Thomas H. Cook

The Murmur of Stones

"The players in this drama will stay with you long after you have closed the covers of Cook’s truly remarkable novel."


Diana Regan’s life is destroyed by the death of her son, Jason. The boy was never classed as ‘normal’ and Diana was quick to blame herself for passing on the gene that she and her brother David prayed they would not inherit or pass on from their father - schizophrenia.

Jason had always been a remote child. Despite this, he was Diana’s only child and now he is dead - pulled from the river behind the house she shared with her husband. Diana blames her husband, Mark, as he was supposed to be looking after Jason while she was gone from the house. What is regarded as an accident by the courts, Diana soon thinks of as murder by her now ex-husband. All she has to do is prove it.

David, Diana’s brother is worried about his sister’s condition. With her growing obsession over her ex-husband, she, too, appears to be showing symptoms of their father’s condition. She has also taken under her wing Patty, David’s daughter, who seems to be taking up Diana’s cause in bringing Jason’s murderer to justice. As suspicion grows, Diana’s condition seems to be out of control until events become simply too much for her - and life will never be the same for David or his family.

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As with the author’s previous novel, Red Leaves, Thomas H. Cook takes a typical family and begins to peel away the layers that hide a menacing and painful core. In The Murmur of Stones, the underlying fear is about the possibility of schizophrenia trickling through the bloodline. The death of Jason is not really the main thrust of the story, it is simply the catalyst that fuels Diana’s obsession. Cook excels at slowly building up suspense with the main protagonists. The chapters are in the form of a police interview, taking place in the present with the main story being recalled from the past. This is a method of writing that Cook now has down to a fine art. The accounts of the Sears’ life with their father are harrowing - to say the least. Cook writes with such realism, you can feel the pain and agony tumble from the pages. The ending is ambiguous and the reader is not sure who is really telling the truth and who lying. The book is all the stronger for this ambiguity. The players in this drama will stay with you long after you have closed the covers of Cook’s truly remarkable novel. The Murmur of Stones is another marvellous symphony of suspense that happily joins a brilliant body of work from a truly refreshing writer.

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