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Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot (Oonagh o’Neill #2) @Theresa_Talbot @Aria_Fiction #KeepHerSilent

September 9, 2018


Source: Review copy

Publication: 21 August 2018 from Aria

Pp: 428

ISBN-13: 978-1788545334

Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you’ That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large… When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?


Keep Her Silent is the follow up to The Lost Girls and we find Oonagh in 2002 and not yet wholly recovered from her ordeal as she investigated the brutal abuse in the Magdalen institutions run by the Catholic Church. Oonagh herself was savagely attacked and she has the scar to prove it – and  her good friend Father Tom has now left the church. Physically she is now fine, but her nerves are on edge, her judgement is a wee bit shoogly and she is finding it hard to get by even on a maximum dose of tranquilisers.

None of this, of course, is going to stop her from pursuing her career as a T.V. journalist.  Under pressure from her boss to share her programme development ideas and to give away some of her limelight, Oonagh claims to be quite a way down the road to developing a series on Women Who Kill. Now all she has to do is to make a start….

When she is given a tip off about a cold case and a previously uncovered scandal, she has no idea that it will lead her straight to Dorothy Malloy, a woman who has been in a mental institution for over 20 years for the savage murder of her husband and six year old son.  Dorothy’s mental state is fragile and no-one reading this book could fail to be appalled and horrified at some of the heart-breaking treatment she had to endure at the hands of her jailers.

Neither does Oonagh realise that this cold case will lead her deep into the details of a medical scandal of huge proportions which, to this day, has left relatives grieving and seeking answers.

D.I. Alec Davies has also been told by his boss to investigate a cold case. In 1975 the ‘Raphael‘ killer murdered three young women, leaving biblical messages with their bodies, and then disappeared. Now a woman is insisting her dead father is the killer.

Though they do not know it, Oonagh and Alec are working on parallel lines of enquiry and it soon becomes clear that they are embroiled in a cover up of a scandal of massive proportions. The details of the contaminated blood scandal are factual and Talbot demonstrates just how terrible the impact was on families.

This is a chilling story, made more so for its basis in fact and Theresa Talbot has created a spine tingling story that is full of corruption, malfeasance and murder. This story twists and turns but as a balance to the darkness, there is a frequent spark of humour in some of Oonagh’s banter that helps to leaven the dread.

With a layered and complex plot, Talbot pulls all the strands together for a surprising and horrifying denouement .

Verdict: an utterly fascinating plot line, rooted in fact, that will keep you interested all through the book.



About Theresa Talbot  

theresa talbot

Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel. Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson. Penance, later published as The Lost Children was Theresa’s debut crime novel.

Follow Theresa on Twitter @Theresa_Talbot

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