Broken Silence by Liz Mistry #BookReview #BlogTour



When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…
On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.
Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.
Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.
With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.
But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

It's such a pleasure to be opening the blog tour for Broken Silence today, particularly as today is its paperback publication day. Many thanks to Liz Mistry, HQ Digital and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel, received through Netgalley.

Broken Silence is dedicated to Baroness Lola Young and Kevin Hyland 'for opening my eyes to Modern-Day Slavery' and it is also 'mostly for all those victims of this appalling abuse of human rights.' Although the story itself is fictional, the fact it is inspired by the awful reality for so many people who are currently enduring terrible abuse at the hands of modern-day slave traders is utterly heartbreaking. It's not an easy subject to read about but I commend Liz Mistry for shining a light on the subject; it's vital that people are made aware so they can take action if they suspect it is happening near them. With this in mind, there are links at the end of the book to organisations who can help.
The book opens at the end of what seems to be a chase scene, as a character called Stefan is captured by his aggressive pursuers and informed by the ominously named Bullet that he has been told to hit him where it hurts - and that he is going to enjoy doing it. It's a disturbing prologue but who Stefan is and what is happening to him isn't revealed for a while as the storyline then switches to following DS Felicity Springer, the morning after the night before. It seems that a heavy night of drinking resulted in her making a choice she bitterly regrets and she leaves the 'Making Bradford Safe' conference she attended wracked with guilt. On her drive home she follows a white van and becomes concerned when she spots a hand waving for attention through the rear light. She calls 999 and demands assistance but the falling snow means visibility is poor. She crashes into the van and before she has a chance to react, a figure in a balaclava points a gun at her. Broken Silence is the second book in the DS Nikki Parekh series and in Last Request, Springer ,'The Spaniel' is Nikki's nemesis so it's fascinating to not only see a different side of her here but also to follow Nikki's confused thought processes as she investigates the disappearance of a colleague she detests but desperately wants to find safe. It's not necessary to have read Last Request but I would recommend it if you can to truly appreciate the development of the characters - and because it's a cracking read!
Nikki is a wonderful character and is rapidly becoming one of my favourites. She is such a complex woman, at work she is a dedicated detective who struggles with following orders and at home she is trying hard to be more present in her family's lives but finds it difficult to open up to her partner, Marcus. She is a strong woman but it's clear she is tormented by events in her past and the rubber band she wears on her wrist to snap against her skin when she finds it especially hard to cope is testament to how fragile she really is. One of the most intriguing aspects of Broken Silence is the juxtaposition between how Nikki is viewed by different people and how she sees herself. She might be a thorn in Felicity's side but a taunt by their boss, DCI Archie Hegley that she should be 'more like Parekh' actually spurs Springer into fighting for her survival as she questions what Nikki would do in a similar situation. Meanwhile, both her romantic and professional partners, Marcus and Saj respectively, know Nikki is more damaged and vulnerable than she lets on and in a book which exposes the worst of humankind, their constant love and support for her, even if she lets them down on occasion, is heartwarming.
Saj - DC Sajid Malik - also faces his own issues as a gay Muslim officer. His boyfriend, Langley is keen to move their relationship on but Saj is terrified how some of the more devout members of his family will respond. As always, Liz Mistry encapsulates the challenges of living in a diverse, multicultural city like Bradford, acknowledging both the sense of community and the racial and religious tensions. The vivid sense of place extends beyond the urban however, and the remote, rugged countryside also has an essential role to play in the story. 
I've purposely not mentioned too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away but I wish that what I read wasn't reflected in the current reality for too many people in real life. There are harrowing scenes of violence and abuse which highlight how easily people who were just trying to do the best for their families can be cruelly tricked and manipulated until they are trapped in situations it's almost unbearable to imagine. There is also a subplot which empathetically examines another important contemporary topic and I suspect the ongoing impact of what occurs here will continue to be explored in future books. Parts of the novel follow the mastermind behind the organised crime gang targeting Bradford and although I guessed their identity, I found these chapters to be uncomfortably compelling as they give a glimpse into the mind of a truly corrupted individual. Broken Silence is a chilling, poignant reminder of the worst of humanity but even more vitally, it also gives a voice to those who are suffering at the hands of these people traffickers. Gripping, perceptive and poignant from start to finish,  I can't wait to see what comes next for DS Nikki Parekh in this superb series.

Broken Silence is published by HQ Digital, purchasing links can be found here but please consider buying from an independent bookstore if possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.


About the Author


Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp 

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful review. You really understood Nikki and that means such a lot to me. She is a very complex character and I wanted that to come across to the reader. xx

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