‘Say Nothing’, by Brad Parks: Book Review

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review

4 out of 5 stars

Judge Scott Sampson thinks nothing of the text he gets from his wife saying she will be picking up their two children from school that afternoon. He’s disappointed that he’ll miss their weekly swimming time, but he goes on with his day.

Until his wife comes home alone that evening, saying she knows nothing about the text, assuming he was picking up the children as normal.

Every parent’s worst nightmare comes true for them when they get a phone call saying that their children have been kidnapped. Scott must do exactly what he’s told if they want to see them safe again. He is told to give a specific verdict on a case involving a small-time drug dealer. But when it becomes clear that this was merely a test, and that there is a much bigger case on the horizon, Scott realises that the fate of his children is going to be much harder to control. Especially when he starts to suspect that the kidnappers are much closer to home than he would ever have thought possible.

Say Nothing is one of the tensest thrillers I have read in a long time. I could feel myself gripping the sides of my Kindle as I read it, holding my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

Everything is significant in this book, everything makes life harder for Scott. The fact that he lets the drug dealer go free in the first case means that people start to suspect something is wrong with Scott. A lot of pressure is put on him to explain why he gave the verdict he did. When the next case comes to the fore, and it is found out that he is the judge that will be presiding over it, the media go crazy to find out if he is fit for the job, and he is almost forced to recuse.  Even his own assistant, who has been working with him for years, starts to suspect something is wrong and tries to get Scott to stand down himself.

But of course, the kidnappers have told him to say nothing or his children will be harmed, so he can’t say why he is acting as strange as he is. But he can’t afford to lose the case or else the kidnappers will have no use for him, and therefore no reason to keep his children alive. See? Ridiculously tense.

I love a book that gets straight to the point, and Say Nothing is definitely that book. There’s no faffing about with too much setup. Within eight pages we know the children have been kidnapped and the pressure begins.

Unfortunately, the book does slow down a little bit in the middle. Once Scott realises what case he’s really being blackmailed about the story gets a little bit heavy on the court aspect of it all. The case itself is a patent lawsuit revolving around a large drugs company so there is a lot of scientific jargon as well as a fair bit about finance and stocks and things like that. Personally, those aren’t subjects I have much of an interest in, so these bits dragged slightly for me, but if you’re a fan of the topics, maybe you’ll enjoy it more.

Despite the lull in the middle, the last third of the book had me gripped again. I was up until 2am finishing it, and I was a blubbering mess by the end. I won’t give too much away, but I will say, have some tissues handy because you will cry.

I would recommend Say Nothing for fans of a good thriller and an interesting courtroom drama. It won’t disappoint on either front.

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