Say Nothing by Brad Parks

say-nothingAbout the Book

Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead.

It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. A man who warns the judge to do exactly as he is told in a drug case he is about to rule on. If the judge fails to follow his instructions, the consequences for the children will be dire.

For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told.

Through it all, Scott and Alison will stop at nothing to get their children back, no matter the cost to themselves…or to each other.


I have read a number of thrillers featuring missing children. However, what stood out for me about this book is the fact that the MC is a judge. I was intrigued by the idea of villains controlling the decisions/actions of a judge. This book started out with a bang. Although, the blurb clearly states that the judge’s kids were kidnapped, I didn’t expect it to happen in the first pages so I was pleasantly surprised to see this happening right at the start of the book. The first chapter opens with the judge and his wife getting home after work only to realize that the kids are missing.

Tension builds from that first incident. The judge has to deliver specific rulings in order to get his kids back. I was  nervous when I read about the first case and the expected ruling. My heart raced as I wondered what Judge Scott would do. It was evident that doing the right thing is important to him but his kids clearly mean the world to him. Tough choices. Right from the start, Scott and Alison truck me as very strong characters. They were facing their worst nightmare but so it was heartbreaking to see them going through that. This made them quite sympathetic too. I especially liked Scott. It was evident that he took pride in being a good dad and judge and although the villains had put him in a precarious position, he wasn’t going down without a fight.

Unfortunately, despite the strong start, the book slowed down for me in the middle. I found myself going through the pages, waiting for the plot to move forward. One of the main cases in the book has a scientific aspect. One thing about me is that I am terrible at Science (and Maths) so all the background information about the case felt like it was dragging the plot. Seriously, the story would have been just as good without it but that is just me. I am not saying that the sections were boring but I just wish that the fast-pace at the start continued all throughout. The slow chapters were few though so this wasn’t a major issue.

The final chapters were just as fast-paced and thrilling as the first ones. I kept guessing the identity of the villains until the reveal. I thought I had an idea about who they were but it turned out that I was totally wrong. The action at the end made me feel like I was watching this as a movie and not reading it. The ending was tragic but beautiful. After all the suspense and thrills, I didn’t expect the book to end up being so emotional but it was. A beautiful but befitting ending. I just wish that the wrap-up wasn’t so neat though.

I expected this book to be full of suspense and it was. The tension is maintained throughout. What I didn’t expect was to form such a connection with the MCs. I also didn’t expect the emotional roller-coaster that it turned out to be. The secrets and lies spiced up the plot and I enjoyed all the little twists. I definitely recommend Say Nothing by Brad Parks to all fans of mystery, crime and legal thrillers.