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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    385
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    406
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    219
  • 2 Stars
    61
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    31

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    402
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    318
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    147
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    29
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    29

Story

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    189
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    52
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    25
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Enjoyed

Good story good narrators. Liked more than I thought I would. Worth a listen to

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A shade better than mediocre

Tries to be a whodunnit, a love that never was story, and a lost-opportunities story. but fails to be interesting in any category. Not a good use of 10+ hours of listening.

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Good Story

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

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • W.P.
  • Watermill, NY, United States
  • 06-07-15

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.

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  • Story
  • Cheryl
  • Douglasville, GA, United States
  • 06-04-15

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.

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  • Peggy
  • Revillo, SD, United States
  • 05-11-15

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.

  • Overall
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  • 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.

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  • Laura
  • KINGWOOD, TX, United States
  • 04-22-15

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.

  • Overall
  • 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!

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Amy
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 04-08-15

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