Web of Silence takes the reader on a painful, frightening and often times touching journey of a young woman, Elizabeth Rose Brockton, who has relocated under an assumed identity after disappearing from the small town of Aidan, Michigan. The story begins two years later when Beth learns of her mother’s death and must confront her conflicted reasons regarding her return to her hometown. She hopes to attend the funeral, handle the legalities, and slip back into the protection of her fragile charade with her secrets intact. It is a journey of her shattered dreams and how with the help of the fiancé she left behind, Sam Andrews, she is able to rebuild her life in order to trust and love once more.
Sam has spent the past few years trying to forget the love they shared. He is determined to move on without Beth, but at the funeral he can clearly see the fear, the love and the desperation in her eyes. After the funeral, Beth once again slips away from Aidan. Sam can no longer deny his love for her. He vows to find her to discover the reasons why she left town two years before.
A cop named Jack Dugan, Beth and Sam’s childhood friend, reconstructs the events of the night Beth disappeared on her way to pick up her mother from work at Max’s Tavern. Jack questions several people, including the owner of the bar, Councilman Bill Tanner, a prominent figure in the community. Along with his partner, Andy Thompson, a veteran police officer, Tanner is secretly involved in illegal business deals. A threatening note warns Jack to stop asking questions about Beth, which piques his interest. He is nearly killed a few nights later when his patrol car is run off the road in a high-speed chase.
In an emotional confrontation, Sam locates Beth, but she refuses to tell him why she is now living under a false identity and although she attempts to convince Sam that she no longer loves him, he easily perceives her ruse. His persistence breaks down her protective barrier, she describes to him the events of the night she left home, raped and badly beaten. Fearful for Sam’s safety, she pleads with him to go back home and forget about her, explaining the attacker had threatened to kill her and her loved ones if she ever saw Sam again. Sam refuses to leave, convinced that the strength of their love will see them through anything. Sam suspects that Jack’s “accident” is related to the mystery surrounding Beth. His frustration peaks, afraid that her life is in danger as well. Still, she remains steadfast in her self-imposed web of silence, nearly driving them apart once again.
Councilman Tanner, who is obsessed with locating Beth, sends Thompson to bring her home. Thompson forces Beth at gunpoint to travel to Aidan. Beth attempts an escape, but during a struggle his gun discharges and kills him instantly. Alone and afraid, Beth flees. Jack tracks her down and brings her back to Aidan to clear her name. In a preliminary hearing, enough evidence is produced to charge her with the murder of Officer Andrew Thompson.
During the trial, Beth maintains her silence until the precious secret is revealed that after she left Aidan, she gave birth to a baby girl, Samantha. Determined to protect her and Sam’s baby, she is left with no other option but to disclose the full story. Beth testifies that the night she picked up her mother at the Tavern, she investigated a commotion in the back-storage area. She witnessed Detective Thompson and Councilman Bill Tanner severely beating a third man. When Tanner shoots the man in the head, Beth screams out. Tanner chases Beth to her home where he severely beats, rapes and threatens her if she tells anyone about what happened about the rape and the shooting at the Tavern. He swears he will kill her loved ones and then her.
Councilman Tanner, who is in the courtroom listening to the testimony, stands to approach Beth. Chaos breaks out as Tanner produces a gun, holds her hostage as he attempts an escape. Jack points a gun at Tanner, warning him to release her. Tanner shoots at Jack but misses, while Jack’s bullet hits his mark.
Beth and Sam are finally able to reunite with their daughter. Beth gazes into Sam’s eyes and questions if this is a dream. Sam wraps his arms around Beth and Samantha and whispers that this is the beginning of their dreams together.
About the Author: Kathleen Dutton has enjoyed the craft of writing since childhood as a way to enter a world of unlimited possibilities. She has retired from the professional world as a clinical engineer, training cardiologists in the US to support products which make a difference in cardiac procedures. She enjoys life in Michigan with her husband, and family, especially in northern Michigan where Hemingway spent time writing his early novels.