The story is wonderful, twisty and gritty and written from the heart. Yes, from the heart; and as we know that can cause a few problems, issues that will be solved over time for this young author, because she is going to keep writing. I promised her I would be honest, so I am going to be.
I loved the story. I figured out one of the twists, but not the other (no spoilers). I was drawn to the main characters but wished they had been allowed to get to know one another better so that we could have as well. Keeping one or two characters in the dark is a fine literary device, but we needed just a little more depth. The settings were well developed, each stop on the journey was clear in my mind, from the Hospital to the lake to the apartment to the first 'home'. Distances were a touch tricky, but it didn't take away from the premise or the story.
My one problem was (and this might just be an old guy thing) was the glaring lack of firearms. Right at the start, any weapon will do, but at some point someone needed to break into a Kmart for more than granola bars and oatmeal. I know it would have changed the dynamic of several scenes, but would have helped with the realism.
Back to the 'from the heart' comment. I only say this because when we write from the heart, we send our 'children' out into the world too quick. We don't edit with the blind determination that is needed to present a polished product.
So, Shannon, keep writing (and you are right, she is dead)(not a spoiler), so she's not an avenue for your creativity. I would like to be on your 'first reader' list for your future stories, I know there will be more, and I am looking forward to what ever comes next!
Contact me to grab your copy of The Rest Is Silence by Shannon Hayes.