Reviewed by Caroline and Jen
TITLE: Locked In Silence
SERIES: Pelican Bay Book 1
AUTHOR: Sloane Kennedy
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 284 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2017
I’ve spent years hoping someone would finally hear me. It’s easier not to try anymore…
Ten years after leaving his small Minnesota hometown in his rearview mirror for what Nolan Grainger was sure would be the last time, life has decided to throw the talented musician a curveball and send him back to the town he lived in but was never really home.
At twenty-eight, Nolan has traveled the world as a successful concert violinist with some of the best symphonies in the country. But success breeds envy, and when Nolan’s benefactor and lover decides Nolan has flown high enough, he cruelly clips Nolan’s wings. The betrayal and ensuing scandal leaves the violinist’s career in shambles and with barely enough money to start fresh somewhere beyond his vindictive ex’s powerful reach. But just as he’s ready to get his life back on track, Nolan gets the call he’s been dreading.
After a stroke leaves his father a partial invalid, duty-bound Nolan returns to Pelican Bay and a life he’s spent years trying to forget. When he’s forced to use the last of his own money to keep from losing the family home, desperation has him turning to the one man he’d hoped never to see again…
Even if I could speak, there wouldn’t be anyone there to listen…
Pelican Bay’s golden boy, Dallas Kent, had the quintessential perfect life. Smart, gorgeous, and popular, the baseball phenom was well on his way to a life filled with fame and fortune. But more importantly, he had a one-way ticket out of Pelican Bay and far away from the family who used love as currency and whose high expectations were the law of the land. But a stormy night, sharp highway curve and one bad decision changed everything, leaving Dallas with nothing.
Because the accident that took his parents, his future and his crown as the boy who could do no wrong, also stole his voice.
Despised for the horrific wreck that ended the lives of two of Pelican Bay’s most respected residents, Dallas has retreated to a secluded stretch of land where he’s found refuge in a menagerie of unwanted animals that don’t care that he once had the world at his feet or that he’ll never speak again.
But when the quiet, bookish boy he wasn’t allowed to notice in school suddenly reappears ten years later at Dallas’s wildlife rehab center in desperate need of a job, Dallas is thrust back into a world he’s worked hard to escape.
Dallas’s silence was supposed to send Nolan scurrying, but what if Nolan ends up being the one person who finally hears him?
Will two men who’ve been fleeing from the past finally come home to Pelican Bay for good or will the silence drive them apart forever?
This started out a little slow for me, and it took me a short time before I was fully on board. I should have been more patient though, because by the end, I was eager for the next installment.
Nolan has had a pretty rough go of things. He has returned home to help take care of his ailing father. Returned to the town where he grew up being bullied in school, with parents who were not affectionate. His father was distant even before his stroke, and his mother even now is extremely selfish and uncaring towards everything Nolan has endured or has had to give up. When he was accused of stealing a priceless violin by his ex, even though he was never charged, nobody stood by him. I spent much of the beginning of this book questioning why Nolan continued to subject himself to these conditions.
But then there was Dallas. Back in the day, Dallas was the town superstar and while not directly one of Nolan’s bullies, stood by and let it happen. He has had a bit of a rough time as well. When a car crash killed his mother, and he had to take the blame, everyone from his father, brother and the town turned on him. He also lost his voice in the accident due to a throat injury. He lives his live running an animal rescue center on the outskirts of town.
The guys are reunited when Nolan brings in a stray racoon baby. The tension is high due to their past, but Nolan is desperate for a job since no one in town will hire him due to his shameful past, and Dallas is quick to make him the offer. Little by little, their friendship and trust grows, just as it did with the animals. They hit some bumps along the way, but Nolan was able to communicate with Dallas in a way nobody else has. Their reconciliation takes some time, but eventually Nolan realizes that perhaps there is something worth staying in Pelican Bay for after all.
There are quite a few elements to this story – damaged characters, haunted pasts and ruined reputations, as well as second chances and finding your other half. Dallas and Nolan were perfect for each other, and I loved watching them both realize that. There are also some interesting side characters in the mix. Dallas’ estranged brother returns and, though he redeems himself, there is definitely more to his story, and I finished this book really looking forward to seeing that play out in the next installment.
This is something a bit different from Sloane Kennedy but it had everything in it that I have come to expect and hope for from one of her books. I guess this could be classed as a second chance at love story as both the MC’s had history with each other from back in the day. It is definitely a hurt/comfort kind of story as both men have a lot of baggage to pack away before they can move on to the healing part. A little bit more angst than usual, again down to the baggage both men carry, and quite an irritating set of peripheral characters who will likely leave you frustrated and angry.
This is Dallas and Nolan’s story and it’s an emotional rollercoaster from the beginning. Nolan was bullied constantly and horrendously at school and throughout his time living in the small town of Pelican Bay. He never had an affinity with the place he should have called home and as soon as he was old enough he got as far away as possible. Life was good – he had a successful career until someone that should have had his back became the enemy. The he gets the news that his unloving and unsupportive parents need him to come home when his father becomes poorly and life can’t get much worse.
Dallas was another teenager that couldn’t wait to get out of Pelican Bay although for very different reasons. He was never really one of Nolan’s tormentors at school but nor was he Nolan’s champion and guilt can be a hard friend to live with. Life turned out very differently for Dallas and he never actually got to leave Pelican Bay. He is now seen as a bit of a town pariah and he keeps himself very much to himself as the world can no longer easily hear him and he finds himself with nothing to say.
I loved the connection between Dallas and Nolan and how even without spoken words their conversations held such meaning and depth. The characters were well thought out and well fleshed out and even when the town’s people and their families made me want to throw my kindle in frustration I never lost sight of the strength they had for each other. If you are a fan of Sloane’s you are going to like this one and I hope we get to see more of Nolan and Dallas as the series continues.