NEW NOVEL BY BRADLEY JAMES TALL IS MORE THAN A MURDER MYSTERY!
"The message includes the fight of small-farmers to stay afloat and maintain their life against powerful outside forces."
The Silence of Darkness introduces readers to a scenic rural environment filled with interesting characters living what appears to be idyllic lives. The story is designed to examine many of the troubles of a 21st century farming community, including racial prejudice, political bias, nepotism, sexism, abuse, and a culture dependent upon lies and deception. Upon self-examination, readers quickly find the troubles inflicted in the fictitious community of Prairie View run rampant in all areas of America.
A small farming community already riddled by economic strife is shocked by the disappearance of a 16 year old Hispanic boy.
Deputy Truax and Veterinarian Thornton conflict with a powerful farmer, an opportunistic detective, an alcoholic husband and a retiring doctor to prove the misfit Ozzie is not to blame for a hideous crime.
Uncovering family abuse kept silent, the mystery of the young boy's disappearance is found to be linked to a suicide years before. Armed with the truth, Truax and Thornton turn the back roads into a trail of tears, confession and violence.
From Chapter One...
Now Billy stood alone in the parking lot, the sun disappearing over the western horizon. He took a deep breath to smell the musty haze in the air. The checkerboard pattern of fields surrounding the tiny community blended together, as the details of homes and buildings blurred in the diminished light. Only the farm silos maintained their distinct forms, defying the advance of time. Standing alone, or standing in groups of two, three, four, or even six, these monument-like structures perforated the twilight sky, their shadows reaching in every direction. Billy watched as the grasping shadows evaporated his world into the silence of darkness.
From Chapter Three...
The Gonzalez daughter huddled with her father and mother on the ground in front of their double-wide. Mr. Gonzalez supported his wife’s limp body on one knee. The sound of sobbing filled the air with panic. Billy’s eyes dashed back and forth around the scene, spotting the two grand-daughters in the doorway of the Gonzalez home. No sign of the son.
Billy’s mind jolted. The son, the son. Hector, the son. How could he forget the last time he saw Hector, on the side of the road, Saturday afternoon, late afternoon. Bike tipped over, a white bag of carry-out burgers clinched in his fist. How could he forget that smile and those white teeth?
Mrs. Gonzalez’ sobbing turned to screams. “He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. My baby, Hector is gone …”
From Chapter Eleven...
As his arm inched out of the cow, Carrie backed away. Now she stood a foot from Paul and her cow. Before speaking, he paused to wonder about this woman who just draped herself to his back for the last few minutes. Was that her sporadic breath touching the side of his face as her chest labored in and out? Was that the thump, thump, thump of her heart beating above the rustling sound of the cow in the straw?
Turning around, he saw her leaning forward on the balls of her feet, like a swimmer about to jump into the water to begin an Olympic race, her eyes glued to the hoof protruding from the cow, her attention attached to Paul’s every word. “As you know, the calf is coming out breach … I am holding only one hoof because the other is caught up in the mother's body ...”
From Chapter Thirteen...
Ozzie sat at a table in the middle of a windowless room. Arms folded, his eyes darted back and forth along the plastic baseboard. Billy Truax stood nearby, back slumped against the wall, staring at the cement floor.
Their silence ended when a hurricane of a man opened the door and entered the room. He closed the door behind with a slam and flung a manila file folder on the table in front of Ozzie. Pulling out a chair, he sat down.
“I’m Lieutenant Gibson. I’m investigating the disappearance of Hector Gonzalez. Did the deputy tell you why you’re here today?” Gibson stared at Ozzie, never looking at Billy.
“Ya, he said something."
From Chapter Thirty-Five
The sand cooled his feet as the fog condensed upon him like cookie dough, blending life's ingredients, reality with dreams, hurt with hope, certainty with chance, thoughts with feelings. Tiny ripples of waves spilled over his toes. A smooth, cedar smell filtered up his nose like sweet perfume.
From Chapter Thirty-Seven
He never looked for approaching cars while turning the steering wheel as the squad car’s tires gripped the gravel of Delmore Boulevard. He centered his squad car in a blocking position. Ahead at the end of the road, the familiar three silos stood like roadblocks to justice. He pumped his brakes, eyes dodging left and right, straight ahead. As he weighed-in his plan of attack, a puff of diesel smoke blew in the air further down the driveway. He slammed the brakes and stopped as soon as he saw the black Chevy explode in his direction.