Silenced: Chapter 41, Part 2: Finally!

This book has been nearly devoid of action, hasn’t it?  I mean, Paul entered the underground in Chapter 7 and hasn’t emerged since.  Now, there would be nothing wrong with a thriller without a lot of gun battles or globetrotting or other types of action.  Some of the most tense scenes I can think of happen in small places, with people planning something or discovering something.

But Paul doesn’t do anything in the underground except not plan for the evacuation and fuck with Bia’s head for fun.

It doesn’t help matters that even though they’re in this little underground facility, and even though neither of them really has anything to do, Paul and Jae spend basically no time together.  Which is bizarre since Jenkins tells us how much they love each other, now that they’re both believers, and how much the kids need their father.

Now, I don’t necessarily blame Jenkins for basically forgetting about this relationship (considering how many other things he’s forgotten in these books—he’s just a forgetful guy, I think).  Then again, he’s talked before about how amazing his own marriage is and how atheists’ marriages, “especially,” deteriorate so you’d think he’d jump at this chance to show a loving relationship with a newly-Christian couple.

Then again again, I spent some time today thinking about how many movies and TV shows feature (as main characters or part of a large ensemble cast) a long-married, happily-married couple, who aren’t constantly kept apart or kept questioning their relationship, and who spend at least some time together over the course of the story.  Based on the very scientific method of looking through the app with all the DVDs I own, here is my very short list:

Karl and Sharon Agathon, Battlestar Galactica

Wash and Zoe Washburne, Firefly

Jeff and Jane Blue, Undercover Blues

Angelo and Sofia Provolone, Oscar

Albert and Elizabeth, Duke and Duchess of York, The King’s Speech

Martin and Ellen Brody, Jaws

Roger and Trish Murtagh, the Lethal Weapon movies

Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, The Incredibles

(I hate to admit it, but…) Dan and Kristin Reed, Christmas with a Capital C

That list doesn’t seem so short, I suppose, until you take into account that I own over 220 movies and TV shows (for purposes of counting, I counted each show only once, not by season or anything.

All that to say that I suppose Jenkins has lots of company in not particularly wanting to (or, perhaps, not being able to) write a happily married couple interacting with each other.

Wow, I am full of rants lately.  Good thing Wintermas is coming!


Yeah, I’m going there.  And I haven’t even seen the gorram movie yet!


Back at it: Straight goes to the hospital to meet Scooter, donning his “adult clown” uniform to do so.  It’s actually just “an ancient zoot suit,” but apparently this means “adult clown.”

Have I ever mentioned that I hate clowns?

Gorram Creepy Clown Christian…

So with not one thought to spare for the horror he is inflicting on all around him, Straight talks to a nurse about Scooter (thus “learning” his nickname, even though he already knew it), then heads to Scooter’s room.


“Nobody knows the trouble I seen.  Got me a first name that’s not too keen.  Name’s Stephenson but I go by Scooter…”

Yeah.  That’s the whole song.

I hate Straight so much.

Straight barely says two words to Scooter before yanking the sheet off his feet and checking between his toes.


Just like with Paul, I actually feel a bit sorry for Scooter here.  Even though he was probably on his knees three weeks ago, praying for the massacre of millions.

But one simple “he-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed” and the two are best buds.


And finally, FINALLY, some action.

The NPO actually kills some Christians.

And no, not at the actual underground.

Having driven from downtown Chicago to Joliet, Felicia finds the fish restaurant and meets up with Hector and the other believers in the back room.

“Does everybody always look this petrified at these things?” she said.

Well, they should.  Because it is the stupidest event ever.  A bowling league involving members of a government organization, that meets in secret an hour’s drive from their workplace and is never open to new members.

And that you talk about all but openly at work, speaking in very obvious “code” phrases.

Hell, the group that Paul and hottie Larry Coker staked out in Soon had more cred: at least they could have claimed to be a book club or something.

Instead, the NPO believers close the door to the back room, and start their charade by reading off a list of high bowling scores…with fake names attached.

So they never even try to maintain cover.  They never even go bowling.  They just read fake scores in a restaurant.

So why don’t they, yanno, just go bowling?  They could talk and pray or whatever in the bowling alley, where it’s noisy and probably nobody would notice.

So they eat fish and talk and pray…and then they’re made!  Harriet Johns just walks right in and reveals to them that the office is bugged (well, duh), and Trudy’s little fish joke and the planning for this dinner was overheard.


So Harriet wanders out again, her point made, I guess.  For a second, everyone assumes that the food is poisoned, but instead, they’re gassed.  And if they try to leave, they’re shot.

I kinda wish I could feel something at this point, but considering that these people didn’t really give a damn that millions upon millions of people were just massacred a few weeks ago (Felicia, and remember that her own son was included in the slaughter) or actually prayed for it to happen (everybody else in the room), I just can’t muster up much of a damn to give.

Because the score sheet looks like this:

God, at the request of his followers: millions upon millions, perhaps one billion

NPO: probably around twenty

Who are the villains again?


Posted on November 5, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The baffling thing is that the bad writing isn’t visible from space even to the target audience. That Jenkins is counting on his readers having so little empathy for anyone else that as long as they aren’t encouraged to identify themselves with those nameless 20 Christians they never notice /oh hey, God’s protection seems selective in a way that looks utterly random from an in-book perspective/ isn’t surprising. The number of fundamentalist Christians who are eager to live down to his expectations is both surprising and depressing.

  2. That Other Jean

    Wait, what?! These idjits communicate in fish symbols to set up a meeting in a restaurant, and it’s a FISH restaurant? Worst conspirators on the planet, with or without fake bowling scores.

  3. Nick and Nora?

    And how much trouble is it to set up a restaurant to be gassed? You can’t replace the staff, because they’re regulars and will recognise the change. So either the staff are the world’s best actors, or they don’t know about it either, meaning all the gas canisters and hoses and spy cameras and electric door closers and things were installed without anyone knowing… yeah, right.

    Not that this is even in the top ten of this book’s problems.

    • It’s almost-kinda implied that the staff know–that they serve dinner and immediately leave and clear the restaurant. But that may be just me grafting logic onto the situation.

    • And what about the other customers? Sure, the Christians are in a separate room, but restaurant rooms aren’t build to be airtight. There are a few scenarios I can imagine:

      A) The restaurant is already empty of other customers when the Christians arrive. This should have made them very suspicious that something is wrong.
      B) Harriet Johns evacuated everyone else before walking in on the Christians. And everyone just abandoned their half-eaten dinner without any complaint or anyone making any noise that would have alerted the Christians.
      C) All the other customers are actors who are in on the plot and will leave when given the signal. Well, that’s a ridiculously contrived plan just to catch a bunch of bumbling conspirators.
      D) Doors and ventilation systems had been rebuild allowing you can gas Christians in the back without disturbing the other diners. That sounds reasonable… if the dinner was taking place in the lair of a Bond-villain.

      In any scenario it would have been far easier to arrest the conspirators and execute them somewhere else. I know the story is going for a “Christian martyrs” theme here, but when the Romans threw Christians to the lions they did it in an arena, not by bringing lions to wherever the Christians happened to be.

      • I was going to post “why not just turn up with a few hundred stormtroopers”, but these Christians would probably use their ontological terror weapon to do something far more damaging, like turning the blood of everyone within a ten-mile radius into wine. Using gas on them so that they’re knocked out before they have a chance to pray, and risking some innocent casualties, might actually be a more sensible approach.

  4. I really can’t force myself to feel sympathy for those idiots. Their “secret” meetup was so ridiculously obvious that it would have been surprising if they weren’t found out. Too dumb to live.

  5. And having their “bowling club” actually go bowling would not only have been better cover, but they would have had the inbuilt protection of being surrounded by a crowd of innocent fellow bowlers. So the NPO would either have had to arrange some sort of accident that would wipe out everyone in the building, or think of some way of getting at the secret Christians elsewhere. Like at the NPO building where they all worked, maybe?

  6. Success! An actual evil act by the atheists that’s not Ranold twisting his character into a pretzel to do bad things! That makes… four, right? Dork Too Stupid, snake guy, that one slaughter that might have been a battle… I’m not giving them St Stephen because that was TEXAS acting of his own accord… And this. And all of book 2 was “Paul takes a holiday, Welsh-Norwegians are mean”. Okay, five, let’s give them vaguely illegalising religion. This could be a slow buildup towards a scenario where it actually looks like the people Jenkins wants us to dislike are actually as bad or worse than the people he wants us to…

    Seven short chapters left, you say? Well, then, let’s drink heavily.

    And I suppose “idiots acting like you can be an underground movement while wearing “HELLO I AM AM SPY” badges and all getting killed” is better, storywise, than “idiots acting et cetera and there are no consequences” but they do kinda both pale in comparison to “competent people acting competently and dealing with the regrettable fallout of their actions”. Maybe Jerry Jenkins could put in some serious humble study of his craft and rise to the level of…

    He teaches thousand dollar writing courses, you say? Well, then, let’s drink heavily.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for November 13th, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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