“For Afra and the millions of Afras, I hope things have improved – now and then, something allows us to believe the forces for good are still out there, fighting against the darkness threatening to engulf us.”
– Owen Mullen
A mutilated, broken, dying woman is found near a hospital in Punjab. Her name is Afra. What she must have suffered makes you cold. Spine-chillingly cold. Beatings. Strangulation. Acid attack. Not to mention what came before, the years of abuse and rape.
To Doctor Simone Jasnin, Afra is an eye-opener. Of course, she knew that women were considered lower creatures and wives the property of their husbands in India, especially the rural areas. But this. It shocks her to the core. It changes her life forever.
This is not her story though. This is not the story of Ralph Buchanan, the alcoholic journalist she tries to reach out to. It is not even Jameel’s story – Jameel who loves Afra with all his heart but has no future to offer her. Until harsh words send him on his path to riches – life can be quite ironical.
All those people are part of ‘Out of the Silence,’ but foremost, this is Afra’s tale – and through her, the story of so many women without a voice for whom life is unbearably hard. Who never will be free or be equally valued as men.
Wow. I finished this last night and thinking about it now sends, once again, cold shivers down my spine. Literally. It’s fascinating, intriguing, but also horrendous, shocking, and horrifying. What a tale
Owen Mullen has created something really special here – the story is expertly crafted and well-researched. It has horrible actions in it which made me sick but there’s also beauty in it and positivism. The cruelty is beyond anything you could imagine but (thank God!) Owen has described it in such a way that some details are left out – you can picture the gruesome events though and it’s hard to get them out of your head.
The story has multiple layers: we are privy to shocking insights into the Pakistan society but also, there’s a love story and murders committed. A whole scale of emotions is interwoven into this thriller, from love, anger, hatred, and revenge to intrigue, suspicion and doubt – entwined with fate and destiny.
The story got me hooked from the start and I couldn’t let go – Owen Mullen knows how to craft a story that draws you right in and this one is special indeed. I highly recommend ‘Out of the Silence’ and wish, nay pray for all the Afras in the world that they may find freedom, happiness, and the opportunity to seek and find their own destiny – to be in control of their bodies, hearts, and mind.
About the Author
When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London, led a life full of travelling and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, he had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs.
He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands. The first story he wrote after all those years he classifies as “bloody terrible“. Nevertheless, he kept going. And with success. His moral: “find something you’re good at and stick with it. ”
‘Out of the Silence’ is available at Amazon
|Publisher||Bloodhound Books (28 Jan. 2019)|