Silent Night -- C.J. Kyle
Adult, Romantic Suspense, Crime Thriller, Mystery
For a debut novel, Silent Night was a fairly enjoyable read. The introduction was strong and the murder mystery had a rather promising start. I've got my quibbles here and there, but for the most part, I found the story decently executed with enough of an entertainment factor to keep me interested.
There were points where I found some of the progression tedious, but for the most part, the book was quite enjoyable.
The Story in Brief:
Blood is found in the snow, but there is no body. A young teenager is reported missing, but he's got a record for being a troublemaker. And then a body is found, carved up and displayed for all to see, staged with a Bible, a Crucifix, and a Rosary. Having returned to the small town of Christmas, Tennessee to get away from the gruesome crimes such as these when he used to work in Chicago, Police Chief Tucker Ambrose realizes that something sinister has come to the peaceful little town.
Miranda Harley has tracked a serial killer to Christmas, Tennessee with every intention of finding the evidence she needs to put the true killer behind bars. Her own little brother has been falsely accused and convicted, but no one will believe her. And now the killer is striking again, picking up where he'd left off and time is running out.
Again, I apologize for my lackluster summary above. But to be totally honest, the mystery itself was fairly predictable and a little lackluster itself. It had a good premise and all, but I feel like something more could have been done to bring on the suspense and the thrill. We know who the killer is from the beginning of the book and even the slight twist in events nearing the end felt kind of weak and trying to misdirect our investigative muscles.
For the most part, the book felt kind of mundane and unbalanced, but at least the narrative and the progression were quite smooth. But for a book titled Silent Night, the atmosphere wasn't as dark and gory as I'd been expecting; especially after that very first scene's bloody and gory murder.
The characters were fairly standard for a romantic suspense, and I can't help but to note that Miranda could have been less of a damsel; the entire entourage of characters around her handled her with such delicate kid gloves that I thought she would break at the slightest blow of a wind. Even when everyone was angry at her for her deceptions or her interference with the investigations, they were still treating her like she was too fragile to be rough with.
The romance was also a little lackluster, but I DO appreciate that our characters had time to become attracted to one another, get to know each other, and THEN start developing feelings for each other. I'm not even sure there was instalust in this relationship; sexy times didn't even start surfacing until a little over halfway through the book.
Though the obligatory semi-"Pretty Woman" scene made me cringe just a little bit. We're in the middle of a murder investigation and we decide that our hero would buy the damsel something pretty to wear for a dinner night? I don't know how I feel about that; especially when the guy automatically assumes that his date would be alright wearing something that shows lots of cleavage and a slit "up to here", in the dead of snowy winter.
Nonetheless, Silent Night was a decent debut for C.J. Kyle and I will continue to keep an eye out for more books written by this author.