Dean Reeve is no longer present in Frieda Klein's home, when it becomes a grisly crime scene full of white-suited forensic officers. DCI Karlsson is the first to hear that Freida Klein is not dead. Arriving at her house, he spies Frieda's Ukrainian friend, Josef, in the backyard. Josef had found the body of ex-policeman Bruce Stringer, who everyone suspects was slain by Dean Reeve. But Reeve was supposed to have killed himself seven years ago. As Frida continues to try to tell the police that Dean Reeve is still alive and that he's committed other murders, Chief Inspector Petra Burge wonders why Reeve would kill this man and then go to the trouble of putting the body in Frieda's house.
Opening just hours after Frieda solves the mystery of the Hannah Docherty case, Sunday Silence deals with the events in the immediate aftermath of Stringer's murder. While Burge learns that Stringer was helping Frieda search for Dean Reeve, Frieda's old nemesis Commissioner Crawford--yearning only to satisfy his superiors and leave his career--finally admits that he was responsible for stopping the Reeve investigation years ago: "I didn't believe her. Now Frieda has me where she wants me." Luckily for Burge, Crawford has handed her this high-profile case that will hopefully make her career.
The risks are huge, the danger ever-present. While Karlsson and Burge frantically try to put together a plan to locate Reeve, Frieda is packed off to live with her best friend, Reuben. She feels detached, as if she's observing herself through the jostle of the pressled by Liz Barron, who for years has taken a hostile interest in Frieda. Frieda knows that Burge's search will be fruitless. She also tells her there will be obvious problems with looking for someone who has basically disappeared and is presumed dead. She reminds Burge that Josef once came across Reeve on a building site. Since then everything about Reeve's whereabouts has become a bit murky.
Frieda's friends play a pivotal role in this thriller: from her niece, Chloe, to her sister, Olivia, to Josef and his young son, Alexie, to Karlsson and Rueben and Detective Inspector, Yvette Long, and Hal Bradshaw, the psychologist criminal profiler used by the Met who seems to pop every time the media wants a quote on a particularly nasty crime. Meanwhile, Burge's investigation has been thoroughly professional, but it doesn't look good; the search for Reeve is suddenly at a standstill. Questions have been asked inside and outside of the force, especially after Chloe is abducted, drugged, then photographed, and Rueben is savagely beaten.
French is at the top of her game with this tense scenario of intrigue centering once more on Frieda's emotional state as she walks through the streets of London. Her intuition takes her deep into the area of Silvertown and a landscape of crumbling warehouses and vast half-unfinished building sites. Perhaps this is where a Reeve copycat-killer is planning his next attack. Frieda pictures a crowbar smashing into Rueben as he lay on the floor in his pajamas; and Chloe lying on a mattress somewhere in a photograph that was given to Frieda by the tense, beak-nosed journalist, Daniel Blackstock.
What happened to Chloe and Reuben doesn't fit. There's a logic to Reeve murdering Stringer: it was aimed at Frieda. ("Somehow, I got tangled with Reeve's life and got into his head.") The press constantly harasses her, desperate for their readers to know more about the violence that always seems to be at the heart of Frieda's world. Life-and-death conflicts inevitably take Frieda into a classic hunt for yet another killer, a quest that started with the darkness and pain of the Hannah Docherty case and went straight into the horror of finding Bruce Stringer's body, ending six months later when the efforts to find Reeve have finally gone cold. Fast-paced and tense, French keeps a tight handle on her narrative, always keeping us in the know about the nightmarish challenges Frieda faces in Dean Reeve, who continues to be an evil puppet master manipulating Frieda's life from behind the scenes.
London once again is the perfect backdrop--cold, wintry, the light so dim and dark. While this outing is basically about Frieda's loyalty to her friends and family, it is also about how she carries with her the "family of ghosts": all of the people who have died because of Dean and because of her. Frieda knows that the end is coming in the form of a final confrontation. Her pain is shared by the reader, who although immersed within the mystery, always roots for Frieda in the hope that she can finally bring Reeve's nightmare of murder and terror and to an end.