2019 Silver Falchion Winner
By D.E. Funk
Publication Date: November 2018
Review by Gary Frazier
There’s a silent rage brewing inside young Russell Thomas. Bullied, abused, and neglected, both at home and at school, Russell increasingly desires to escape his sorrowful life the only way he knows how: by lashing out at his tormentors. The only question is, can anyone stop his rage before it’s too late?
Libby Teach, herself a survivor of an attempted killer as a young child, is seemingly the only one to recognize the signs in Russell, due in part to her studies in psychology and criminology. But will anyone listen? Will anyone help?
Author D.E. Funk lays out the moral dilemma for her main characters in convincing fashion in her new novel, Silent Rage, won the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Suspense.
Funk, who has graduate degrees in criminal justice and social studies, puts both areas of expertise to good use in Silent Rage, as she capably crafts Russell’s home life: His mother was raped by a serial killer, she’s addicted to drugs, sells herself for sex to help make ends meet, and lives with an abusive boyfriend, Wayne Jetsoe, in a dilapidated, drug-infested trailer park. With odds like those, is it any wonder Russell is so ostracized by his childhood peers and so full of pent-up anger?
Libby’s efforts to intervene on his behalf – both through her police officer boyfriend and in her capacity as his teacher – largely fall on deaf ears. Despite her best efforts, it isn’t long before the killing starts.
While Funk allows her story to fall into some rabbit holes, her realistic portrayal of hardships and circumstances beyond the control of her characters keeps the overall novel grounded. Silent Rage is gripping, bleak, depressing, and, above all, an unforgettable read.
Robert Frazier is a former newspaper reporter and editor. He reviews books for Killer Nashville, BookPage, and his blog. He has served as a script reader for both the Austin Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competitions and is a member of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association.