preoccupations with her less than stellar appearance are close to excessive here, her integrity and humanity compensate for the frequent self-absorption. This a good read with only the occasional red herring/false note to annoy fans of the genre. Cleeves is a terrific writer who is definitely up there with the best in the field.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revue of Silent voices April 5 2013
By Katie - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
as a reader of crime stories I enjoy Ann Cleeves descriptions of her characters, she sets her scenes so well I feel as if I am actually there. this happens again in silent voices !
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