Book Club: Not A Sound

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Author: Heather Gudenkauf
ISBN: 9780778319955
RRP: $29.99

We try to offer a range of genres for book club; I then try to separate the genres as I read but that doesn’t always work. I have just read another psychological thriller, we seem to have a lot of them at the moment.

Not A Sound is the latest offering by NYT bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf. I read One Breath Away on it’s release way back in 2012 (I didn’t realise it was so long ago) and really enjoyed it so when I saw this new one being released I jumped at the chance to offer it to book club readers.

Amelia Winn is a passionate sexual assault nurse who is tragically injured by a hit and run driver as she walks a patient to her car after her release from the hospital. Stacey is killed instantly in the collision and Amelia is left with life-changing injuries and an ongoing need to know who may have been driving the car.

Fast forward two years and Amelia is finally starting to find her feet and put her life back together. The accident left her deaf and without her hearing her physical recovery wasn’t enough to get her back to work so she spiraled into a dark depression and sought relief at the bottom of a bottle, ultimately taking away everything else in her life that meant anything to her.

Finally Amelia is finding her way in her new world with the help of her service dog Stitch and her proximity to dense woods and Five Mines river. A paddle on the river or a run through the woods is a great distraction when the temptation for a drink gets too strong, it’s a great way to clear the mind and relieve stress.

One morning Amelia is out for an early paddle before a job interview, her first major step back into society. Instead of clearing her mind Amelia discovers a body floating in the river and gets caught up in a murder investigation. The media doesn’t release her name as the witness but the 911 call she makes does a pretty convincing job of identifying her.

Amelia was an unusual heroine, she suffered injury induced deafness and I can only imagine how difficult that would be to learn to live with. I can see how it would make learning to lip read a little easier and she was still able to talk which I think would make things a little easier, though she was never quite sure on her voice modulation and that definitely makes for some awkward situations.

I think the biggest struggle Amelia faced was the blow to her career. She was still capable, qualified and passionate about her nursing skills but unable to conceive of working with patients when hearing impaired; that’s what spiraled her into an alcoholic haze and now that she’s dragging herself out of it the discovery of a body in her sanctuary is almost enough to send her back to the bottle.

The victim is someone Amelia knows, they were good friends until Amelia locked everyone out of her world and it hits her hard that there’s now no going back. Amelia knows she should leave the investigation to the police, and one of the detectives is her big brother’s best friend, but she can’t seem to let go and leave it to them.

Amelia  has been working hard to get her life back; to prove to her estranged husband that she has her life back under control so he should give her a second chance and allow her more access into Nora’s life. Countless times throughout the story Amelia reminds us that Nora is her stepdaughter and so she has no legal rights, any contact she has is down to what her ex-husband chooses to allow her.

Gudenkauf has woven a tight and suspenseful story that threw enough curve balls to keep me guessing. There were a couple of options that were easily dismissed but also some storylines that I would not have seen coming.

There is an under current of romantic tension and a possible love triangle which I’m still not quite sure how I feel about. In no way is Not A Sound a romance, nor is there a secondary romantic storyline but that element of tension is there. Amelia wants her husband back, she misses her life with him and her time with Nora. But does she really want him back?

The big brother’s best friend, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to learn that Amelia had a crush on him growing up. What girl didn’t crush on at least one of her big brother’s friends. The feelings fade, life goes on and you forget about it. But sometimes you become good friends and you are there to share in each other’s lives. Amelia is sure that Jake sees her as a little sister; he looks out for her and for the most part he doesn’t take her seriously. She will always be the annoying kid sister even if she is all grown up and doing her own clandestine investigations into the murder.

I enjoyed the pacing, I wasn’t left thinking that it just needed to hurry up and have something happen already and I enjoyed that there were so many options for my mind to explore as we started uncovering clues and getting closer to the murderer.

Heather Gudenkauf writes an intense story with an interesting heroine and an uncomfortable storyline. I hope our book club readers enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members are going to be reading Not A Sound so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

You can find Heather Gudenkauf on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

Not A Sound is available now through Harlequin, Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld and where all good books are sold.


22 thoughts on “Book Club: Not A Sound

  1. ‘Not a Sound’, how pleased I was to be given the opportunity to review this book. Thankyou Beauty&laceand Harlequinbooks.
    I cannot speak too highly of this book, and Heather Gudenkauf is an amazing author.
    Amelia, a nurse is the principal character, becoming profoundly deaf owing to a hit and run accident two years previously in which her abused patient is killed
    She is separated from her husband David due to her turning to alcohol and being unreliable around her step daughter Nora.
    Whilst paddle-boarding near her backyard with her service dog Stitch she discovers the body of her nursing friend, Gwen. Terribly shocked she is determined to discover who murdered Gwen.
    Despite her deafness, and now no longer reliant on alcohol, she gains employment in the area where she lives. It is with the Five Mines Regional Cancer Centre, there she is doing clerical work hoping one day to return to nursing.

    This was such a good book from the beginning to the end, I’m avoiding giving too much away but believe me it is a book you just cannot put down!
    I was interested to read that the author, Heather Gudenkauf is herself hearing impaired.
    Because of Amelia being profoundly deaf I found vivid descriptions plus her complete silence made it a very different and interesting read.
    I loved Stitch and the part he played as well.
    I would give this top star rating as ‘Not a Sound’ was a really great book!

    1. To be honest, this is a great and fascinating story… It was be hard to be normal, but Amelia, because of her involvement with a patient, is involved in an accident that leaves her deaf… It is a wonderful story, and it does not end up as I thought. I was way out with the murderer, but, ….. you will have to read the story to find out about that part… to tell you would be heartless. The story becomes involved, but amelia wants to go back to work, as she is finding that being home all day is not the answer, even with her dog, who can help her so much. It is a gripping story and I had to leave everything to read the last few pages, to find out who, how, and why… go to it, my friends and read it you rself… great who dunit.

  2. Not a Sound is the gripping tale of Amelia Winn, a nurse who is left deaf after a hit and run. Amelia is just piecing her life back together after 2 years, the prior 2 having turned to drink and losing her family. Now her life is getting on track when she comes across a body…without giving too much away from here it just gets crazy and impossible to put the book down. I loved the whole storyline of this book and having the lead character deaf throws a whole new spin on a normal thriller. Easily 5/5 stars from me.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace, Heather Gudenkauf for this fantastic read

    1. Hi Betty,
      You don’t actually have to tell us your rating. Please just click on the stars on the post to vote.
      Thanx 🙂

  3. This was a really gripping book that I found too hard to put down………”just another page”, I`d say and an hour later I`d have to really try and stop, towards the end I just couldn`t stop.
    I read this fairly quickly because it wasn`t dragged out and always kept me in the story trying to guess the killer which I thought the same as Amelia so I`d make no great detective.
    Loved the ending as it was so on the edge till the end and not very many books can keep you in the moment for so long.
    Heather is a spectacular writer and definately one to look out for!
    No wonder this book is a best seller, loved it from start to finish and makes you realise just how frightening it would be to be deaf and how Amelias sense of smell was heightened and how hard it would be to actually lip read.
    Loved Stitch, Jake and Nora. Just so intersing and thought provoking also.
    Thanks for this bringing me into the wonderful world of Heather Gudenkauf xo

  4. As others have said you have to keep reading no putting this one down.

    Heather Gudenkauf’ is a new author to me but one i think i will have to read more of.

    I’m no detective but I kept hoping I would work it out before i read what happened…..i failed 🙁

    Amelia and her dog are well fleshed out characters and you cant but help wanting them to succeed.

    You wonder in life how you could cope if you lost one of your senses, and this book has given me a great appreciation for all I have.

    in short a fantastic suspenseful read that kept me captured till the very end…

    Thanks so much Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read such a well crafted book

  5. Thank you for selecting me to read Not A Sound by Heather Gudenkauf
    Wow what a great book from the Prologue to the last Chapter
    I couldn’t put this book down
    Amelia is the main character who is deaf due to a awful accident ( not saying anymore don’t want to spoil for other readers )
    She has a service/ guard trained dog called Stitch to assist her
    Amelia is finally getting her life back on track when she discovers the body of an old friend of hers
    Amelia starts looking into her friends life trying to piece together who did this to her
    I thought I knew who the killer was I was so very wrong
    I have never read any of Heather Gudenkauf books before I see she has written 5 other books so will definitely be reading these books as well
    Have now given this book to my neighbour to read as I know she will enjoy it as much as I did

  6. Wow what a great read! This book just flowed for me, it was a easy book to read but a real page turner at the same time.
    I found Heather’s writing beautifully detailed and very descriptive but didnt drag the book out, just made it even more enjoyable.
    It was fast paced and kept me guessing the whole way through and like the other reviewers I didnt guess the ending!
    I have not read a book with a deaf main character and her fear of the dark (without giving anything away) made me think of how lucky I am. It would be a very daunting position to be in
    I’m looking forward to reading some of her other books which are hopefully as great as this. Have recommended this to several of my book loving friends already and only finished today! Well done!
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to discover another great author!

  7. I selected Heather Gudenkauf’s latest based on an article I read that was featured in the highly regarded Washington Post stating this novel was ‘a thriller worth staying up all night to finish’. Going on this strong recommendation and my enjoyment of Gudenkauf’s 2016 release, Missing Pieces, I was all set to be thoroughly entertained by Not A Sound.

    Not A Sound deviates somewhat from a traditional thriller. The heroine is a hearing impaired, former nurse, named Amelia Winn. Amelia is joined by her hero, a four legged and rather prickly service dog, named Stitch. Together, this twosome inadvertently enter in a full blown murder investigation.

    If you are looking for a fast paced and riveting thriller, that leaves you guessing until virtually the close of the novel, then I would suggest you put Heather Gudenkauf’s newest book on your reading list – quick smart! I had fairly high expectations going into this novel, which was mainly due to my enjoyment of Gudenkauf’s previous novel and the acclaim this novel has received from the media. I am pleased to report that I was very taken by this gripping thriller.

    Part of my appreciation of this novel comes from the insertion of a hearing impaired main protagonist, who later becomes the lead investigator in the case of her murdered friend. I thought Gudenkauf handled this character with both a balance of respect and insight. Through Amelia Winn, we learn what it is like to have one of your primary senses ripped away from you unexpectedly. Gudenkauf makes mention of the difficult period the main character Amelia goes through, in the aftermath of the accident, which is around a period of two years. Gudenkauf details Amelia’s depression, battle with the booze, her self imposed exile from life and the losses Amelia had to endure. Gudenkauf, hearing impaired herself, uses this story to highlight the services available to the hearing impaired. Some of these essential services include lip reading courses, service dogs and speech pathology classes. Having worked with the hearing impaired in my profession, I wasn’t aware of many of these forms of assistance and reading Not A Sound served to enhance my understanding of the challenges faced by the hearing impaired.

    Along with Amelia and the loveable scruff ball Stitch, Amelia’s service dog, there are not a huge amount of characters that fill the pages of this novel. The small character list ensures that the characterisation in this novel is sound. It also meant that my suspect list was shortened. I found that I was initially wrong with who I suspected committed Gwen’s Murder, but my second guess was correct. Gudenkauf doesn’t make you work too hard in putting the pieces of this puzzle together. Entertainment value wise, Not A Sound is one of those novels that keeps you theorising until the close of the novel. I do have to say that I was a little displeased to discover one of the main mystery threads of the novel was not closed.

    I encourage you to select this intense mystery/ suspense filled novel if you like the challenge of reading a book that will make you want to stay up until you finish it, even if it’s close to the sun rising – it did just that for me, thanks Ms Gudenkauf!

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.

  8. “Not a Sound” is a well crafted thriller, fast paced and convincing. It focuses on Amelia Winn, a nurse made permanently deaf in adult hood through an accident. The loss of her hearing sent Amelia into a depressive spiral that destroyed her life. She is just beginning to regain her footing when she finds the body of another nurse in the river near her cabin. This sets off a chain of events with the potential to destroy everything Amelia has rebuilt.

    My son is deaf, and I often found myself thinking “why doesn’t she use…”. I see from the author’s notes that she made a very particular decision to limit the supports and technology that Amelia uses to compensate for her deafness. I’m not sure that decision was entirely appropriate for a character who is intelligent, educated, familiar with medical technology, and hoping to re-enter a career that calls for high level communication skills. However, this was a very small distraction and probably wouldn’t bother other readers who are less familiar with the supports available.

    Gudenkauf has captured many of the frustrations and challenges of being deaf in a hearing world. She has focused on what seem to be the most common (although my son tells me there are plenty of others), and I think is pretty realistic about the way many hearing people simply don’t stop to think about simple adjustments. I found this quite a sensitive portrayal of both this particular disability, and of someone coming to terms with an acquired disability.

    At the same time, this is a really good thriller. The plot is convincing, and although some elements were obvious early on, others were kept more mysterious until much later. I liked the fact that although there were multiple suspects, it didn’t descend into the everyone’s-got-a-secret vortex that can make some thrillers feel over the top.

    Amelia’s deafness is used to good effect in the climatic scenes, showing how it effects her reactions and choices. It was good to see her disability genuinely integrated into the plot, and not used as a gimmick. The characterisation of all characters – not just Amelia – is strong and convincing.

    Finally, this was very well paced; fast moving but not frenetic, with a good mix of subplots and an increasing sense of urgency as the climax approached. This is a really good novel, and should be enjoyed by anyone who likes thrillers, strong characterisations, or slightly unexpected elements in the plot.

  9. Not A Sound is a gripping psychological thriller from best-selling author, Heather Gudenkauf. It also stars an interesting protagonist in former nurse, Amelia Winn. The latter is left hearing-impaired after a tragic accident. Further tragedy strikes two years later when she discovers the body of her former friend and this sets Winn on a detective hunt for the killer.

    This book is a difficult one to put down. Gudenkauf expertly drops little hints and clues and you will suspect various characters along the way. It comes to a satisfying conclusion and the ending is not one you were expecting. Not A Sound is a highly recommended book for people who enjoy reading about a strong woman putting in a good fight along a journey for justice.

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