The Still Small Voice

A Novel

Fiction - Mystery - General
275 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

The Still Small Voice, what we could also refer to as a conscience, is such an apt title for a story that revolves around a dying man’s fears for his future after death. Brenda Stanley opens with a scene by a high cliff at a summer camp. There is a tragedy but we are unsure what it is, only that Madison Moore’s father was there and witnesses a crime that causes the incarceration of an innocent girl. She has been in prison for forty years after confessing to murder. It is his dying wish that his daughter right this wrong. Throw into the mix a family who outed Madison more than ten years ago and is less than welcoming. As she battles to uncover the truth in the town where she grew up and which holds many painful memories, Madison only wants to run back to her home in Las Vegas, but her own still small voice urges her to continue her quest to uncover the truth.

I enjoy thrillers and mysteries but when reading The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley I was not expecting the extra layers it includes. It is an excellent read and includes some interesting facts about the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. The heroine Madison Moore has been rejected by her family for not adhering to their beliefs and it is only in the last few pages we discover the reason why. This had me guessing all the way through and I didn’t see it coming. The book moves along at a satisfying pace, it held my attention from the first page, and it caused me to think and question many of the attitudes held by the various characters. I found this a really good read. I was unable to put it down once I started. I have found a new author to love.

Alma Boucher

The Still Small Voice is an exceptional mystery by Brenda Stanley. Madison is betrayed by her brother, and her entire family sends her away. She leaves her hometown and family only to return years later. Madison’s father is dying, and he summons her home. The family does not welcome her with open arms. Madison is still the outcast. Madison’s father tells her about a murder that occurred years ago during a church camp at Aspen Veil. A girl pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Madison’s father has proof that the girl was not the killer and asks for Madison's help to prove the girl's innocence. While looking for the evidence, Madison realizes with shock the reason why her father specifically asked her to help.

The Still Small Voice is complex, intriguing, and thrilling. Brenda Stanley had my attention with her gripping web of intrigue and mystery. It is an outstanding story, and I could not put it down until I found out who the killer was. I was fascinated by the investigation into finding the evidence and discovering the details of the crime. Amelia’s refusal to talk about the murder was a great addition to the nonstop suspense. The mystery behind the murder is fascinating. The story is action-packed and fast-paced. The plot is extraordinary and handled remarkably well. I had to wait until the very end before everything was revealed. It only then became clear why Madison had been chosen by her father for this task. The story is excellently written and the ending is fantastic.

Viga Boland

Even though some of my in-laws are members of the Mormon Church and have shared many of their beliefs and customs with me, I wasn’t prepared for the issues I encountered when reading The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley. Madison is summoned to her birth home from which she was banished as a teen by her father, who is now dying. He begs her to forgive him and make things right. What puzzles Madison, and keeps readers in suspense for much of the story, is whether he is seeking forgiveness for his treatment of her or someone else. That someone else is Amelia, who has served 40 years for a murder to which she confessed as a teen. What Madison does find, after much searching, is that her father knows the truth about the murder but never used the information to save Amelia from prison. Was he protecting someone, perhaps a member of the family, or was he possibly the actual killer and stayed silent to protect himself?

This mystery novel reads so much like a memoir, I had to check twice that it wasn’t one. Given that the author lives in Utah, she would be familiar with Mormon practices. She would also understand the plight of those who suffer as a result of Mormon beliefs, like the protagonist Madison Moore, and other females whose stories intertwine with Madison’s. Watching how a skilled author like Brenda Stanley weaves two background stories into the primary one is fascinating and keeps us all hooked. We don’t discover the truth of what happened, and its importance, until the last few pages. The significance in both Madison’s present and past lives is both a surprise and a most fitting conclusion to this absorbing novel. Even more impressive is the way Stanley has made Madison’s innermost thoughts so relatable, whether readers are Mormons or simply anyone who has been punished for not accepting and adhering to the religious principles of their parents. If that applies to you, then you will enjoy reading The Small Still Voice.

Essien Asian

When she needs her parents to stand by her while going through her crisis, they turn their backs on her, with her father going so far as to disown her. Almost a decade later and her father is on his deathbed, but before he succumbs to the cold hands of death, he wants Madison to help him find peace and make amends for a sin he committed long before her time. An innocent woman languishes in prison suffering punishment for a crime Saul Woodruff knows she did not commit. Madison needs to put her talents as a news reporter to good use if she is going to free this woman, but how do you exonerate a person accused of murder when they have confessed to the crime and refused to speak to anyone? Find out in Brenda Stanley’s The Still Small Voice.

Brenda Stanley's emotional story is riveting as uncomfortable hidden family secrets come out in the open in spectacular fashion. For a Christian-oriented story, Stanley is quick to characterize the two kinds of Christians we find globally, without picking sides in a religion that has come under attack for its reluctance to accept the changing trends regarding sexual orientation. Madison’s relationship with Vince and Troy is reminiscent of the prodigal son, while her struggle to come to terms with her father’s attempt to make amends for his past actions towards her created a deep subplot I could immediately identify with. The storyline is thick with suspense as the various layers of this puzzle are prised apart using Stanley’s unique style of storytelling as its vehicle. The Still Small Voice is a masterpiece that stands apart in its genre.

Ronél Steyn

In Brenda Stanley’s The Still Small Voice, she brings us a mystery story that spans several decades. After leaving her hometown of Orem, Utah, Madison Moore returns after ten years. It is her father’s dying wish to see her again. Ostracized by the entire family for leaving the Mormon community, Madison has to keep her chin up while she is there. When her father reveals he has proof that a woman currently in prison for murder is innocent, Madison is given the task of proving her innocence. According to her father, she is the only one that would understand. With only a few photographs that reveal nothing out of the ordinary, will Madison be able to help an innocent woman gain her freedom? And who is truly the guilty party?

With great attention to detail through sensory perception, Brenda Stanley reveals a unique gift that teases us and allows us to be immersed in an ocean of words in The Still Small Voice. Characters are relatable and described through dialogue. Personalities are abundant. I love how the main character comes alive with the questions, doubts, and wild thoughts that each of us would have in a situation like the one created in this story. Written in the third-person narrative, we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of the other characters as well. Recommended for young adult readers, as well as a more mature audience, this story is filled to the brim with emotion.