GENRE: Courtroom Drama/Thiller
LENGTH: 363 pages
PUBLISHER: Self Published
When I discuss a book with my wife immediately after finishing it, it’s either a great book or a bomb. Only a few minutes after finishing Kimberly Shursen’s Hush, I was standing in the kitchen, telling my wife all about it. In a matter of only a few moments, I quickly rattled off the plot, the main characters, the climax and the ending. This was an easy task, because Hush is so well written. With this novel Kimberly Shursen once again proves herself a fantastic writer.
After years of vainly searching for love, Minneapolis professionals Ann and Ben find their perfect soul mate in one another. Soon, bliss and happiness envelope the couple, and Ann is expecting a baby. And then something goes wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. Ben and Ann are suddenly thrust into a living nightmare, and find themselves facing each other across a courtroom as the whole word watches. Ann’s unborn child, and the future of reproductive rights in America, hangs in the balance.
Hush is courtroom drama centering on the polarizing subject of abortion. Shursen seizes this ultimate Third Rail, and manages to hold on for every raw, shocking jolt. The author claims this novel is not a religious or political book. Okay, maybe. Hush doesn’t have an overt political or religious theme, and isn’t the least bit preachy. Shursen does, however, fearlessly explore questions surrounding this lightning rod topic.
I came into the novel thinking it would strictly be a courtroom drama. It mostly was, but the courtroom scenes weren’t the only, or best, part. Shursen wove in elements of a thriller, too, which took me by surprise and proved to be my favorite part. I really wished there would have been more of this, but I understand why Shursen didn’t write more thriller into it, as it could have proved distracting to the central plot.
Shursen takes a delicate subject, treats it fairly, and wields it to propel realistic characters into cringe-worthy situations. There are no “throw away” characters, or clichéd dialogue, in the whole novel. I was seriously impressed with how quickly Shursen vested each character with depth, from the judge whose past threatens her objectivity, to a troubled woman ripe for exploitation. This novel would make a killer tele- or screenplay.
All around, Hush proves an excellent read. I have very little to criticize regarding this well written and edited book, but one thing did slightly irk me. This isn’t a hit so much a hit on the book, more like a gripe from a satisfied reader. One of my favorite characters died at the end (as readers we’ve all been there, of course). When the character died, I went back and reread the paragraph to make sure I didn’t misread it. Why the hell did she do that? I thought. As the end neared, I felt primed for a certain kind of ending, which Shursen sort of delivered, sans this certain character. But authors do that sometimes, and, as readers we should be used to it by now.
Books that knock off a favorite character can still be awesome, and Hush is clearly a Top Pick and worth five stars.
Hush on Amazon
Kimberly Shursen's website
Brian L. Braden is a UBR partner and assistant editor. His articles have been featured in a variety of defense magazines, websites, and books to include the Military Times, Air Power Journal, and Oxford University Press. His novels Black Sea Gods and Tears of the Dead, are available on Amazon.