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[A Starred Review] "The bar for historical mysteries has just been raised, thanks to this masterly debut novel. . . . This is a truly wonderful first novel -- elegantly written, complex in both its characters and its plotting, and wearing the author's scholarship and erudition lightly. O'Brien . . . deserves a strong following . . . among mystery readers . . . This is great stuff; please, may we have more? "
Publishers Weekly, April 30, 2001
"Taking the prize for outstanding historical debut [in 2001] was Charles O'Brien's masterly tale set in pre-Revolutionary France . . ."
Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2001
"I stayed up late last night to finish reading Mute Witness because I could not sleep without knowing what happened. Charles O'Brien has written a deeply felt, fully imagined page turner. Memorable scenes, villains I enjoyed hating, a heroine who annoyed me at times and whom I admired most of the time, and two charming heroes who were not super-human and were therefore believable."
Candace Robb, author of the Owen Archer and Margaret Kerr mysteries
"The mystery is strong, . . . quite a bit of deaf representation . . . an all around solid read. I enjoyed it."
myshelf.com, review by Brenda Weeaks
"A well-written and captivating debut novel, this sometimes brutal look into the past will keep you on the edge of your seat."
Old Book Barn Gazette, review by Tom Blair
"Set at the end of the 18th century, O'Brien's debut novel draws heavily on his knowledge of the period and provides a solid underpinning to a mystery that combines romance, intrigue and suspence in near equal measure. Anne Cartier's bravura first appearance is bound to leave readers applauding for an encore."
BookBrowser, review by Bob Hahn
"What begins as a deceptively simple mystery . . . becomes an increasingly complex story enriched by its setting. . . . While some authors would be content with one backdrop, O'Brien experly weaves in another. . . The plot is as circuitous as the streets of Paris, with something interesting lurking around every corner. The bold actress/teacher makes an intriguing heroine, and the pre-revolution period proves particularly hospitable as the backdrop for a mystery series. An auspicious debut."
Book List, review by Irene Cooper
"☆☆☆☆☆ . . . the absorbing plot makes MUTE WITNESS a riveting historical mystery."
BarnesAndNoble.com, review by Harriet Klausner
"I'm happy to be in the company of those discovering a new great mystery writer. . . O'Brien embroiders a rich tapestry in his novel . . . giving it a gripping feeling of authenticity. . . He constructs his story with an ever-increasing tempo . . . leading up to a long, highly satisfying conclusion. . . This is a mystery with class."
DOROTHYL, review by Gene Stratton
"☆☆☆☆☆ A Stunning Combination of Mystery and History. Mr. O'Brien vividly captures the years just prior to the French Revolution, with a fascinating cast of characters and a story that's gently laced with suspense throughout. It's a crime novel and a history lesson, woven together with skill and clarity. It well rewards the scholar and the mystery buff. I couldn't put it down."
Amazon.com, review by A reader from Williamstown, MA
". . . an exciting and adventurous read."
Ilovearnysterynewsletter.com, review by Lorrie Inagaki
"☆☆☆☆☆ Exciting and Authentic. Absolutely a good read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it very authentic - even with some French spelling of titles. The story has drive, the personalities are well designed and seem to ring true. Read it when you have enough time, it's hard to have to put it down to do other things. I'm looking forward to Charles O'Brien's next book."
Amazon.com, review by Anne C. Kjelling, Oslo, Norway