Review: Things We Won’t Say by Sarah Pekkanen

 

Title: Things We Won’t Say

Author: Sarah Pekkanen

Published: Simon & Schuster AU December 2015

Read an Extract

Status: Read from January 12 to 13, 2016 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

As the wife of a police officer, Jamie Anderson uncomfortably lives with the risk that Mike may be hurt or killed while performing his duty and isn’t sure how to best comfort her husband after his partner, and best friend, is shot and badly wounded. Just a few short weeks later Mike, stoic but still obviously distressed, is paired with a new hire, and finds himself in a situation that results in him shooting and killing a gun-wielding teenage boy. When the boy’s weapon is not found at the scene, Mike’s mental fitness given recent events is questioned, leading to an indictment for manslaughter, and sending Jamie into a panic as her cherished family unravels under the strain.

Pekkanen begins with a strong and provocative premise in The Things You Won’t Say, exploring the personal consequences for Jamie and her family in the wake of the shootings. In particular she focuses on the breakdown of communication between Jamie and Mike, both of whom are under enormous stress, and afraid to open up to one another about their fears for the future.

I felt badly for both Jamie and Mike who are quickly overwhelmed by circumstances that can’t control, and I was sympathetic to the issues that arose between them. I think the author captured the high emotions involved in the situation, however I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of nuanced characterisation, Jamie is hysterical much of the time, while Mike is withdrawn.

I also thought the core of the story was weakened by the addition of the perspectives of Christie, Mike’s self absorbed ex girlfriend, and mother to their son Henry; and Lou, Jamie’s younger sister, a zookeeper. While I liked both characters, who are very different, they are merely distractions, offering little support to the main plot.

Things You Can’t Say isn’t a bad read, but I felt it never really lived up to its potential. For me it lacked depth and focus.

Available via

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Leigh
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 09:07:05

    I read this too, and was puzzled as to why Christine and Lou were in the book. You’re right, they were distractions! I did enjoy Jamie and Mike’s story though.

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