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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Silent Survivor by Deborah Shlian is a military medical thriller that churns out suspense at a pace to put a reader's pulse into overdrive. Mackenzie Dodd is a war veteran with the horrors of both what she witnessed and what she endured through deployment, and as a woman in the military, haunting every waking moment and taunting her when she dreams. On early arrival at a VA support group, she is unable to stop a fellow soldier from taking his own life. As she attempts to come to terms with the guilt she harbors, MacKenzie reaches out to vets through the blog Silent Survivor for PTSD experiences. It soon becomes apparent that camouflage extends far beyond the bodies of fallen American warriors, and MacKenzie finds herself ensnared in a web of conspiracy, deceit, and a sense of duty and honor that could ultimately cost her own life.
Deborah Shlian engages readers with a campaign of thrills in her newest release, Silent Survivor, and the first launch starts at page one and never seems to slow down. Mackenzie Dodd is a convincing protagonist, complex and layered in a way that makes her feel wholly authentic. The other characters are equally developed; Sam Cantori - a former schoolmate, officer, and (eventually) more - in particular. I loved Shlian's tight writing style. It has all of the credible dialogue and refined narrative a reader expects in a story. The nuances of politics and military life she imparts are fantastic. Lines such as: "They both knew it was a political dance. She’d waited the appropriate interval since Thursday’s call to appear as though she’d struggled with her decision." If you're looking for a fresh, stand-out read by a bright author, I'd recommend hitching your wagon to Silent Survivor's shooting star.