Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Splintered Silence by Susan Furlong
I just finished Splintered Silence by Susan Furlong. It is a murder mystery involving Irish Travellers ( also known derogatorily as gypsies), Marines, Cadaver dogs and PTSD. There is a small resemblance to Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder series. Both books involve women who belong to a group of people belonging to a closed community that tends to keep to themselves and avoid outsiders. Burkholder is a former Amish that is now a Chief of Police is a community with many Amish. Brynn Callahan, from Splintered Silence, is a former Marine that left her Irish Traveller community in Bone Gap, Tennessee. Both have experienced trauma from within their community and then got no support when they tried to get help.
It is also interesting that the titles in both series have started with the word Silence. Both the Amish and the Travellers tend to avoid other people and try to solve problems within the community without calling in outside help, like the police.
Brynn was an MP and K-9 handler in the Marines and was deployed 3 times to Iraq and Afghanistan. She and her service dog were both injured in an explosion and Brynn was medically discharged. She was able to get her HRD (Human Remains Detection dog) and has gone home to her Traveller community after being fired from 3 jobs because of fallout from her PTSD. There are not a lot of services for PTSD and even fewer for female service members. She ends up relying on prescription drugs and alcohol to mask her symptoms. Her dog, Wilco, has lost a leg, is now deaf and also suffers from PTSD.
Shortly after returning to her grandparents home, Wilco discovers a body in the woods behind the mobile home community where they live. Soon another body is discovered by the dog near the mobile home park. The settled community, those that are not park of the Traveller clans, are outraged and use this opportunity to protest against them. Wilco has been instrumental in recovering the bodies, and Brynn has to navigate the line between helping the sheriff find the serial killer and hurting her family by cooperating with the authorities. It becomes personal when she discovers a connection to both of the victims.
The bodies and the violence of the protests are all triggers for Brynn's and Wilco's PTSD.
I like a good mystery and appreciate when I can learn a bit about a different culture. The incidents of PTSD were realistically and respectfully handled. I'm looking forward to the next book in the Bone Gap Travellers series.