What’s coming next in author Julia Madeleine’s No One To Hear You Scream is a world of manipulation, suspense, and terror, all of it orchestrated by Rory Madden. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Rory has made a life for himself in upstate New York in a beautiful house set on twenty acres of secluded land.
Of course the fact he financed it all by selling drugs comes back to bite him when he’s busted in a sting and sent to jail. Unable to keep up the payments on the house, it’s foreclosed on and put up for sale. Enter the Jamesons.
Brett and Pamela are fed up with city life and looking for a place in the country. They think it would be a great change of scenery not only for them, but for their seventeen year-old daughter Justine too, especially since she’s just had a baby and is a bit overwhelmed by it all.
When they’re shown Rory’s beautiful house, standing empty and for sale at a steal of a price, they think they’re finally on the way to fulfilling their dream. What they get instead is a nightmare when a screwup by police springs Rory from jail on a technicality after only six months and he immediately heads back to upstate New York intending to get the house back that he worked so hard to build…no matter what it takes.
Knowing he can’t make a direct assault on the family, Rory beings by instituting a campaign of vandalism and anonymous harassment intended to get the Jamesons so unnerved they’ll leave “voluntarily.” When that doesn’t work he steps things up, digging into the family’s secrets and using them to sow the seeds of distrust amongst them and turn them against one another. He gets more leverage than he expected, however, when young Justine proves to be attracted to him and easily manipulated. As he worms his way deeper into their lives the stakes and the tension rise higher and higher, finally reaching a point of no return from which none of their lives will ever be the same again.
Julia Madeleine has absolutely nailed the characters in No One To Hear You Scream, layering them each with mixtures of virtues and vices which makes them undeniably human. Each player has believable motivations for their behavior, all driven by hidden secrets and desires that cause them to make decisions that aren’t necessarily in their best interests. Despite his overwhelmingly violent nature, Rory has a secret in his past that causes him great pain, tinting the lens through which he views life. Conversely, the Jamesons are hardly shrinking violet pushovers pure as the driven snow; there are skeletons in the Jamesons closets. Simply, there are no clear cut “good guys” and “bad guys,” and it is in that wonderful middle ground where Madeleine has skillfully crafted her tale of terror.
Of course crime can victimize one no matter where they live, but it’s infinitely more frightening to think of it happening in a place where there’s No One To Hear You Scream. — EAW
No One To Hear You Scream is available from Black Heart Books (ISBN: 978-0980887426).