It’s a real pleasure to feature Jennie Ensor on Linda’s Book Bag for the Silenced blog tour. I’d like to thank both Jennie and Rebecca Collins at Hobeck for inviting me to participate. I’m delighted to share my review today.
Previously Jennie stayed in with me here to chat about Not Having It All and provided a brilliant guest post about Blind Side that you’ll find here. I have also reviewed another of Jennie’s books, The Girl in His Eyes here.
Published tomorrow, 7th December 2021, Silenced is available for purchase in all the usual places including directly from Hobeck here.
A teenage girl is murdered on her way home from school, stabbed through the heart. Her North London community is shocked, but no-one has the courage to help the police, not even her mother. DI Callum Waverley, in his first job as senior investigating officer, tries to break through the code of silence that shrouds the case.
This is a world where the notorious Skull Crew rules through fear. Everyone knows you keep your mouth shut or you’ll be silenced – permanently.
This is Luke’s world. Reeling from the loss of his mother to cancer, his step-father distant at best, violent at worst, he slides into the Skull Crew’s grip.
This is Jez’s world too. Her alcoholic mother neither knows nor cares that her 16-year-old daughter is being exploited by V, all-powerful leader of the gang.
Luke and Jez form a bond. Can Callum win their trust, or will his own demons sabotage his investigation? And can anyone stop the Skull Crew ensuring all witnesses are silenced?
Silenced is the compelling and gritty new thriller by British author Jennie Ensor. A gripping story of love, fear and betrayal, it’s Romeo and Juliet for our troubled times.
My Review of Silenced
A young girl’s murder has consequences across the community.
What a totally cracking story. I was gripped by Silenced from start to finish because it’s exciting, written with compassion and authority, and brilliantly entertaining too. Silenced has so many layers that it can be read on several levels, giving it a fascinating depth – so much so that I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. The quality of Jennie Ensor’s writing is so smooth and effective that she manages to permeate the reader’s mind, making them look afresh at the world and question their assumptions about others. I think it’s the natural dialogue that helps makes it so impactful as it is as if the reader is eavesdropping the conversations of real people. Add in the first person narratives that feel as if the characters are speaking directly to the reader, and Silenced really is a powerful, potent and important novel.
Firstly Silenced is a convincing police procedural narrative that completely hooks the reader from the beginning. A fast pace for the procedural element is created by timed or dated entries, short engaging chapters and an underlying sense of menace. Several times I found my heart thumping with tension as I read. I thought Callum was a wonderful character and the way in which his past resonates through his present life makes him all the more convincing. As his character is gradually built and revealed, he becomes increasingly vivid and appealing. Through Callum, Jennie Ensor illustrates the impact of crime on those investigating it with stark clarity.
I was mesmerised and horrified in equal measure by the gangland culture element of Silenced. Here I was presented with a world so far removed from my own that it should feel alien, but Jennie Ensor writes with such authority that I found myself plunged into a world of crime that felt all too real and scary. I was terrified of V, Zom et al, because I believed in them completely.
However, the element of the narrative that I found so compelling, so affecting and so thought-provoking was the exploration of society, of morality, of truth, and of how easy it is for youngsters like Luke and Jez to be sucked into a lifestyle they cannot escape. My heart ached for these two young people even when their actions should have made me abhor them. Jennie Ensor presents the real world with empathy, sensitivity and intense psychological insight. Having read Silenced I feel as if I understand the world better.
The themes of memory, truth, family, loyalty, violence, guilt and justice weaving through Silenced are presented with such dexterity that it is impossible to believe this is a work of fiction.
Silenced it a fantastic book. It’s exciting, enthralling, completely believable and an absolute triumph.
A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor began her writing career as a journalist, obtaining a Masters in Journalism (winning two awards) and covering topics from forced marriage to accidents in the mining industry. She isn’t afraid to tackle controversial issues in her novels, either: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in her debut Blind Side (a psychological mystery blended with a love story), domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in her second, The Girl In His Eyes.
Her third novel Not Having It All , a relationship comedy, is an excursion to the brighter side of life. A new edition was published in January 2021.
Ms Ensor’s poetry has appeared in many publications including Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears. Her poem Lost Connection placed second in the Breakout Prose category of the Fish Lockdown Prize in 2020.
In her spare time(?) she reads, walks and attempts twice-weekly yoga. She regularly cycles the punishing hills of north London and at the end of the day enjoys collapsing with a bar of chocolate/glass of strong alcohol in front of a TV crime drama.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: