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Silence in the Tortured Soul

When no one can see the cry for help

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Synopsis for Silence in the Tortured Soul

Undercover operatives Sid Hackbirn and Lisa Wycherly face many of the usual problems of newlywed parents, including raising their son, Nick, a pre-teen dealing with a pack of girls chasing him and an exploding appetite. But they also get a more ticklish job than usual – protecting one of the engineers working on a satellite with some new capabilities. What makes it ticklish is that the engineer is Sid and Lisa’s good friend Esther Nguyen, and not only do they need to protect her from anti-nuke protesters and even the KGB, Sid and Lisa need to draft Esther and her almost husband Frank into the ultra top-secret Operation Quickline, and then train them.

Add Sid’s aunt suddenly moving to Los Angeles, that their good friend’s wife is dying, and a host of parents who can’t deal with Sid, Lisa, and Nick all having different last names, and it’s no wonder Lisa finds adjusting to being a wife and mother harder than she imagined. And she’s not the only one quietly screaming for help.

Find out more about the Operation Quickline series:

Read the first chapter

Writing the novel

When I first wrote Silence in the Tortured Soul, it was called Silent as a Tomb. The Catspaw project was about an undetectable satellite. Well. Turns out that sort of thing didn’t come along until the early 1990s, and you can still spot spy satellites in a variety of ways. But something more interesting came along in the mid 1990s. My father’s work in the defense industry got de-classified. Dad worked on a lot of satellites. As he told me, the big problem was what Esther tells Lisa in the book: getting the data from the satellite to the Earth.

Then all the other plot points came together. Nick grew as a character, and the next thing I knew, a whole different theme emerged. The original title no longer worked. Given Lisa’s (and my) passion for Shakespeare, it seemed like a gimme to check that out. And I found the quote in one of the later scenes of Richard II. It’s not one of my favorites, most because that Richard is so whiny.

So between my father’s memories and the newly emerged theme, I had a lot of fun with this one.