Monday, August 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Silent Treatment by Melanie Surani *Review and Excerpt*

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Author: Melanie Surani
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: July 22, 2015
Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Twenty-eight year old Katrina Jaitley is rebuilding her life after escaping an abusive boyfriend. The last thing she needs is the mystery she stumbles on during a bout of retail therapy. But she can't ignore the coil of film -- a piece of movie history -- she finds hidden inside her purchase. Unfortunately, Peter, the handsome host of the estate sale, disappears before Kat has a chance to return it to him. Curious, Kat watches the strip and is shocked to witness the brutal murder of a famous 1920's silent film star by a fellow actor. When a news article cites Kat as the film's owner, her already complicated life goes from bad to worse. Someone begins stalking her. Are they trying to silence her or what she has discovered?

Thank you for visiting my stop on the blog tour! I'm really excited to be a part of it and hope you enjoy the review and excerpt.

The novel opens up with Katrina, the protagonist, coming to terms with the fact that she'd just gotten out of an abusive relationship and had to move back to her hometown under the judging stares of her family and friends. Luckily she had a very supportive friend, Bridget, to help her out of her impossible situation. Bridget was witty and coaxed a chuckle out of me a few times. I felt like I could really connect with Katrina because I've been in a very similar situation. It can feel impossible to leave the abuser, even though you know it's a toxic situation. It's difficult to explain to someone who has never been through it before; even though I could relate, I still caught myself being disappointed in her for even thinking about her ex. I had to stop and remind myself that people with abusive personalities are very good manipulators and have ways of turning things around to make themselves seem like the victim. 

Like I said, it was great that she had at least one person in her corner; her family, especially her mom, was not quite so helpful. I'm sure they were just scared that something really bad was going to happen to her. Of course they saw all along that this guy was trouble and when Katrina finally had the courage to leave it was a relief, but also a chance for them to point out that they knew he was bad news the whole time. That kind of "support" is not helpful, and further alienated Kat from her family.

I know this review so far has made it seem like this abusive relationship was the main plot of the story. It isn't at all. It was a little hard to see how this fit into the overall plot, except to explain the tension between Kat and her family and create an overall sense of tension, making the reader wonder if her abuser would show up. Maybe it will factor more in the next book.
Back to the main plot, Katrina visits an estate sale where she meets a guy named Peter. He is running the sale for his grandmother and just so happens to look like a silent film star Katrina loves. She decides to buy a jewelry box, and tucked inside is an old film. Something this old would be interesting in itself, but shockingly it provides evidence of a murder long thought to be an accidental death (by everyone but the victim's family anyway). It sets up a nice little suspense; Peter was looking for a film in his grandmother's house the last time Katrina saw him and now she has it in her possession. Who else might want to get their hands on it and what would they do in order to keep it quiet forever? The synopsis made me feel like there would be a lot more suspense involved, possibly some threats or a climactic fight at the end that would have me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, save one particular scene at Katrina's apartment, it was missing the tension I was craving the whole time. The suspense that was there became resolved quickly and in a rather uncomplicated manner. I felt like it could have been played up more to keep the reader guessing.

I liked the interactions between the characters, and the dialogue seemed genuine. I enjoyed the fact that Peter had an air of mystery about him, for a while at least, that kept me guessing about his motives. The last few pages held a little twist that I actually didn't see coming and made me think that Kat was a little more cunning than she let on. I just saw the synopsis for the second book and I'm really looking forward to it. It seems like it will hold a lot of mystery and suspense, two things I love in a story.
Even though I had a few issues with the plot, the novel was well written, with likable characters and a few twists along the way to keep the reader engrossed until the last page.

THE WORST PART about working the vampire shift was that apart from Bridget, Kat experienced little human interaction since moving back to Memphis. Bridget still had college buddies who she went drinking and sleeping with, two activities Kat thought better about participating in for the time being. That left Kat stuck either in front of the computer or TV, or in extreme cases, at the twentyfour hour Walmart.
Solitude in those first two weeks after two years of limited privacy was a welcome relief in most respects. Kat left her belongings, however few, in the living room and returned to find them where she left them, not thrown in the trash. Her computer no longer had a keylogger, thanks to a few hours spent with Bridgetʹs IT savvy brother, and she was free to search whatever she wanted without fear of lecture afterward (Why were you looking at ticket prices? Are you thinking of leaving me?), Kat couldnʹt shake the feeling that someone was going to burst through the door. The baseball bat she kept under her bed wouldnʹt help if someone startled her in the living room.
After placing the Missed Connections ad online and praying Peter would respond, Kat surfed the Internet until her eyes burned. Since her mind was on the coiled piece of film sheʹd found and she desperately wanted to watch it, she focused instead on silent movies, her favorite escape subject.
Her interest began with a poor copy of Metropolis, recommended by a pen pal as being the best thing heʹd ever watched. The release date put her off since so many ʺclassicʺ movies her mom subjected her to involved fasttalking pictures from the thirties. Three years before the decade change, the constant talkers were quiet, gestures theatrical, and Kat put her own inflection on the written dialogue.
She found a used copy of the novel on which Metropolis was based— written by the directorʹs wife—to fill in the gaps left by massive editing and plot restructuring that rendered the film nearly incomprehensible. Though historians and buffs wanted to experience what the film looked like on opening night, onefourth had either been lost or destroyed like so many of its silent brethren.
That was what made the news article on the computer screen stand out.
The complete threehour version of Metropolis was found in an unlabeled canister in the Museo del Cine, a film museum in Argentina.
Kat blinked at the screen. ʺAll that time.ʺ The butchered, washed out copy that lay buried somewhere in the box of movies sheʹd dragged to the middle of the living room wasnʹt the end of the story but the beginning.

Melanie Surani is a blogger, hair stylist, and author with a heart for international travel. When she isn't cutting hair, Melanie is thinking about ways to kill people (for mystery novels). She lives with her husband and cat in New York City, where she is hard at work on her next book with Booktrope Publishing. Melanie is a member of the International Thriller Writers society. You can follow Melanie’s adventures on Facebook at MelSurani, on Twitter @melsurani, and Tumblr at MelSurani

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