I know when I pick up a Kate Wilhelm book to listen to or read that I’ll enjoy it. They’re not all perfect, but I like her style, her descriptions and the way she occasionally mixes in a bit of the paranormal with an otherwise perfectly ordinary mystery.

In The Price of Silence, Todd Fielding accepts the editor position at a small town weekly newspaper, The Brindle Times. Todd, but the way is a strong female protaganist, the type of character Wilhelm excells at. she’s smart, pretty and determined, but she has weaknesses too, just doesn’t let them overwhelm her. When a local girl disappears, written off as a runaway by the police despite her mother’s protests and those of her teachers and friends, Todd starts investigating and is alarmed to discover several girls have disappeared over the years in similar circumstances. And the modern crimes have an eerie tie-in to Brindle’s past, a connection that may, at least in my opinion, explain the unnatural coldness that sometimes hits the town, bringing Todd to tears, and filling others with a sense of sadness or desperation.

I liked the characters, especially Todd, her supportive husband Barnie, and the woman Todd works for, Ruth Ann Colonna. She’s an elderly woman, but bright and curious, and not afraid of bringing the town’s secrets to light, no matter the consequences. The price of silence is just too high.

As a mystery, it’s a little disappointing. The clues all fit together well, but I knew who the bad guy was way too early, and if I picked up on it it had to be pretty obvious. So I spent the second half of the book waiting to see how Todd would tie it all together. It was still a gripping story but not as suspenseful as it could have been. I did like how the town’s past helped the women figure out the mystery in the present, how it was all interwoven.

I listened to the audio book version of this one, which worked fine for me. I like mysteries in that format, but the reader, Anna Fields, is also the reader for the couple of Wilhelm’s Barbara Holloway mysteries I’ve listened to, so at first it was a little hard separating Todd from Barbara, if that makes sense. It didn’t take long to settle in, but I wish it had been a different reader. Fields did a great job, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I associate her voice with the Holloway series.

3½ out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery – Female Sleuth

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First published in 2005
9 hours 28 minutes
Read by Anna Fields

Book source: Library