Conspiracy of Silence
by Martha Powers

Oceanview Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-1-933-51518-2.
Reviewed by Mary Jo Doig
Posted on 12/15/2008

Fiction: Thriller

If you have some time to curl up with a beguiling mystery and you enjoy romance with some psychological intrigue mixed with the puzzle, I recommend Martha Powers' latest thriller, Conspiracy of Silence.

We meet journalist Claire Prentice in her doctor's office where she is being seen for the biopsy result of the lump on her breast. Although her report turns out fine, her doctor encourages her to learn more about any medical issues in her family history before Claire's approaching marriage. When she tells Dr. Craig it would be impossible to do that (her father died when she was three, her mother two years before, and both parents had no relatives), the doctor stuns Claire by saying she meant her biological parents, not her adoptive ones. And in this instant, having had no idea she'd been adopted, Claire's identity as she has always known it is shattered.

A few months later, determined to learn her real identity and family story, Claire leaves Chicago and drives to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where she believes her adoptive mother may have lived as a child. As an ostensible reason for her arrival, Claire has obtained an assignment from her literary magazine to interview Grand Rapids local author and recluse, Nate Hanssen.

Claire rents a small cabin near a lake and soon begins to uncover small pieces of information that lead her into a convoluted and treacherous journey. It also soon becomes obvious, after one and then another murder, that someone in Grand Rapids wants the carefully constructed conspiracy of silence that surrounds Claire's life to be left alone.

Powers' pace and plot are very good and her authentic characters are fascinating. Always closely examining the clues in any mystery I read--and even taking notes at times--I did not guess the murderer's identity until it became obvious at the very end.

Martha Powers is the author of eleven novels. Her last novel was named a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Awards, the National Best Books 2006 Award, and selected as a Book Sense Pick. She is also a humor columnist who presently writes articles at SeniorWomenWeb, a freelance editor, and a public speaker. Visit her website.

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