DANDI DALEY MACKALL has written many books for children and adults. She has held a humorist column and served as freelance editor, has hosted over 200 radio phone-in programs, and has made dozens of appearances on TV. Dandi conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the U.S. and keynotes at conferences and young author events. She writes from rural Ohio with her husband, three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. Visit her at DandiBooks.com.
Gr 8 Up-After her autistic brother is accused of murdering the town's beloved baseball coach, 16-year-old Hope Long determines to exonerate him. To prove Jeremy's innocence, she must overcome significant obstacles, including his inability to defend himself because of selective muteness, criminal evidence that is damning, and the townspeople's judgmental attitudes toward the 18-year-old's disability. With the assistance of her friend T. J. and the sheriff's son, Chase, she compiles a list of suspects and seeks clues that will clear Jeremy. In the course of their detective work, romance ensues between Hope and Chase, which helps lighten the novel's dark tone. Hope uncovers a shocking revelation about her mother, dramatically impacting Jeremy's case. Paced like a riveting television courtroom drama, with the ultimate conclusive twist, The Silence of Murder is gritty and intense, and it will appeal to readers who appreciate realistic depictions of criminal investigations. Mackall portrays autism with compassion and sensitivity; Hope's unerring devotion to her brother, and her ability to see beyond his disability, beautifully anchors this novel.-Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.