Silent Key
September 25, 2023
Book Review

Silent Key

reviewed by Lou Jacobs


A perfect amalgam of detective fiction and supernatural ghost-haunting mystery, this story revolves around Detective Cam Ambrose, who spent nearly eight years infiltrating the NYPD gang task force due to her fluency in Russian. Her mission was to infiltrate the criminal organization of Rudy Petrovich.

During this perilous assignment, she found an unexpected ally in a criminal thug, Dimi Zolnerowich, who ended up saving her life. This twist of fate fostered a friendship so strong that he became like an adopted brother to her, even closer than her three biological sisters.

Cam’s world spiraled into chaos with the violent, inexplicable death of her husband, Tony, whose body was discovered in a gruesome state and mysteriously soaked in salt water. There was no trace of evidence explaining his massive injury. Strangely, she found her daughter, Samantha, conversing with her deceased father. There always existed a unique connection between Samantha and her father, and she insisted she could still see him.

My best friend and partner, Rick Fiero, and I were left bewildered by Tony’s unexplained death. Following this tragedy, my role on the task force concluded, leaving me questioning the safety of my daughter and myself. Homicide investigations revealed Tony’s clandestine long-term affair.

To escape this nightmare, my father suggested a relocation to my Uncle Bert’s deserted ranch in the remote town of Silver City, Texas. Cam, accompanied by Samantha and Dimi, willingly vacated her seemingly haunted apartment and embarked on a journey to start anew. Cam is a short, well-built brunette with a “resting bitch face” and a generous chest.

Upon arrival, they were welcomed by neighbor Eric Morgan, who quickly became a confidante and enlightened Cam about the unusual death of her Uncle Bert. Bert’s mysterious demise bore resemblances to “radiation sickness,” and his symptoms eerily mirrored those of Tony’s. During her stay, Cam encountered spectral visions and haunting echoes of the past, portraying the agony of the trapped spirits.

Laurel Hightower skillfully constructs a tale teeming with layers of intrigue, menace, and suspense that crescendo into a cataclysmic denouement. How will Cam disrupt the haunting loop? Who summoned these spirits bound by extreme stress and emotion? Many unforeseen revelations will unfold in this engrossing read that caters to aficionados of both crime and horror fiction.

Thanks to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review.

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