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Lisa Boyle
In the Silence of Decay
Lisa Boyle, author
New Mexico, 1979: After a career in the military as a CID detective, all James Pinter wants to do is drive his rig and mind his own damn business. But when his daughter, Molly, finds a dead woman behind a gas station and a disabled boy at her side, he’s forced to reckon with his former life. The state police record the death as an overdose—just another drug addict from the reservation—but James can’t ignore the clues they’re conveniently overlooking. Reluctant to get involved but fearing for the boy’s life, James shares his suspicions with the Navajo Nation. The victim’s sister, desperate for answers, insists on James’s help. But the more James investigates, the further he and Molly are dragged into a world of drugs and corruption, big money and explosive secrets. When James’s life is threatened, he knows he ought to leave town and take Molly with him. But he won’t abandon the innocent. Not after what happened at My Lai.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Boyle's plot is propulsive and engaging, just what a mystery ought to be. There are many elements at play here—the Vietnam War, discrimination against Indigenous people, the nuclear plant's impending dump, a father-daughter relationship, and a romance—but because it is well paced, these elements never seem overwhelming or disjointed.

Prose: The prose is smooth and feels realistic, and Boyle's descriptive text is simple in a pleasing way.

Originality: This hits all the hallmarks in mystery/thriller novels, and, though similar stories have been done throughout the genre, it's immensely satisfying. Good tension, intriguing mystery, and interesting character development make this a solid novel.

Character/Execution: Boyle introduces a striking cast of characters. Readers will root for James and Molly's blossoming connection as father and daughter, and characters like Kay and Wayne are equally easy to connect with. Supporting cast members Gloria, the Codys family, and Dale provide additional intrigue. 

Date Submitted: August 14, 2023