Silent Scream
Lynda La Plante
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Buy *Silent Scream: An Anna Travis Mystery* by Lynda La Plante online

Silent Scream: An Anna Travis Mystery
Lynda La Plante
432 pages
July 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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La Plante lays the foundation for a compelling and complex tale of obsession and passion as Detective Inspector Anna Travis and her ex-lover, Detective Chief Superintendent James Langton, are thrust into the investigation of the murder of Amanda Delany. A beautiful up-and-coming movie actress who had been setting the world of celebrity on fire, Amanda is found brutally stabbed to death in her brand-new luxury mews house.

Only twenty-four and with a big career ahead of her, Amanda had been working on a remake of the film Gaslight. Now she lies dead, cut down in the prime of her life, her naked body discovered by her shocked theatrical agent Andrea Lesser, who can only stand frozen before the awful tableau: multiple stab wounds, sheets stained in hideous thick pools of blood. Strangely, Amanda's gorgeous face is unmarked.

Still reeling from being dumped by DCI Langton, Anna is drawn to the case by her natural curiosity, aroused by the rumor that on the set of Gaslight just days before her death, Amanda had heard a loud scream somewhere outside her back door. Although the actress failed to report it to the police, she had told her co-workers that it was “a pretty scary experience.”

The investigative team quickly unearths a slew of suspects with some kind of ax to grind against Amanda, from ex-lovers to agents, limousine drivers to investment bankers. Even her former roommates fall under a net of suspicion: Jeannie, Felicity, and Dan, three sad kids who lived with Amanda in a sleazy basement flat. Their lives choked full of broken dreams, surprisingly it was Amanda who got the first big break and started to earn huge sums of money.

Amanda reportedly had a foul mouth and was also rumored to be snorting crack-cocaine. Recently she had been ordered to curtail her sexual exploits because of a series of affairs she was conducting with three current heartthrobs: Rupert Mitchell, who had left his wife for her; handsome Scott Meyers; and hottie Colin O’Dell, who was using Amanda as a cheap sex object with little regard for her feelings.

Of course, hatred kills even when fear can only be measured by how important a person is. The reality is that Amanda was a “shell of a woman,” trying desperately to maintain her ethereal and wraith-like beauty. This complicated case steadily undulates outwards in a maelstrom of jealousy and anger. The author's ubiquitous red herrings and serpentine plot shape what rapidly becomes a devastating and heartbreaking story of betrayal and unrequited passion.

La Plante deftly manipulates the threads of Amanda's murder with Anna’s sometimes difficult relationships with the other detectives. She also perfectly captures the many hours of tedious work, the information-gathering and the methods the police use to track down those individuals somehow connected to the crime. Anna is stubborn, but her fondness for detail undoubtedly drives this exciting thriller. While the murderer of Amanda Delaney hides like a buried seam, Anna uses everything she has to crack the outward veneer, becoming a worthy and no-nonsense successor to the author's legendary Jane Tennison.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Michael Leonard, 2010

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