What happened while they were sleeping?
A school for the deaf takes an overnight trip to the snowy woods. Five teenagers go to sleep, but only four wake up. Leon is missing, and a teacher’s body is found in the forest…
Sign language interpreter Paige Northwood is brought in to help with interrogations. Everyone at the school has a motive for murder – but they all have an alibi.
As Paige becomes increasingly involved, she suspects there’s something sinister going on. With the clock ticking to find Leon, only one thing is certain: the killer is among them, and ready to strike again…
Whilst, as I did, you can read this book as a stand-alone there are references to Paige’s backstory so, as ever, perhaps we should all 🎼 ‘let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…’! That said this story does stand on its own merit.
Paige is brought in on a missing teenager case. Leon is considered vulnerable as he is deaf and has disappeared when on a school weekend away. The weather is bad and when the headmaster, who is leading the weekend, turns up dead concerns about Leon increases – but is it because he may be another victim or is he the murderer?
In this Paige Northwood is a freelance sign language interpreter who often works with the Police. She is the voice of this story. The police have brought Paige in as the school Leon attends and is a boarder of is specifically for deaf students. So not only is Leon deaf but so are many of the other characters. Paige herself is not deaf but her immediate family are so she is not only qualified as an interpreter but understands other issues that can come into play when dealing with people from the deaf community.
Paige has been brought in by the newly promoted DS Singh – they have worked together before and have a good, professional working relationship. There is also something else at play but as Paige is seeing someone, Max, she puts this aside in order to be as professional as possible during the investigation.
At the school there are teachers, the deputy head who is temporarily in charge and the pupils – a few who board and the rest who attend daily. The investigation centres around those that board since Leon did, one particular friend who doesn’t board, the school staff and a social worker.
Silent Night is a story which moves steadily through the police investigation as various characters are considered, information is gathered and leads are chased up. Paige, as the interpreter, is central to what is found out and takes a more active role checking out sources than may be expected or, indeed, acceptable as she is caught up in her concern for Leon and her dread that he is being considered as much as a suspect rather than just a victim. When DS Singh finds out he is pretty annoyed especially as he worries that it will bring Paige into harms way.
This is a story that will have you working out whodunnit as you are reading and certainly wondering why the students who are mixed up in the investigation are holding secrets that might help find Leon and catch a killer.
It is when a second victim is discovered that the investigation hots up and the danger that the students are in puts even more pressure on the investigation – will they catch the killer before more deaths occur? Will they find Leon? Who is the killer and why, why are they doing this?
All is revealed in this story with it’s feisty main character, Paige, and a team of police whose voice is DS Singh. So we get both the police procedural and a ‘private detective’ angle albeit it one who is working with the investigation rather than separately. It’s an interesting angle which needs a good balance to work and I think Nell Pattinson achieves that.
This is a good story and a smashing read. It brings lots about Paige into the book and we, the reader, get to know her and we see how she has got to this place in her life. It’s important to this particular investigation too, not just background, and it allows us to meet her circle of friends and family.
It gives a fascinating insight into the deaf community and the, often complicated, ways in which communication happens. A unique, to me at least, which I enjoyed very much.
At the heart is a murder investigation and a missing persons case and that is both unique and twisty. With a wintery setting which doesn’t make things any easier and compounds the urgency to find Leon.
This is an enjoyable and absorbing read – a series that is definitely one to keep on the worth reading list.
Published: Avon Books (12 Nov 2020)
Nell Pattison is the author of a crime thriller series featuring British Sign Language interpreter Paige Northwood. Her debut novel, The Silent House, was a USA Today bestseller.
After studying English at university, Nell Pattison became a teacher and specialised in Deaf education. She has been teaching in the Deaf community for 13 years in both England and Scotland, working with students who use BSL. Nell began losing her hearing in her twenties, and now wears hearing aids. She lives in North Lincolnshire with her husband and son.
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