In A Dangerous Silence, past and present meet to bring disparate characters’ lives together and to demonstrate their different responses to past wrongs (or perceived wrongs) and how those reactions shape their futures. Those who are able to forgive, accept responsibility, and move on in a Christian manner fare best; those who remain bitter grow worse.
The name of the protagonist, “Marah,” in fact means “bitter” in Hebrew, and her name describes how she feels about her father at the beginning of the story. She eventually forgives him for his adultery, verbal abuse, neglect, and other transgressions, however. Marah grows and changes. She and Perky have strong Christian beliefs that help them through the crisis.
Marah’s father, Ed, has always regarded preachers as confidence artists and has always hated going to church. His wife died at home in considerable pain, but he regarded doctors, including his daughter, as overpaid pill pushers. Judd, similarly, has no religious beliefs. Fortunately, both Ed and Judd eventually see the errors of their ways. Ed takes responsibility for his unhappy marriage and for refusing to take his wife to the hospital when she became ill. He finally realizes that there may actually be something to churchgoing and praying. Judd realizes that his first marriage failed because it was centered on sex rather than love.
Dr. Gregory, by contrast, considers Christians to be fools. He previously ran a successful obstetrics and gynecology practice in Los Angeles, including a discreet abortion clinic. However, he never took responsibility for a late-term abortion that went badly and led to his suspension. He has never forgiven the state of California and the medical community for having taken away his medical license and affluent lifestyle. His pride blinds him to his own contributions to his current situation in life, and he instead seeks revenge against the medical community in particular and the United States in general.
Although the novel has a romantic subplot between Marah and Judd, their romance is not consummated, because Judd is not yet a Christian. He has not learned to love God, and he is therefore incapable of truly loving another human being, although he has shown a capacity for friendship and affection. The story does, however, end on an optimistic note: Judd appears ready to leave the FBI and give his life to God.