NC Literary Hall of Fame




Brutal Silence by Margaret Dardess

Mason Point Press
$13.95, paperback / $4.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-0692851043
February, 2017
Fiction: Suspense/Thriller
Available from your local bookstore or

"Brutal Silence is an engaging thriller and a fine piece of work."
—William Bernhardt, author of The Game Master

"A page-turning thriller, Brutal Silence is filled with mystery, intrigue, and family secrets. With a plot that twists and turns, Margaret Dardess manages to entertain while also shining a spotlight on a growing plague in society: human trafficking. Even the most discerning reader will be guessing the outcome. Brutal Silence is not to be missed."
—Michael Morris, author of Man in the Blue Moon

"Brutal Silence is great edge-of-your-seat story. I love Alexher story really brings home the reality that human trafficking is not just something that happens in other placesit is in our own neighborhoods and our own communities."
—Kimberly Smith, author of Passport Through Darkness

Alex Harrington’s genteel Southern world shatters when two strangers drag her from a tourist bus while she's on vacation in Mexico City. She wakes on a grit-covered cement floor, head throbbing, looking up into the terrified faces of a dozen women and the brutal world of human trafficking. A champion runner, Alex escapes and returns to run her free clinic in North Carolina, haunted by the faces of the women she was unable to save. When a battered woman seeks refuge at her clinic, only to die moments later, Alex learns that human traffickers don’t only exist in Mexico. They are operating even in her home town, targeting her, and she has no idea why. Alex wants answers, but when the trail leads back to those she loves the most, she finds that sometimes it’s the most innocent and ordinary places that hide the most terrible secrets.

Born and raised just outside of New York City, Margaret Dardess has lived and travelled across several continents, landing at last in Chapel Hill, where she probably should have been all along. She is the daughter of an artist and a poet, who were determined to steer their only daughter away from a life in the arts. For many years they were successful. Margaret returned to New York after graduation from Connecticut College to study Japanese history at Columbia University, and after a brief teaching career at the University of Illinois, went on to tackle the law. When she finally stopped going to school, she set off on a journey, masquerading as an international trade lawyer, a corporate communications executive and a university administrator until at last she cast her parents’ warnings to the wind and began to write. Brutal Silence is Margaret’s debut thriller. After meeting a woman who escaped from human traffickers and hearing all that the poor woman endured, Margaret was so angry that she had to tell others about it. She chose to write an action-packed thriller as a way to make the issue of human trafficking come alive through fiction. Brutal Silence is the story of Alex Harrington, a resilient and gutsy young Southern woman who takes on human traffickers in her North Carolina town and in Mexico and wins. Margaret lives with her husband and three cats in Chapel Hill and Wilmington. She is hard at work on a second book that will take Alex Harrington to Margaret’s own native New York City and back to Mexico where Alex tries to build a new life as an international relief worker only to find that those she trusts the most are motivated more by greed than by charity:

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