“The Quiet Child” by John Burley is a book filled with non-stop suspense, mystery, suspicion, and surprises. It is difficult to write a review without spoilers because every event is tied to another. In the summer of 1954, the residents of the small town of Cottonwood in California are shaken by the blatant daylight kidnapping of two children; the family car was stolen with Danny and Sean McCray inside. The search for the boys is complicated because the younger boy, Danny, is a “quiet child” and does not speak.
A dark cloud hangs over the residents of Cottonwood as they struggle with a multitude of concerns, the kidnapping of course, but also the economy, the quality of life in the small town, and the health and well-being of friends and family. Things are much more complicated than they seem on the surface, and that ambiguity is the gripping part of the story.
Burley has constructed a story so compelling and so full of twists, turns, and startling revelations that it is difficult to describe more of the plot without giving away critical details. Just be advised that each page contains a tiny kink, a compelling question, or an unanticipated turn. The plot is unpredictable and compelling, and every action has a dark side and an unexpected consequence. Burke drops the details slowly, bit by bit, throughout the narrative. Just when things seem to be coming together, here comes another complication. No one is truthful, and not everything is as it appears.
“The Quiet Child” is as compelling as it is deceptive; nothing is as it seems. Tension, anticipation, and suspense drag readers into the story. I could not put it down; I was stunned on every page. And yes, it ends with a HUGE bombshell. I heard John Burley speak about “The Quiet Child” at The Book Carnival in Orange, Ca. He is an interesting speaker, and his book is unforgettable.