Amelia Winn is a hard-working trauma nurse when Heather Gudenkauf’s novel Not a Sound begins. Then she’s hit by a car. Fast forward ten years and Amelia is unemployed, a recovering alcoholic, separated and deaf. She and her “hearing” dog, Stitch, live in a remote house by Five Mines River where Amelia spends her days paddling and trying to right the wreckage of her life. On this particular day, she is feeling somewhat optimistic. She has a lead on a job which her ex isn’t trying to sabotage and for once things seem to be looking up – that is, until she discovers the body of a nurse she once worked, a woman named Gwen, with lying on the edge of the river.
Not a Sound is a straight-up mystery and while it was easy enough to turn the pages – I didn’t particularly enjoy reading the story because…well, mostly for a whole lot of niggly reasons.
We’re expected to believe that Amelia is going to go all undercover cop because a friend from her previous life is found dead. Even though her brother’s best friend, Jake, is the cop in charge, she takes matters into her own hands – staking out buildings and breaking into people’s garages and asking questions she shouldn’t ask.
Jake is pretty free with giving out what I would consider privileged information about the crime. He tells Amelia how the victim was murder and then posits “my bet is on the husband. It’s always the husband.” That’s police work at its finest, folks.
Some of the minor characters, her new neighbor Evan for example, just seem like conveniently placed chess pieces.
Amelia doesn’t have any real reason to be so torn up about Gwen and yet she persists in trying to figure out who would have wanted her dead. Readers will follow along, but likely won’t be too surprised with how it all turns out.