The Silent Girls – Eric Rickstad

Frank Rath, private investigator and single father, thought he would be done with murder after turning in his detective’s badge. But when local police find the abandoned car of a missing sixteen-year-old girl, who seems to have disappeared without a trace, he finds himself working the case with them.

Tortured by his own demons, worried constantly about his daughter away at her first semester of college, Rath finds it difficult to focus—but as he and the detectives begin to dig deeper into Mandy Wilks’ disappearance, they discover similar disappearances throughout the state. Despite the girls’ striking differences in almost every facet of appearance and personality, they all had one thing in common: a secret…

I really wanted to like The Silent Girls. I really did. And to be fair, I liked the story and the twist at the end. But the writing was just utterly atrocious.

I wondered more than once (quite often, actually) if The Silent Girls had ever even seen an editor. It wasn’t just the choppy phrasing that annoyed me, because that could be a stylistic choice. Fine. Dialogue like “She seemed normal. But. No mention of a boyfriend or man. Nothing. I wish I could help. But.” looks stupid and breaks up my reading flow, but fine. (Someone please tell Mr. Rickstad that periods are not the only way to break up clauses. He could have used a few ellipses or dashes in there, especially with all those “But”s.)

It was more the fact that there were several sentences that literally made no sense at all:


“A tiny human; most definitely not been a fetus.” Uh…what is that “been” doing there? Even though “A tiny human; most definitely not a fetus” would still be a fragment, at least it would make sense.


Okay, no apostrophe in “I’d” and “a single struggling mom of who was a member”? Don’t you mean just “who was a member”? Where the heck did that “of” come from?


I guess he couldn’t decide whether to use “which” or “that,” so he went with both! *facepalm*

And it was published by Witness Impulse/William Morrow, both imprints of Harper Collins, so there’s really no excuse for such shoddy (or nonexistent!) editing. All three of the errors I included above are things that should have been caught easily, had the book ever been looked at even once by an editor. And, unbelievably, Mandy Wilks’ name changed at least once to “Mandy Wilkins.” That’s something you can make sure is consistent with find and replace! There is NO excuse for that. None.

Looks like there’s another mystery to solve: The Mystery of the Missing Editor. My guess is that he or she jumped off a bridge screaming “IT’S NOT WORTH IT!” after looking over The Silent Girls for the first time, and then they couldn’t find anyone else so they said “to hell with it” and published it anyway.

I don’t really know what else to say. Like I said earlier, I did enjoy the story—the morals were a little heavy-handed and the characters were pretty flat, but the mystery and how it all tied together was pretty good. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of what should have been a simple, fluffy mystery novel was ruined by the terrible writing and lack of competent editing. Maybe others will be able to overlook the myriad errors and annoying phrasing, but if your brain is programmed to seek out grammatical errors the way mine is, I would recommend staying far, far away from The Silent Girls.


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4 thoughts on “The Silent Girls – Eric Rickstad

  1. If this was an advanced copy I’d understand if there were a few errors, but I’m guessing it wasn’t an advanced copy? If a book is REALLY good, I can forgive one, maybe two missed errors – but they would have to be very small errors. Regardless of how small the error is I still get annoyed because I know someone was paid to notice mistakes and they should be finding all of them. If I can notice it, why can’t they.
    The plot of this story intrigues me, but I can guarantee I won’t be reading it because I know I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it with all those mistakes!

    • Definitely not an advanced copy—I ordered it on Amazon!! And though I haven’t read many ARCs, I’ve never seen mistakes this bad in those and certainly not in final, published works. I don’t know what the deal was. It’s really a shame because it had a lot of potential!

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