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Brutal Silence

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Alex Harrington’s genteel southern world shatters when two strangers drag her from a tourist bus while she's on vacation in Mexico City. She wakes on a grit-covered cement floor, head throbbing, looking up into the terrified faces of a dozen women and the brutal world of human trafficking. A champion runner, Alex escapes and returns to run her free clinic in North Carolina Alex Harrington’s genteel southern world shatters when two strangers drag her from a tourist bus while she's on vacation in Mexico City. She wakes on a grit-covered cement floor, head throbbing, looking up into the terrified faces of a dozen women and the brutal world of human trafficking. A champion runner, Alex escapes and returns to run her free clinic in North Carolina, haunted by the faces of the women she was unable to save. When a battered woman seeks refuge at her clinic, only to die moments later, Alex learns that human traffickers don’t only exist in Mexico. They are operating even in her home town, targeting her, and she has no idea why. Alex wants answers, but when the trail leads back to those she loves the most, she finds that sometimes it’s the most innocent and ordinary places that hide the most terrible secrets


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Alex Harrington’s genteel southern world shatters when two strangers drag her from a tourist bus while she's on vacation in Mexico City. She wakes on a grit-covered cement floor, head throbbing, looking up into the terrified faces of a dozen women and the brutal world of human trafficking. A champion runner, Alex escapes and returns to run her free clinic in North Carolina Alex Harrington’s genteel southern world shatters when two strangers drag her from a tourist bus while she's on vacation in Mexico City. She wakes on a grit-covered cement floor, head throbbing, looking up into the terrified faces of a dozen women and the brutal world of human trafficking. A champion runner, Alex escapes and returns to run her free clinic in North Carolina, haunted by the faces of the women she was unable to save. When a battered woman seeks refuge at her clinic, only to die moments later, Alex learns that human traffickers don’t only exist in Mexico. They are operating even in her home town, targeting her, and she has no idea why. Alex wants answers, but when the trail leads back to those she loves the most, she finds that sometimes it’s the most innocent and ordinary places that hide the most terrible secrets

30 review for Brutal Silence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex Black

    So I started this book on May 1st (according to my Goodreads updating which tends to be fairly accurate). It's now September. It wasn't even that I was picking this book up occasionally. I just never wanted to pick it up after the first fifty pages. The only reason I did finally go back to it was because I'm trying to clear out my currently reading shelf. The strongest feeling I have upon finishing it is relief that it's not hanging over my head anymore. The biggest issue for me was the writing s So I started this book on May 1st (according to my Goodreads updating which tends to be fairly accurate). It's now September. It wasn't even that I was picking this book up occasionally. I just never wanted to pick it up after the first fifty pages. The only reason I did finally go back to it was because I'm trying to clear out my currently reading shelf. The strongest feeling I have upon finishing it is relief that it's not hanging over my head anymore. The biggest issue for me was the writing style. Like I had issues with the story and characters and whatnot as well that I'll probably discuss a bit, but mostly it was just the writing. Everything felt so clunky. This may be the first time I've ever fully appreciated the "talking heads" complaint. There were so many sections in the book that were nearly all dialogue, either back and forth between characters or just paragraphs and paragraphs of explanation. It was almost devoid of description, even when that description would have been necessary to link a scene together. The best example came from early on (bear with me, this is lengthy): "Want to get out of here, maybe hit some clubs downtown?" "No thanks," she said, looking around for her father. Her father cut in at last. "He's an impressive young man, Alex. Why don't you like him?" "Travis plays the perfect Southern gentleman, but underneath, it's all about Travis. He's always looking over your shoulder to see if someone more important is in the room. Besides, I hate bow ties." A club steward approached them. "Excuse me, Miss Harrington. I have a phone call for you on the club phone. A woman says it's urgent." Gladys's voice was tense. "I've got Carmela and her cousin and son in the car. The police let them go. We're heading to my place." The whole book read like that, I didn't just pick one particularly bad section. There was no flow with the action, no description to link the different points together. The steward says there's a phone call and we cut immediately to Gladys's dialogue, not even a quick addition of "Gladys's voice on the phone was tense." At points it genuinely made the book a little difficult to follow because it was so easy to miss small things, like Gladys being on the phone instead of there at the party. And again, that's one small example and it wouldn't have bothered me had it not been indicative of the book as a whole. Also, the dialogue was so unrealistic. That's not always something that bothers me a great deal because some people talk weird and I'm one of them, but these didn't sound like people at all. They sounded like they were announcing the plot as they went along rather than speaking conversationally. Then it was just generic things like telling not showing. I didn't feel anything about this book. Everything was just told to me. Alex said this. Mike said that. Alex felt this. The cops did that. On and on and on. I never felt like I got a chance to experience this story because of the writing style. But getting past just the writing into the story elements, it felt very soap opera-y. At one point they're hanging out in Mexico and this nobody reporter has a meeting with the Mexican present. I was so confused by that when it happened because it came out of nowhere and I kept thinking I was mistaken, maybe Dardess meant the president of the newspaper or a company. Nope, the literal Mexican president. And Alex didn't act like an adult most of the time. She's 25, but spent half her time worried about her parents finding out what she was doing. When she went to Mexico, she literally switched cars and paid cash so they couldn't find her. Like, she's an adult with her own apartment and a good job. I don't understand what her parents can do to her beyond cutting her off (although that good job covered all her expenses) or being generally annoyed. It didn't feel like the actions of the self sufficient adult she was supposed to be. The main characters, all of them, also just got kidnapped constantly. For a bunch of human traffickers, they really sucked at kidnapping apparently. Like once or twice I could handle, but it felt like they spent half the book getting kidnapped and getting free again. It also wasn't just the writing style that felt choppy, but the narrative as a whole. It's a pretty short book at under 270 pages, but there were 61 chapters. And a lot of the chapters switched between characters and scenes. We'd follow Alex then Mike then back to Alex then the bad guys. Each time it was only a couple of pages, maybe just two. It felt like there was never time to sink into the story. I didn't really like the perspective from the bad guys. I've read plenty of thrillers that have used the villain's perspective to open up the narrative a bit, but it didn't really work here. The chapters that focused on Vargas, the head human trafficker, were really just him making plans or talking about how his plans were messed up. They didn't contribute anything to the overall story. I felt like had more time been spent on Alex and her life instead, I'd have maybe cared about her a little bit more. I really want to add something positive just because I feel like I've been so negative in this review, but I can't think of anything. I really didn't like this book. I didn't hate it. Like it definitely wasn't a terrible horrible one star because the majority of my complaints were on the smaller side, but it was still pretty bad.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sudalu

    Margaret Dardess skillfully brings to life one of the most terrifying realities of our time while blending it inside a fantastic thriller. The characters were drawn expertly by being relatable, flawed, and and unexpectedly evil . Our main character is a a strong intelligent woman who was kidnapped while on vacation in Mexico and forced in a life of sex trafficking. She is deftly able to escape, returning home to her country club upbringing and job leading a clinic. This experience changes her d Margaret Dardess skillfully brings to life one of the most terrifying realities of our time while blending it inside a fantastic thriller. The characters were drawn expertly by being relatable, flawed, and and unexpectedly evil . Our main character is a a strong intelligent woman who was kidnapped while on vacation in Mexico and forced in a life of sex trafficking. She is deftly able to escape, returning home to her country club upbringing and job leading a clinic. This experience changes her dramatically and she puts up a valiant fight when she becomes a target. The pace of the book made it a highly recommended page turner. I love learning about different topics while being led through a high paced mystery and this doesn't disappoint. Well done!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Babus Ahmed

    Alex Harrington had a gruelling experience when she was abducted in Mexico but somehow managed to escape. Since she has devoted time to helping women who need support and healthcare but when an abused woman comes to the clinic where she works Alex is drawn into an organised and dangerous business where grudges are held and the roots of evil go deeper than she could possibly imagine. This fast paced emotive read was gripping Alex is from a well to do influential family but any illusion of securit Alex Harrington had a gruelling experience when she was abducted in Mexico but somehow managed to escape. Since she has devoted time to helping women who need support and healthcare but when an abused woman comes to the clinic where she works Alex is drawn into an organised and dangerous business where grudges are held and the roots of evil go deeper than she could possibly imagine. This fast paced emotive read was gripping Alex is from a well to do influential family but any illusion of security she has is shattered by her traumatic experience. Her empathetic nature make her character that I found enjoyable to read. An entertaining crime thriller with a gripping story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    JoTA

    Thank you goodreads giveaway and Margaret Dardess for giving me the opportunity to read Brutal Silence. Human trafficking is all around us. I think most of us just don't recognize the signs of a kidnapped person. we all could us some training on signs of distress and also some defense classes. Make it mandatory in high school. Margaret Dardess did a wonderful job at tell this thrilling and suspenseful tale. Thank you goodreads giveaway and Margaret Dardess for giving me the opportunity to read Brutal Silence. Human trafficking is all around us. I think most of us just don't recognize the signs of a kidnapped person. we all could us some training on signs of distress and also some defense classes. Make it mandatory in high school. Margaret Dardess did a wonderful job at tell this thrilling and suspenseful tale.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rodriguez

    I received this book in exchanged for my honest review. This was a great book. It has a really great balance of story telling with lots of twists and turns as well as enough suspense to keep you intrigued. There were a few times that things were revealed and I thought, "I did not see that coming.". The only thing that bothered me were the amount of times that Alex and others escaped these so called professional human traffickers and how easy it seemed to be. All in a all a very decent book. I received this book in exchanged for my honest review. This was a great book. It has a really great balance of story telling with lots of twists and turns as well as enough suspense to keep you intrigued. There were a few times that things were revealed and I thought, "I did not see that coming.". The only thing that bothered me were the amount of times that Alex and others escaped these so called professional human traffickers and how easy it seemed to be. All in a all a very decent book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer James

    Brutal Silence ropes you in quickly with its fast moving pace and engaging plot line. The lead characters are instantly familiar and likable and the story will have you quickly turning the pages to learn what comes next and the ultimate finality to the thriller. Most importantly, the author's first novel tackles a difficult and intense subject (human trafficking) in an easily digestible way, allowing for awareness to be raised for a critical human rights issue. Brutal Silence ropes you in quickly with its fast moving pace and engaging plot line. The lead characters are instantly familiar and likable and the story will have you quickly turning the pages to learn what comes next and the ultimate finality to the thriller. Most importantly, the author's first novel tackles a difficult and intense subject (human trafficking) in an easily digestible way, allowing for awareness to be raised for a critical human rights issue.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    It is all around us, but we choose not to see. In a stunning thriller, Margaret Dardess has given us a view of the life of a brave young woman who ventures against her will into the world of human trafficking. This new thriller is also a lesson in resilience and survival. The book is well written, and tackles a difficult subject in a way that the reader wants to learn more. Great new debut novel that is well worth reading!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Chamberlain

    It's a fast moving train Read this book in four days, it was so fast moving I couldn't put it down! Switch backs in the middle of a chapter and I was catching up for a sentence or two. Riveting novel! It's a fast moving train Read this book in four days, it was so fast moving I couldn't put it down! Switch backs in the middle of a chapter and I was catching up for a sentence or two. Riveting novel!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Good book to read This book was written very well, the story is very believable.I haven't found very many book on human trafficking that keep my attention this book did. I would definitely recommend this book on the ( goodread) list Good book to read This book was written very well, the story is very believable.I haven't found very many book on human trafficking that keep my attention this book did. I would definitely recommend this book on the ( goodread) list

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dee Cherry

    Informative read on human trafficking as Alex had a life changing experience while in Mexico. Traveling between Mexico & her home in Dalton, NC, unexpected connections provided surprising answers. Mike was the ideal person for assistance. Well written storyline. Good read

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    DNF. Just didn't really care too much about the main character. The story played out like a soap opera. I received this book free through Goodreads. DNF. Just didn't really care too much about the main character. The story played out like a soap opera. I received this book free through Goodreads.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debra Faulk

  13. 5 out of 5

    scott niebergall

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vi Hoaglund

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  17. 4 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Nichelson

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Rustman

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carla Colling

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Mitchell

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Moshier

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue A. Johnson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rodney Robbins

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shari

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura White

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sweetpea

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie Weiner

  30. 5 out of 5

    L.C. Fiore

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