Breaking Silence, an Electrifying New Crime Thriller by Alan Brenham

The Bottom Line: Impossible to put down, Brenham’s latest thriller piles layer-upon-layer of red herrings before revealing a shocker that few will see coming. 

Book 3 in Alan Brenham’s Claire Deveraux series begins in France, as the title character receives a potentially life-changing text: “You and your sister are two of a set of quadruplets.” The anonymous sender, AMZ, sends the same text to her identical twin sister, Megan. But the pair, hardened by a lifetime of misfortune, shrug it off as nonsense and head out to enjoy a delicious dinner together. 

But the Deverauxs aren’t AMZ’s only targets. In Texas, 55-year-old Henry Burrell receives a ransom text, demanding $50,000 in exchange for staying quiet about how Burrell “acquired” his son – a claim that could easily put him in prison. Unlike the Deverauxs, Henry knows that someone has finally uncovered a dark secret that he’s kept for close to three decades. He quickly caves, insisting that he needs a week to gather the funds. 

Through a series of subsequent texts, Brenham gradually reveals the apparent biological connection between the Deveraux sisters and Burrell. While the sisters dismiss AMZ’s claims for as long as humanly possible, they soon admit that their family history is “muddy” (see Brenham’s Every Silent Thing and Never Say a Word to see just how dark it truly is). A photograph of a man who bears a striking resemblance, as well as other details, prompt them to contact Henry and his wife, Sarah. 

It’s a decision they may soon regret. Desperate Henry, who has been quickly amassing a list of potential suspects, begins to imagine that the twins may be working with AMZ: “As long as those twins were alive, both he and Sarah were in serious jeopardy.” 

As usual, Brenham wastes no time putting his characters into dangerous situations, and his economical prose fast-tracks the experience. But what sets Breaking Silence apart from his other books is its shocking reveal. Few readers will see AMZ’s identity coming, and when it does, it’s a devastating jaw-dropper with emotional resonance and dire consequences for all characters.

Bonus points to Brenham for cleverly demonstrating just how much damage can be done with a phone number and a single nugget of sensitive information.

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