From the award-winning author of The Absence of Mercy, comes a gripping and darkly psychological novel about family, suspicion, and the price we are willing to pay to protect those we love the most.
It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople regard with fear and superstition, and who appears to bring illness and ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by a disease that is slowly consuming her.
Sheriff Jim Kent, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy, has watched the people of his town suffer—and he worries someone might take drastic action to protect their loved ones. Then a stranger arrives, and Danny and his ten-year-old brother, Sean, go missing. In the search that follows, everyone is a suspect, and the consequences of finding the two brothers may be worse than not finding them at all.
Our Review of The Quiet Child
Described as both hauntingly tense and a gripping, dark psychological drama, I was hooked by the time I read the blurb on the back of the book.
At first, the main characters seem to be the two boys, Danny and Sean McCray, but when they go missing, their father Michael swings into the central role.
Danny is a strange child; he has never spoken a word and regarded by the superstitious townspeople as a broken child, somehow causing illness and death in the community. When the family car is stolen along with both boys inside, many said it might be better if they were never found.
I liked the slow, careful way the memories and backstory are woven into the story, as the father tries to cope with losing his family. It was painful to watch him hovering between defeat, suspicion and a weird kind of acceptance.
My favourite character was the sheriff, Jim Kent. Bravely doing his job despite being torn between doing his duty and his humanity.
On the surface, this story is about superstition and loss, but I was unprepared for the disturbing conclusion, the final shocking twist was absolutely unexpected…
John Burley grew in a small town in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. He worked as a paramedic and firefighter just north of Washington, D.C. before attending medical school in Chicago and completing an emergency medicine residency at University of Maryland Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. His debut novel, NO MERCY, received the National Black Ribbon Award in recognition of an author who brings a fresh, new voice to suspense writing. His second novel, THE HIDING PLACE, is available now.
John now lives in Northern California where he works full-time as an emergency department physician. He writes dark psychological suspense thrillers about murder and mayhem on his days off, tries to keep the nightmares at bay, and occasionally finds time to sleep.
He is hard at work on his next novel.