I've just finished Silent Scream, Yvonne. I read your book in one day and I can honestly say it is one of the most incredible, frightening and compelling books I've ever read. And you put my words on the back cover, too! My goodness. I'm so very honored. Thank you for doing that.
You know, when I picked up Silent Scream this morning, I sort of paged through it from the back to the front, as my mother often does. A certain face on page 412 struck me. I had the book resting in my lap and the blanket I had wrapped around me (it gets kind of cold here in Elyria, Ohio in the mornings!) hid the caption below the photo. I stared at that picture and got chilled. Who was that, I wondered? The boyish looks of this man were at war with his eyes. I've heard that the eyes are the windows of your soul. For Schaefer, I guess this was true. His eyes bothered me. I raised the book up, saw the caption, and knew why I was afraid. The photo was of Gerard J. Schaefer.
Page by page, chapter by chapter, I was drawn into Silent Scream, into the stories of these girls and the madman who held them captive, then destroyed them in every way that it is possible for one human being to do another in. Schaefer was different from the average criminal, wasn't he? He was smart and wily as a fox. He played every angle, even maneuvering law enforcement officers, the press, supposed girlfriends and family in an attempt to achieve his twisted goals.
Schaefer's trial, jail time and subsequent unending appeals were, indeed, a "circus", as you described them. I liked the way that you broke everything up into short chapters. This is powerful stuff. I think if the chapter were longer, the reader couldn't handle it. I know I had difficulty - yes, even in daylight!!!
I also liked the way you put in some brief notes and photos of the individuals involved in the end of the book. That's a stroke of genius. It really brings home to the reader just how "real" this story is. Silent Scream is a book you really want to forget, but you can't. Your own sense of self-preservation pleads with you to file the story away in the depths of some deep, dark dungeon of your mind, where you don't have to deal with the pain and anguish Schaefer caused so many people. I can't. I won't. And I know that you won't, either, my good friend.
I'm still reeling from what you've written here, Yvonne, and very, very honored to call you my friend. You deserve every iota of praise you receive for writing this masterpiece. I shall be honored to declare that wherever I can find your book.
For the innocent girls and unnamed victims yet to be discovered, we thank you.
Ann B. Keller
Ann B. Keller