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The Weight of Silence | [Heather Gudenkauf]

The Weight of Silence

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.
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Publisher's Summary

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered.

Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

©2009 Heather Gudenkauf; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Edgar Award Finalist, Best First Novel, 2010

"Every so often you get really lucky, and a book comes along that just knocks your socks off: an absorbing, engrossing, suspenseful read that you just want to keep paging through, a novel that feels a lot like running downhill - fast and a little breathless - until it all winds down and wraps up. The Weight of Silence is exactly this kind of book.... Jodi Picoult has some serious competition in Heather Gudenkauf. [She is] an author to watch.” (Bookreporter.com)

"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel. Heather Gudenkauf is one of those rare writers who can tell a tale with the skill of a poet while simultaneously cranking up the suspense until it's unbearable." (Tess Gerritsen)

"Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension. There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (882 )
5 star
 (284)
4 star
 (346)
3 star
 (176)
2 star
 (53)
1 star
 (23)
Overall
3.9 (724 )
5 star
 (237)
4 star
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3 star
 (145)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (20)
Story
4.1 (725 )
5 star
 (297)
4 star
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3 star
 (122)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (20)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Karen 07-01-15
    Karen 07-01-15 Member Since 2015

    I have been a book junky my whole life. When I listened to my first audiobook, I fell instantly in love! I have quite eclectic tastes.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    46
    13
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    Story
    "Good Story"

    I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read . It kept my intetest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W.P. Watermill, NY, United States 06-07-15
    W.P. Watermill, NY, United States 06-07-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story: Okay. Writing: God-Awful."
    What would have made The Weight of Silence better?

    Better writing. Less predictable, two-dimensional characters. Less sentences like this: "In an instant I have you in my arms and I am crying. Tears dropping many emotions, mostly thankfulness and relief, but tears of sorrow mixed in." Are you kidding me!?


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Definitely not Antonya.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    Sure.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment about the quality of the writing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 06-04-15
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 06-04-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
    ratings
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    170
    164
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    10
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Definitely suspensful, but not that good."

    I found one of the main characters, Antonia, a little annoying. She acts like she's 'all that' but she ends up not being as tough as she's supposed to be. How can she love her children so much and not get out of the situation she's in with her husband Grif? I did like her son Ben though, however, I disliked the scene where Ben is having a conversation in his mind while he's sitting by his sister's bed in the hospital. Just too weird.

    I think it was a little bit too dramatic and 'soap opera-ish' for me. It definitely had potential but it could have been better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy Revillo, SD, United States 05-11-15
    Peggy Revillo, SD, United States 05-11-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't stop listening"

    This book kept my interest. I had to have a marathon listening session to finish because it was so engrossing. Vi will definitely be looking for more from this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren 04-26-15
    Lauren 04-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    7
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Really 3.5 stars"

    Good read that kept me interested. I don't just give away 4 star ratings, though. I would've liked to see more character development and motive of the culprit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura KINGWOOD, TX, United States 04-22-15
    Laura KINGWOOD, TX, United States 04-22-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    15
    6
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Average suspense thriller"
    Any additional comments?

    I almost stopped listening early on when the hints of child sexual abuse made me very uncomfortable. The subject matter is tastefully handled and I enjoyed the book overall, but it isn't one I would highly recommend -- the underlying themes were disturbing to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alene L. Wesner Kansas City, MO United States 04-11-15
    Alene L. Wesner Kansas City, MO United States 04-11-15 Member Since 2014

    Alene

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    137
    16
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent!"

    Excellent performance of an excellent book! Did not expect the outcome of this wonderful story! A great whodunit narrated by a fantastic cast!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Pittsburgh, PA, United States 04-08-15
    Amy Pittsburgh, PA, United States 04-08-15 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    413
    11
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    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "sappy and poorly written"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    more subtle writing and narration


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    haven't finished it yet


    Would you be willing to try another one of the narrators’s performances?

    NO. Way over-acted. She changes her tone several times within sentences! So sappy


    Any additional comments?

    writing is amateurish

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MJ Hollywood, MD, United States 04-07-15
    MJ Hollywood, MD, United States 04-07-15

    MJ

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    251
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Predictable"
    Any additional comments?

    Interesting story for most of the book, but then became predictable in a way to tie all the loose ends up. The narration, although good, made the going slow with the narrators individually giving different points of view from the characters. Would suggest waiting for this title to go on sale instead of using a credit for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bird Lady 147 04-07-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    Overall
    Performance
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    "Multi person narration"

    Normally I don't like books with multiple person narrators. They can get annoying jumping from voice to voice. But not in The Weight of Silence. It was done well and the voices were well chosen for each character. I liked the fact that the children's voices were not made to sound

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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