Sunday, March 12, 2017

Silence Fallen, by Patricia Briggs

My friend Margaret gave me the first three books in Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series for my birthday last year. She had recommended them to me in part because they are set in the Tri-Cities of eastern Washington State (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick). I grew up in that area, in Walla Walla, about thirty miles down the highway. The Tri-Cities was our big city. It was an event to drive those thirty miles, to go to the Columbia Center Mall, or to the movies. I remember cramming a bunch of people in my parents' Volkswagen Bug to go see "Amadeus," which wasn't going to make it to our one small theater in Walla Walla.

Margaret and I have a lot of books in common, starting with Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Dorothy Dunnett. It was Margaret who introduced me to Margaret Maron's books. I trusted her recommendation, but I admit that I judged the books from the covers. Here's the first book:

(The stories don't quite match the covers. Mercy wears more clothes & fewer tattoos, for starters.)
I was already wondering how to diplomatically explain to Margaret that I just hadn't clicked with them. I sat down with this first book one morning when I had a few minutes to spare, and I nearly didn't make it in to work that day. I was hooked from the first page, and by the end of the book I was more than a little obsessed with the series. I went on to read the next seven books in the series, four books in a related series, and a book of short stories set in the same world. Mind you, this was while I was negotiating to buy a house, and while I was supposed to be packing to move. I actually packed the books away at one point, because they were so distracting - and then unpacked them the next day, and continued to ignore the rest of the boxes waiting to be filled.

The main character in the series, Mercedes Thompson, is a VW mechanic with her own shop in the Tri-Cities. She is also a shapeshifter who turns into a coyote, an inheritance from her Native American father. Mercy's teen-aged mother was unable to cope with her changeling child and found a pack of werewolves to raise her. What Mercy learned there helps her deal with the local pack in the Tri-Cities, led by the charismatic (and gorgeous) Alpha wolf Adam. She also has a connection to the local vampire seethe through her friend Stefan; and to the fae community through Zee, a grumpy old fae who gave Mercy a job at his garage and later sold it to her. Many of the fae have retired to reservations, one of which is located near Walla Walla. (I wish there had been a fae reservation in Walla Walla when I lived there.)

I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, but I haven't read a lot of books with shapeshifters, let alone werewolves or fae. I've avoided vampires ever since a so-called "children's" edition of Dracula scared me out of my wits in elementary school. But these books really hooked me in. They are written mainly from Mercy's point of view, and she is a great character, strong and snarky - and very sneaky when she needs to be (and not just in her coyote form). She is a loyal friend, and it's that loyalty that draws her into her adventures, often to solve a mystery. She moves between the mundane world of her garage and the supernatural communities, sometimes as the liaison between them. I find the politics of the werewolves, the vampires and the fae very interesting, particularly watching Mercy negotiate (and often get the better of) them.

Silence Fallen is the tenth book in the series. It's a series that really needs to be read in order, as more of Mercy's history is revealed through the stories, and as relationships are built and broken. There is also a large cast of characters to get to know - this book even has a helpful list in the back (a first). I won't say much about the plot, but this is the first book set mostly outside Washington State. It takes place mainly in Milan and Prague. It introduces some new characters, one of whom is a real Trojan Horse. That part of the story, which caught me completely by surprise, had me frantically flicking back to re-read.

Patricia Briggs has already announced that the next book will be in her second series, set mainly around the werewolf pack where Mercy was raised. I like those books, except for the third (Fair Game), which has a serial sadistic sex killer. I really hate stories with serial killers. But that series does have my favorite secondary characters, a blind witch named Moira and her werewolf mate Tom. Ms. Briggs has said she has a story in mind for them someday, and I will be in line to buy that one whenever she gets around to writing it.


  1. That cover would have put me off too. I'm glad you've been enjoying the series, despite your doubts at first.

    1. Yes, I definitely pre-judged the book by its cover! When I recommend them to people, I still play down the covers.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Happy to find a fellow addict! I do a lot of re-reading as well, especially the early books. I can't wait to hear what you think of this one :)

    2. I have no idea how I managed to remove your comment, I certainly didn't mean to, and now I can't get it back!


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!