Friday, June 25, 2010

Deadly Silence

Title: Deadly Silence
Author: Victor J. Banis
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-60820-106-8
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary Suspense
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Stanley and Tom don’t know what to think when they’re hired to look into an attempted murder at the posh and exclusive rehab center, Bella Vista. Did someone really try to kill wealthy Abe Pendleton or was it an accidental medication error, like the facility administrator claims? Abe's daughter Patience certainly seems to believe that someone is trying to kill her father, but who and why?

Could it be Prudence, the twin who’s suffered from mental illness and drug addiction or Farley, Prudence's ex-fiancé, a man with dollar signs for eyes? And what about Zack, the only son who happens to be gay? His father’s threatened to disinherit him multiple times—and the two argue constantly. Then there’s Patience herself. Could years of resentment at being the family caretaker finally have pushed her over the edge into controlled insanity, or could it even be someone unknown, angered by the ruthless elder Pendleton?

Deadly Silence is the fifth and latest release in the well-written Deadly Mystery series by talented multi-published author Victor Banis and it begins a few weeks after the previous book left off. While it would be possible to read this book as a standalone, to get a better understanding of the ongoing character relationships, I recommend reading them in order.

As with all the books in this suspense series, the backbone is Stanley and Tom, and their not always smooth relationship. Professionally the duo is plugging along, taking jobs that allow them to stay financially viable; that doesn’t mean Stanley is enjoying his work. He’d still rather go back to making a living as an interior decorator, but that’s one aspect of his being gay that Tom can’t stand. Then if you add in his dislike of the majority of Stanley’s friends, gay nightclubs and obvious ‘gay’ behavior, you begin to understand why Stanley is upset with his partner. It’s as simple as Tom loves Stanley, but he isn’t gay. Mr. Banis did a nice job expressing Stanley’s emotional difficulties with his relationship, but those same aspects make this story less humorous, slower paced and filled with angst and introspection. There’s also less action-the one exception being when someone takes a shot at Stanley.

I have to admit that I found the Pendleton family members a bit confusing—their relationships and stories of what they were doing during important times in the story seemed to constantly change, and while it wasn’t unexpected, it did cause me a bit of rereading from time to time. And the relationships between the siblings is classic passive/aggressive and more than a little strange. I swear the only member of the family that’s normal is Aunt Dora and she’s only on the scene very briefly. The overall suspense elements are far less complicated than in the previous releases and I wasn’t surprised when the villain(s) of the story was revealed.

Don’t let the points I’ve taken discourage you from reading Deadly Silence. What goes on in the personal lives of Stanley and Tom is important to the ongoing story line, and will undoubtedly play a vital role in the next story.

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