Review: A Piece of the Silence by Jack Livingston

New York City private investigator Joe Binney exhibits a lot of the attributes that we have become accustomed to with the majority of hardboiled detectives except for one important difference...he’s deaf. The way in which he operates with an obvious disadvantage is one of the fascinations of the series. The first book in the series earned a nomination for the 1983 Best PI Hardback Novel Shamus Award. It turned out to be the first of 4 books in the series.

Book Details

Title: A Piece of the Silence
Author: Jack Livingston
Pages: 232
Published Date: 1982
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Series Details: 1st book in the Joe Binney series

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Publisher's Synopsis

Joe Binney, a totally deaf private detective, finds a woman client floating face down in her swimming pool, which complicates his case

From the Dustjacket

Meet Joe Binney, a private detective in New York City. Like the best of them, he is wry, fast-talking, tough when he has to be, often amusing. Unlike the others, he is totally deaf.

But Joe Binney has suddenly become embroiled in a case that even a detective with all five senses might well consider too dangerous. After taking on what appears to be a routine job, Binney finds the body of a woman floating in her swimming pool – a woman he was hired to investigate – and is himself nearly framed be her husband. Then, when a horrifying attempt is made on his life, Binney must face the fact that he is deep in the midst of the most deadly case of his life, and that an astonishingly beautiful woman toward whom the case is leading may herself be involved in murder.

While Joe Binney is arguably the most unusual detective around, there can be no argument that Jack Livingston has crafted one of the most involving and sophisticated mystery novels of recent memory. In A Piece of the Silence we are drawn into the breakneck plot and the silent world of the hero with a subtle and unerring skill that immediately establishes Jack Livingston as a brilliant newcomer to the mystery field.

Other Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Hard-boiled private detective Joe Binney of N.Y.C. is deaf--not born deaf, but deaf ever since a Korean War underwater-mining accident--and Livingston's curt, wry treatment of narrator Joe's disability turns this otherwise routine mystery debut into a modest winner… - Read Full Review

Other Shamus Best PI Novel nominees - 1983