No One Can Hear You by Nikki Crutchley #BookReview #BlogTour

He said that they’d let me go on purpose. That they could easily find me if they wanted to. He said that they didn’t want me. That I was too much trouble. He said if I went to the cops, he’d know. If I told Sonya, he’d know. If I talked to friends or teachers, he’d know. He told me to pretend it didn’t happen. He told me to consider it a compliment, that I was too strong. His last words to me were, ‘Just forget’.

Troubled teen Faith Marsden was one of several girls abducted from Crawton, a country town known for its picturesque lake and fertile farmland. Unlike the others, she escaped, though sixteen years on she still bears the emotional and physical scars.
Zoe Haywood returns to Crawton to bury her estranged mother Lillian, who has taken her own life. As she and Faith rekindle their high-school friendship, they discover notes left by Lillian that point to two more young women who recently disappeared from Crawton. But Lillian’s confused ramblings leave them with more questions than answers. 
As Faith and Zoe delve deeper into the mystery, they become intent on saving the missing women, but in doing so are drawn into Auckland’s hidden world of drugs, abduction and murder. And then Faith decides to confront the mastermind – on her own.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting another blog tour for Nikki Crutchley today having loved her previous novel, Nothing Bad Happens Here when I read it earlier in the year. Many thanks to Nikki and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my digital copy of the book.

No One Can Hear You has a tense and disturbing opening which sets the scene well for this stark drama. Faith has recently been placed with a foster family in Crawton, a small town in New Zealand. She is angry and rebellious and makes the worse decision of her life when she sneaks out of the house one night. Her abduction may be inevitable but when it happens, it is still shocking and as she begins to understand what is happening to her, the crushing reality is almost palpable.
Years later and Zoe Haywood is having a bad day. One of her pupils has pulled a knife on another student then turned it on her but the obsequious headteacher at this prestigious private school is more concerned with ingratiating himself with the boy's rich father than he is in supporting a female teacher he would rather not have to employ. Meanwhile, her mother, Lillian's day is about to become much worse. She is convinced that something terrible has happened to Megan, a young woman she knows. However, she is finding it increasingly harder to order her thoughts and with her family history of Alzheimer's realises her mind isn't what it once. She struggles to untangle her muddled thoughts as she tries to figure out the truth about Megan. Zoe and Lillian have been estranged for many years but never have the chance to reconcile but Lillian's sudden death - thought to have been a suicide - brings Zoe back to Cawston, the town where she grew up.
Zoe's memories are of a cold and distant mother but the townspeople seem to have considered her a warm and caring member of the community. When Zoe finds some of her mother's confused notes about Megan and a girl called Tania, she begins to question whether Lillian really knew something or if her suspicions were just a symptom of her Alzheimer's. Faith's return to Cawston causes her to realise that her mother was correct and that evil lurks within the town.
One of the many strengths of No One Can Hear You is the sense of suspicion that runs throughout the book. Zoe and Faith's investigation leads them to question just who they can trust as they begin to uncover the grim truth. Thrillers set in small towns often have a claustrophobic feeling about them and that's certainly true here as the women wonder who they can confide in once it has become clear that their queries have been noticed by some very dangerous people. As the novel progresses the reader learns who some of the perpetrators are but others are just hinted at. I had my suspicions but won't say whether I was correct. However, I don't think it matters if readers do guess because the nailbiting tension comes from how and when the women discover who is involved rather than just their identity.
No One Can Hear You explores the darker elements of society where young women who are considered troublesome can disappear without anybody really noticing or caring. We're all aware of the reality of human trafficking rings and that vast numbers of people have disappeared but how many of them are actually missed? It's depressingly obvious from media appeals that some people are deemed less worthy than others but here Nikki Crutchley gives these young women their humanity. They may be addicts living on the edges of society but they deserve to matter as much as anybody else.
Nikki Crutchley's excellent second novel confirms my feelings that she is an author to watch out for. The engaging characters and engrossing, fast-paced plot means No One Can Hear You is a gripping and sinister thriller and I thoroughly recommend it.

No One Can Hear You can be purchased from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Nikki Crutchley lives in Cambridge, New Zealand with her husband and two daughters. No One Can Hear You is Nikki’s second crime novel, set in the small Waikato town of Crawton. Her first book, Nothing Bad Happens Here, a crime/thriller set on the Coromandel Coast of New Zealand was a finalist in the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Award for best first novel. Nikki has worked in libraries in New Zealand and the UK and now works as a freelance proofreader. Nikki’s flash fiction has been published online and in the Fresh Ink anthology and the upcoming Bonsai anthology.
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