Review of WITHOUT A SOUND by Carla Cassidy (see her website)
NAL/Signet Eclipse, December 2006
When free-spirit bartender Haley Lambert gets the horrifying news that her sister has been murdered by an unknown assailant, her immediate concern is for her eight-year-old niece, Molly. Now Haley is Molly's only surviving relative, so it's up to Haley to care for the little girl the best she knows how--which isn't very good. Haley has spent very little time around her niece and knows next to nothing about children. She can't cook and she's lousy at laundry.
None the less, she packs up all her worldly belongings, which isn't much, and heads for the Kansas City suburb where she grew up and where her widowed sister made her home in the same house where Haley grew up. But she quickly finds out that taking over total responsibility for a traumatized eight-year-old is a lot harder than she thought it would be. For one thing, little Molly hasn't uttered a word since she witnessed her mother's murder. And for another, she doesn't seem to like Haley very much. She is obstinate and throws temper tantrums, and Haley is at her wit's end.
Enter Dr. Grey Banes, a psychologist who regularly consults with the Kansas City police department. Grey is a tremendous help to Haley in getting Molly hooked up with a child psychologist. He also offers on-the-spot parenting advice, since he's the divorced father of a son who's seen his share of difficult times. Soon Haley is coming to depend on Grey far too much--for her emotional support as well as help with Molly.
But not everyone wants Molly to start talking again, because she might very well be able to identify her mother's murderer. Accidents start happening. Strange phone calls. And another woman dies. Frightened to the point of paranoia, Grey has no one else to lean on but Grey. But for a free-spirit like Haley, the idea of settling down and making commitments is almost as frightening as the nameless threat that lurks so near.
Author Carla Cassidy's latest (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Cassidy) offering offers richly drawn characters that are endearingly flawed and very human. Molly can be a holy terror without saying a word, and Haley's attempts to cope with the new life thrust on her are sometimes funny, sometimes touching. Sexy and scary all at the same time, this is one you won't want to miss.
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