Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil by Liana Gardner
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Special thanks to Vesuvian Books for sending a copy for review.

What if every time you told the truth, evil followed?

My name is Melody Fisher. My daddy was a snake handler in Appalachia until Mama died. Though years have passed, I can still hear the rattle before the strike that took her from me.

And it’s all my fault.

Since then, I’ve been passed around from foster home to foster home. I didn’t think anything could be as bad as losing Mama.

I was wrong.

But I will not speak of things people have done to me. Every time I do, worse evil follows. Now, the only thing I trust is what saved me years ago. Back when I would sing the snakes calm (Goodreads).


Warning: This novel contains descriptions of sexual assault.

At first, I was hesitant to read this novel because it is told in retrospect. I generally avoid books in this style because everything is drawn out unnecessarily. Authors get too carried away describing the aftermath of an event that they never explicitly explain until the very end. Although this creates suspense, it is hard for readers to get emotionally invested if they are left in the dark. This book was different because it felt like the two timelines were running parallel to each other with one chapter about the present and one about the past; readers get just enough information to keep them on their toes.

Another unique factor about this novel is how it tricks readers into believing they get the entire story. The main character, Melody, suffered from a psychological issue that prevented her from communicating both verbally and through writing. As the story progresses, readers learn she is scared because she believes that confessing the truth will only lead to catastrophes. At first, I thought this fear was caused by the death of her mother who died because Melody told her dad that she saw her with another man while he was handling a snake. He accidentally squeezed the snake, and it lunged at her mother; however, later I learned that another loved one died due to their health condition after she spoke to them. Just when I thought that was the entire story, more things happened. The plot was constantly suspenseful, and it did not feel drawn out.

A significant portion of the story takes place in a psychologist’s office. It was intriguing to see Melody’s recovery process with the help of her psychologist, Dr. Kane. Since psychologists usually help by having patients openly talk about their feelings, I was curious to see what Dr. Kane would do with a patient who refused to communicate. The author did a great job of shaping Dr. Kane’s personality so that it did not feel awkward when he started talking to himself in place of Melody’s silence. His humorous charm made him trustworthy, and it was easy to believe that patients could open up about their trauma to him. The whole process felt believable and helped readers build a connection with her during her vulnerable moments.

I really enjoyed the incorporation of music into the story. When Melody could not speak to others, Dr. Kane got her to share her feelings with a song, and as she got a little better, she would sing along. Hearing her express her feelings through lyrics felt more touching and poetic than if she spoke normally. The element of music threads the plot together as Melody recovers from her traumatic experiences.

I recommend this novel to people interested in fast-paced, suspenseful, and heartwarming stories.

Reviewed by Janet Z.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *