Review: Not A Sound

Book Title: Not A Sound
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Series: None
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense Fiction

Date Read: 05/12/17
Pub Date: 05/30/17


When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

Yay! My first thriller featuring a deaf female! I have developed a craving for more diverse characters in my mystery/thrillers and this one was pure gold. While the plot itself was fairly unique, I also found myself drawn to the careful details included surrounding the hearing impaired, and the medical field in general. I learned from the author’s note that she herself is hearing impaired, something I wasn’t aware of before, and it brought Amelia’s character to life more so than it could have from the voice of a writer who had never experienced such a thing. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this novel as it seemed from the description to be a bit different that her previous books; it was certainly different and I applaud Heather for taking the risk as it was well worth the pay off.

If you’ve read any of Heather Gudenkauf’s previous novels then you know she has a knack for what I like to call “emotional suspense”. Her books manage to contain dark subject matter while maintaining an ethereal quality which makes them easily devoured in a single sitting. This is technically a whodunnit, but that isn’t the element that shines brightest in this story. The plot is fairly straight forward, and you may be able to guess who and what is behind the sinister murder of Gwen due to a small cast of characters, but I found I didn’t have it pieced together as well as expected. What caused my attention to be completely focused on this novel after failing to be grabbed by my two previous reads was Amelia’s character and the detail that went into bringing her to life. I learned so much about what a deaf person might experience, especially one who was having to adjust to being impaired instead of having been born that way. From the various tools available, to the coping mechanisms, to the medical details included from her work at the oncology clinic, these are the things that set Amelia apart from just a “girl” in just another psychological thriller. Is it safe now? Can we stop putting the word girl in every title? 

This was a fast paced read, and while I found some portions to be slightly repetitive of what Amelia was thinking or experiencing at the moment, I felt the writing in this book was the strongest Gudenkauf has produced and was floored. The suspense was gripping, the characters were dramatic but grounded, and the ending wasn’t cookie cutter perfect. I love it when all my questions are answered without having the dreamy, fairy tale ending. Gag me with a spoon. In short, if you are looking for a psychological thriller to invest in this summer, I highly recommend Not A Sound. The characters are unique, the story was captivating, and the pacing was consistently quick and witty; this is the perfect story for the reader who wants a worthy distraction from everyday life.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts on the blog. 


Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.

Heather lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her next novel.

16 thoughts on “Review: Not A Sound”

  1. First of all, congratulations, I think this is probably the best blog name I have ever come across! As soon as I saw it, I had to see what you’d reviewed. I have heard of Heather Gudenkauf before but not read any of her books – I will now be looking out for Not a Sound. Thanks for the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Ive read only a book by the author and I liked it. I love the deaf perspective, I used to watch Switched at birth and learnt a lot about their world…so Im naturally interested in this one too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review Chelsea! I am always up for diverse characters in all of the books I read so it’s a pleasant surprise to see some in thriller/suspense novels as well. This one def fits the bill for Ownvoices which hiked up my interest. Thank you for sharing your review & adding to my TBR, seems like it will make for a good summer read 😃💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t wait until I receive my copy! 🙂 I learned she was hearing impaired from when I was doing research for my interview with her last year. I myself have some hearing issues as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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