by S.A. Barnes
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Pub Date 08 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 01 Jun 2022
Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire
A Best Book of 2022 by the New York Public Library • One of the Best SFF Books of 2022 (Gizmodo) • One of the Best SF Mysteries of 2022 (CrimeReads) • A GoodReads Choice Award finalist for Best Science Fiction!
Titanic meets Event Horizon in this SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn't yet ended.
Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.
What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn’t right.
Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Messages scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold on to her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.
"Truly un-put-downable in its purest sense.” Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
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Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 253 members
A haunting story set in space , what more could I ask for? Easily one of my favorite reads of the year so far. While not very complex or flushed out I found myself rooting for the entire ships crew and enjoying the whole cast of characters. While parts of the story were predictable, it never took away from the fast paced fun of this read. Switching between past and present the dual timeline really works for this story, and I COULD NOT put this down.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this AMAZING book!
When a communications network repair crew lead by Claire Kovalik picks up a strange, distress beacon on the outer edge of known space, they have no choice but to investigate. The crew finds a twenty-year-old lost luxury ship, the Aurora, which could net each crew member quite the salvage reward. However, what the crew stumbles upon is a strange series of events that resulted in the violent deaths of everyone on board the Aurora two decades ago. What caused everyone on board the Aurora to violently murder each other or commit suicide? Kovalik and her crew find out - the hard way.
Dead Silence is a science fiction, horror novel about a ghost ship, with a twist. This page-turner of a novel follows Kovalik in her retelling of the events that transpired when her crew found the derelict Aurora; however, Kovalik's memory is unreliable. Throughout the novel, the author expertly reveals small snippets of Kovalik's stellar backstory - which are a definite highlight of Dead Silence. The novel is also split into several parts, each with a very different 'feel'. Readers who enjoy science-fiction and horror genres will greatly enjoy Dead Silence, as well as those who would prefer a thriller.
Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this ARC.
As an avid horror reader, this book filled me with more dread than any other book I've read in years. A Ghost Ship story with a twist, this book had me torn between "unable to put it down" and "I need to throw it across the room to keep it away from me." It will, fittingly, stick in your head long after the last page.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a review copy! I am a horror movie fan. I heard about this book as a comparison to the early 2000’s movie Ghost Ship where ship salvagers find a luxury liner adrift in the ocean. Surprise! It’s haunted. The comparison was enough to make me NEED this book. It did not disappoint! The story had it all- a desolate space setting, haunting location, and plenty of action. This is one of those books that I don’t want to reveal too much in the review- you have to go in not knowing. If you like space/sci fi thrillers and horror/ghost stories- this is for you! (And I wholly recommend a viewing of Ghost Ship after you finish!) 5/5
Also reviewed on my Goodreads page.
This is a very good book, even if you are not a fan of science fiction, there is a lot that happens that should keep your attention. Claire Kovalik, the lone childhood survivor of a virus on a Mars colony, is the grownup team lead on a space ship that inspects/repairs a giant communications network. While in a remote area of space they pick up a distress signal originating from another ship and investigate. The signal is coming from a luxury space ship, the Aurora, that had disappeared 20 years ago with all on board, most of the passengers were of the uber wealthy kind. Claire and her team decide to board the ship to salvage something they can return with to prove they found the ship and to claim the salvage reward. What they find on the ship is very disturbing, all the passengers have died violent deaths. Claire and her team start to experience hallucinations, or is it? The story is told in a present day where Claire is being interviewed by executives of the company she works for and in the past where she relates her memory of what happened. Claire's memory is unreliable to say the least and has large gaps in it. What happened to the Aurora takes place over the last third of the story and it's quite the tale, each revelation keeps the pages turning. Highly recommended! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Event Horizon meets Titanic in this spooky and thrilling novel. This book succeeded as a haunted house story set in space, with a broken protagonist struggling to overcome the horrors of her past and the new ones she is facing.
The book starts off slow, letting the reader get to know the various members of Claire's crew. She has Kane the mechanic, Voller the pilot, Lourdes running communications, and Nysus managing the technology. The five of them stumble on an old distress signal from the Aurora, a luxury cruise liner believed lost years prior. They travel to the ship to claim the ship as theirs, only to discover the horror of what happened to the Aurora's original passengers. Barnes does a great job with the setting of the Aurora, depicting a grand ship that has been decaying over time. It works well as a location that could have ghosts around every corner.
In the present, Claire is being interviewed by Max Donovan and Reed Darrow, two representatives of the Verux company, as they attempt to determine what occurred on board the Aurora. She was found in an escape pod a few weeks after her crew arrived on the ship. They believe Claire is lying about what she saw and want to head back there to investigate. I was worried initially at the book revealing this on the first page, but it does not reduce the tension of the first half due to Barnes' effective characterizations and the simmering tension of the crew's exploration of the Aurora.
This book was a great mix of science fiction and horror that I hope many more will read. Big thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan for a review copy of this book.
This scratched every horror itch I had. It was right up my alley. I LOVE the whole premise of an abandoned ship, house, spaceship or whatever and this was so well done with the unreliable narrator, who unlike other horrors was believable and well thought out.
From start to finish it was unputdownable.
I have found lately that "horror" genre books aren't always creepy and scary, but this isn't one of them. I haven't enjoyed a horror this much since The Elementals or The Deep.
I absolutely love space horror and that’s why I requested this book as soon as I saw it!
This book gave me strong vibes of one the best space horror movies ever made, “Event Horizon.”
Reading this book has been one wild ride and I devoured it within a day. I just couldn’t stop reading.
Every moment was filled with heart thumping dread and a sense of utter eeriness.
I don’t get spooked easily, but I was looking over my shoulder multiple times while reading it.
It’s like the story of the titanic /ghost ship/ event horizon, all rolled into a giant ball of terror in space.
Claire Kovalik and her small space crew discover The Aurora, a luxury space-liner destined for a cruise of the solar system, which has been missing for twenty years. It was boarded by society’s finest and richest people at the time.
Claire and her crew decide to board the ship as this is their big chance to strike it rich. They want to take the ship back, to be rewarded for their discovery, and also because they want people to have closure, and find out what happened to their loved ones on board the ship.
What they find on the ship is extremely disturbing and mystifying. What terrifying events took place aboard the luxurious ship, that caused all the passengers to die or kill themselves in horrific ways?
There’s something not quite right about the Aurora and Claire and her crew will pay a price for coming aboard the doomed ship.
I really liked the characters that made up the main cast of the book. Their camaraderie is enjoyable and one almost feels like a part of the crew, reading about them. These are well thought out characters that one actually cares for.
I really want this book to be made into a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, as it’s absolutely perfect material for a TV show.
I would definitely recommend this book for sci fi, horror, thriller & mystery fans. I think it has to be one of my favorite horror/sci fi books this year!
Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader’s copy of this book for an honest review.
Okay just wow. The spooky atmosphere and mystery in this was wonderful and this book is definitely a new favorite.
When Claire's team stumbles across a distress beacon and find the lost Aurora, a luxury liner that has been missing for years ever since it's maiden voyage. No one knows what happened to the ship, but here it is for the taking. They decide to go on board to investigate, expecting the find could set them all up for life. But they aren't ready for what is waiting for them. This book is basically Titanic in space if the Titanic had gone missing only to be found more than years later with unspeakable horrors on board. Even worse, the corporation owning the ship doesn't want the truth getting out.
This book hit everything I love in a good space horror. The building tension of what Claire's team will find on board mixed with the horrors they are finding that keeps the story spooky and mysterious. Then the book begins messing with their senses and you aren't sure what is real and what isn't and it keeps you guessing. This is one of those books that left me with some visuals that will stick with me for a while. I also loved the subtle clues pointing to the truth.
Dead Silence is one hell of a book. It was advertised as The Titanic x The Shining but set in space which works, though Ghost Ship x Event Horizon might be more accurate. From start to finish, this book knows exactly what it wants to be, and it delivers every step of the way, which was a marked contrast to this reader’s previous book.
S.A. Barnes does a fantastic job of immersing the reader completely in both the past and present timelines. This trick often does not work well, but in this particular case, the writer managed to flip back and forth in a way that kept the tension up and kept the story going forward. The logic behind the story, that which drives the plot, makes a refreshing amount of sense. There was no issue with the suspension of disbelief.
The main character, Claire Kovalik, has one trait that sets her apart from the traditional MC in these types of books. One that could have been poorly handled but wasn’t. While she does check many of the traditional boxes for the tortured but enduring strong female lead, Kovalik does not feel like a cliché. There are no excuses here, and though the character does have a bit of a ‘woe is me’ thing happening, it is completely understandable.
“But I will say this: once you’ve been in a position to watch everyone you’ve ever known die […], you realize not only that life is precious but also that death is absolutely inevitable. […] I prefer facing that particular unavoidable reality rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.”
Barnes’ prose is on point with Dead Silence. It never tips to purple, and there are delightful lines that will send a happy shiver up horror lovers’ spines. Like:
“Well, are you sure this is even the right Claire?” Lourdes asks. “She’s over there, too.” A whisper of fabric against fabric traces her movement as she stands. “Claire. Wait, come back.”
We are all going to die.
Dead Silence is a story of corporate greed and desperate people being driven to pull off the impossible in order to get ahead. There is a romance subplot that softens the edge of the story just enough to keep a thread of hope running through it. The pacing is perfect. The characters are fairly typical for the most part, but they work well in the story. The very idea of a luxury cruise liner ‘lost’ in space and then being found the way this particular ship is found is a great take on a familiar tale.
Recommended for fans of space adventures gone wrong, though it might quite possibly find a home in the hearts of some who are always looking for the next Firefly-esque crew to root for. Banged up clunker ship and all. Overall, Dead Silence is one of the best sci-fi horror tales that Sci-Fi & Scary has experienced in recent years.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought I knew how it would unfold, but it gave me quite the twist and I loved that. Amazing worldbuilding. Excellent main character. A whole lot of tension and creepy stuff. A total winner!
Sad to admit but this was my first space horror novel! And I'm here to say I'm.officially hooked! Hells Bells Dead Silence was freaking amazing! I believe I have found a new genre! So thank you! 😘
Barnes really knows how to hold a readers attention and never steers away!
This story was the best story I've read in some time! As for the characters I really enjoyed them. And how much the characters developed throughout the book. Very interesting!
All in all this book was a great psychological suspense read.
The writing was beyond interesting and intriguing. It held my attention. And I loved the story.
Thank You for the chance to read and review!
I'll post to my accounts closer to pub date!
Dead Silence is the perfect blend of sci-fi and horror, and I read it in one sitting. The Aurora was a luxury space-liner that has been missing for 20 years. Passengers included celebrities, influencers, government officials, and tech giants. Everyone disappeared without a trace. While finishing up a job, Claire’s ship picks up a mysterious distress signal. Upon finding the vessel, Claire’s crew decide to salvage what they can.
This book was super creepy and I loved the atmosphere. It reminded me of Dead Space, a video game I love dearly. The jump between past and present was well done and the pacing kept my heart pounding.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
The perfect mix of horror and sci-fi, Dead Silence is unputdownable from the first chapter. I found myself compulsively reading a chapter whenever I could just to know more. Counting down the days until I can get my own copy.
Loved, loved, loved this. Fans of the films Event Horizon or Ghost Ship are sure to enjoy this one, as well as sci-fi horror fans. I was initially intrigued by the premise, and by chapter four I knew this would be a cover-to-cover read for me. I enjoyed the characters, the dread filled atmosphere, and chilling imagery. 10/10 would recommend this one.
It has been a long time since a horror book gave me the creeps, but this one delivered. Throughout the whole first half of the book I was constantly feeling a chill in the pit of my stomach, like I was being watched. The fear the characters felt was easy to relate to and feel myself.
I loved the pacing of this book and I think it really just added to the creep factor with the alteration between now and the past. I finished it in basically 24 hours total
I did not see the ending coming at all, we went from full on horror to a sci-fi battle for business feel, but I actually love how we got there. This had a great balance of horror and space opera that reminds me of The Expanse.
A story unlike any other. Dead Silence presents itself like many space horror but in its depths, you will find a tale of love, trauma, mystery, and self-discovery. One of the best books you'll read all year.
This is a story about the ghost in the machine.
This is a horror story on a massive scale: Ghost Ship, meets Event Horizon, meets The Sixth Sense. Ghosts, capitalism & a luxury liner in space! The creeping sense of pervasive dread & atmospheric terror are expertly created- I enjoyed every frightening minute!
Thank you so much Netgalley &
Macmillan-Tor/Forge. for this e-Arc!
Thank you so much S.A.Barnes for sending me a free ARC copy of Dead Silence. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. if you like books that are very spooky and filled with mystery then I would definitely recommend you read this book. it has everything you could want in a spooky book.
I received a copy of this novel through netgalley in exchange for an honest review…
So here goes…
Dead Silence has now become one of my top 10 reads this year. From the second I saw the cover, to reading the copy about the book I knew this would hook me from the start.
It’s a little bit Event Horizon, a little bit Pandorum and a whole lot of fun. The story ebbs and flows just like the inhale and exhale of the main characters. The imagery the authors words gives to your brain makes you feel like you are right there with the Crew of the LINA, and the twist… the twist will leave you questioning all the way until the end.
Absolutely fabulous read. Highly recommend.
The blurb for this touts "Titanic meets The Shining!" but mentions nothing about the Alien franchise. It totally should have. The corporate sleaze underlying that space series has a match in Dead Silence. Claire has already been a Company victim once, as a child, when her settlement didn't get needed supplies and consequently perished. She also carries a secret shame from that ordeal, and she never learned to play well with others. But her Company job is almost at an end, and they're going to put her out to pasture. On her last voyage, though, she and the crew pick up a distress beacon. From a long-lost luxury vessel. Which they can claim for salvage. They juuuuust need to go aboard and get some evidence...Claire can't account for what happens next, and then, she's sent back into the fray. A ghost ship, corporate greed, and shallow consumerism make a lethal combination. Will anyone survive? Ooh, this is a shivery and delicious read, even if one of the underlying culprits is pretty obvious early on.
If you've been in search of a wholly original & unique spin on the classic haunted house story, look no further than S.A. Barnes' "Dead Silence" - what a book!
"Event Horizon" is one of my favorite movies, & this gave me major "Event Horizon" vibes while still being its own distinctive story. This took a ton of twists & turns I wasn't expecting, at all - I don't want to give anything away, but I'll say that not everything is as it seems & I really like when horror makes you question whether or not paranormal forces are present. All of the characters were great, but particularly Claire - I appreciated the focus on past trauma & how that doesn't necessarily define what you are or aren't capable of as a leader. I really enjoyed Barnes' use of alternating timelines here - most of the horror takes place in the past, but that didn't deter from the creepiness that was persistent within the present portions. & let me tell you - this was creepy! Barnes' writing was so cinematic & detailed, & some of the descriptions she used really made my skin crawl.
Also, I've got to say, I loved (& was pleasantly surprised by) the commentary on corporate competition & greed - it's almost eerily similar to the beginnings of this new space race we've got going on, & it definitely gave me something to think about!
All in all, I loved everything about this, & I've got to give it give it up to Barnes for being able to get me out of a month long slump - highly, highly recommend putting this on your TBR lists! I can already tell this is going to be an early contender as a 2022 favorite! & thank you so much S.A. Barnes, NetGalley, & Tor Nightfire for providing an ARC in exchange for a honest review!
An abandoned luxury space cruise ship, a maintenance crew on their final job, and a company that makes Bladerunner’s Tyrell Corporation look positively benign.
Dead Silence, by S.A. Barnes, comes storming out of the gate with some incredible ideas, and an author with the skill to combine them into one delightfully terrifying novel.
Claire Kovalik is on the verge of being unemployed – leading a small crew as they maintain comms stations in the furthest reaches of known space, she’s about to lose the life she’s worked so hard to establish following a childhood tragedy that left her the only surviving member of her family. To say she’s in a bad place about it would be to understate it. Just as they’re about to wrap up their final job, however, they pick up a faint distress signal – the perfect excuse for her to postpone leaving the closest thing to home she has. The reluctance of her team turns to excitement when the beacon leads them to the most famous missing ship in space-faring history; but will they all survive to bring her treasures home?
The crowded isolation of a cruise ship makes them the perfect setting for a mystery, and moving the action into space worked absolutely beautifully here. S.A. Barnes writes expressive scenes that painted a very clear picture of the events of the book, filled them with characters that felt vividly real, and then unleashed her formidable imagination in ways I couldn’t bear to look away from. It really does bring the horror, but the author knew just when to break the tension by cutting to a different moment in time. Main character Claire had me both cheering her on, and questioning if I could trust her – it’s a delicate balance, but one that keeps the reader just uncertain enough, in my opinion.
Dead Silence delivered everything promised in that tantalizing setup, and then some. Easily already one of my favorite releases of 2022, and one I’m hoping will have a chance to scare readers around the globe.
I just so happen to be reading a book about the Titanic when I came across this book, and I was super happy that I got a copy through Net Galley in exchange for a review, which I am happy to provide.
The book had me hooked right from the beginning and I could not put it down, I read past my bedtime and I might have even neglected some work to get it done. I liked the characters and the storyline, which reminded me of Alien and the doomed Titanic voyage, but each time I thought I had it figured out, it went into another direction. The pacing was good and I did not want the book to end, thoroughly entertaining, at the edge of my seat reading.
Claire Kovalik is on her last mission. Her job is being replaced by a new machine, and her attempt to launch her own transportation vessel was denied. When her ship's beacon picks up a distress call, Claire and her crew go to investigate. They find a ship thought to be lost to space 20 years ago called Aurora. A luxury space-liner equipped with highly valuable items, Aurora could be the answer to Claire and her crew's prayers of what comes next. But once they board Aurora, it's clear that all isn't as it should be. The crew is seeing things that aren't there, the bodies of the passengers show that they died in brutal, sudden ways. What they thought could be there chance at a new life could end up being the death of them all...
DEAD SILENCE had me utterly captivated. When we first meet Claire, it's clear that she's had a rough life. She's the sole survivor of an illness that wiped out everyone on her ship growing up, including her mother. She was raised under the 'charity' of a mega-corporation that wants to save face more than it wants to do good. And now, the job she finds the most comfort in is ending, with no clear path forward that doesn't make her want to give up. It's clear she isn't well, but it takes a good portion of the book to figure out if she's unreliable or not (or if she is, how unreliable). I loved her character arc in fighting for herself and her future, even in the face of deathly odds. I also adored the side romance between her and one of her crew.
I love space horror involving a mystery ship, and DEAD SILENCE nailed the eerie, haunting mood of a ship whose passengers died to an unknown cause. Each found corpse brought new terrors, and I stayed up fully past my bedtime to keep reading to figure out what happened to them and why.
A bit of Sunshine meets Aliens meets Into the Drowning Deep, DEAD SILENCE is a frighteningly immersive space horror that slowly wraps itself around your throat and squeezes. S.A. Barnes is a master of tension and mind-fuckery, and I can't wait for Barnes's next book.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes is a superb sci-fi/horror adventure, one of the best I've ever read. I haven't read a science fiction book this good in years, not since Obscura was released in 2018. S.A. Barnes does an amazing job with character development, especially with Claire. Her story arc is really something to see and follow. I loved that she felt real and believable, a flesh and blood breathing person. The technology in the future and advancement of space travel is damn cool, original and inventive. Dead Silence had me on the edge of my seat, this is a page turner filled with suspense. I'd highly recommend this book to any fan of science fiction or horror who love a suspense filled mystery.
Claire Kovaloik and her crew pick up a distress signal that is different from ore distress signals. Once she finishes this trip, she will be unemployed and has nothing to lose. Claire and her team members make the decision to investigate this distress signal and what they find on the end of it is something none of them expected. They find the Aurora, which was a famous luxury space-liner that vanished more than twenty years ago. The Aurora was on its maiden tour of the solar system filled with several hundred guests and staff members. Claire and her team members know that a salvage claim that is as extraordinary as this one could set them up for life but they soon realize that something isn’t right on the ship. Claire has to quickly find out what happened with the events leading up to the disappearance of the Aurora to prevent her crew from ending up in a similar fate.
Have you ever read a book so fast and then once you finished it, you wish you could read it for the first time again? Because that is what happened with this book. I finished it within 2 days of starting it because I could not put the book down. I wanted to figure out what was going to happen. But then once I finished the book, I was so sad that it was over and wanted more of the story. This book was set in a dual timeline but the author did such a fantastic job at writing the two timelines that you never got confused as to which was which. This book gave me major vibes of the movie Ghost Ship and I think that is one of the reasons for why I loved this book so much. It was hauntingly beautiful, scary, and fast paced all at the same time. The author does such a great job describing the scenery and the events that are happening that you, as the reader, feel like you are on the ship with them experiencing the horrifying events at the same time. Overall, I could not recommend this book enough and it will probably be a while before I stop talking about it because it was just that good.
This was a tense, gripping read with an engrossing set-up and populated with characters I loved rooting for. It was a fast, thrilling read and I'd love to read more by this author.
Really good story. I love the characters and the setting, the book is scary and it's got alot of psychological horror. It's like messed up version of the titanic, except its a distopian corpatation instead of an ice berg
Oh, man, this book! A big part of this book is on the fact that we don't know if we can trust Claire, because she doesn't trust herself. Doesn't trust that what she's seeing is real. The mental and psychological parts of this thriller was just so tense and atmospheric, and pushed the story along so frighteningly well! Not to say the physical part of the story weren't tense, but the other two were on point!
This concept reminded me of two books, one YA, the other adult. The YA book, Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda, and the adult book, Salvaged by Madeleine Roux. OK, maybe one other adult book, Salvation Day by Kali Wallace. They all have ships that were either missing or abandoned, where something went wrong. And Dead Silence is a great addition to the group! Lots of dark and creepy ship atmosphere books, these sci fi books really blend well with horror, and I love it!
I really enjoyed the way that it was told. We had little snippets of the present, and then the bulk of the story when Claire and her team find the ship. And then we hit that point where things transition to the present, and oh, do things really take a turn there!
When we found out what was going on, that was very satisfying! Everything made sense, and it tied everything together in a really believable way! Well, almost everything. It doesn't explain what happened to her as a child, but the how and why of that aren't the focus of this book, only how that affects her mental state throughout this book. But yeah, that ending was excellent!
This was such a fantastic read, and I can't wait from more books from the name S.A. Barnes!
Creepy and deliciously tense, this was a fun sci-fi horror novel that delivers on the atmosphere you want to cultivate around Halloween.
Ahhh this book is so good and spooky. I _love_ a good locked door mystery and space is about as locked door as you can get. I don't typically read a lot (or any) science fiction, but Dead Silence has opened my eyes to the whole genre of space horror which I am very excited about. This was the perfect book to dip my toe in. I kept describing it to people as "haunted Titanic meets that one episode of the X-Files meets the Shining meets The Happening" which sounds insane but completely works. I loved it, the characters felt real and the world building was chef kiss. Plus the absolute SPOOKINESS of it. I couldn't put it down and resented my coworkers for talking to me during lunch when all I wanted to do was read this. I'll absolutely be buying my own copy. 100 stars out of 10.
This book deserves all the freaking stars. I absolutely devoured it in two sittings and had to force myself to put it down at night. Imagine Titanic meets Ghost Ship in space and you’ve got Dead Silence. It was the perfect spooky book and I loved the scifi horror elements. I’d been wanting a book to scare me and this one DELIVERED. It creeped me out so much, it actually gave me chills at one point, and I don’t scare easily while reading. Definitely a five star read!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I saw hints of horror and sci-fi influences without the story being tired or feeling like a knockoff. It was one of the best books I've read all year. Excellent space horror.
Claire is the LT of a maintenance crew ship. They’re almost done with their mission when they hear an outdated distress call a few days travel away. They agree as a crew to check it out and it ends up being the luxury space-liner The Aurora (a space ship comparable to the Titanic but in space) that has been missing for twenty years. They agree to go aboard and take some valuables via a “salvage claim” so 1). they can become rich when they get back home and 2.) so people believe what they found.
Aboard the ship they find terrible things that had occurred when the ship went missing and they all start to see violent hallucinations, ones that because of Claire’s traumatic past has seen before. Claire has to keep her crew safe and get back to safety.
I could not put this book down. Perfect for the lover of sci-fi mixed with horror. I would have given this 5 stars except for bits of romance thrown in that I can see was possibly necessary, but I didn’t feel like it fit the flow or theme. I also hated the ending. Or at least how quickly it came up. You have 200+ pages of mind-blowing detail where you can visualize the entire novel, where it could end in so many possible ways, and it was just done so quick that it broke the magic. I’m sure others will love the ending/epilogue l, but I felt it just fell too short of what Barnes had painted up until those last few pages.
Either way, it was so good. A onion slowly unraveling to a great story. I’ll have to check out more from this author.
Dead Silence was so much fun to read. It hit me right in the sweet spot: a mix of horror, sci-fi, and mystery. I went in knowing very little about it, and I don’t read a lot of sci-fi horror so when I stumble across one I’m always excited.
The Aurora is such a fantastic setting: a ghost spaceship with a previous life as a luxury cruiser. Claire is a great character: a giant mess, but capable and brave. The supporting characters were well-drawn enough to make me care about them and keep me unsure what they were up to.
I won’t say more because this is one best enjoyed without knowing too much. There’s some wonderfully grisly imagery, creepy moments, and a satisfying conclusion to the mystery of the Aurora.
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for providing me with this review copy.
In Space, Your Screams Can Last Forever
It's been some time since a science fiction novel's left me feeling this jumpy and jittery. My mind's blown to the point where I've found my reading experience difficult to describe. Rare, vivid, and full of shocking, mindbending suspense, Dead Silence is scary as hell.
Claire Kovalik is introverted and prickly, not fitting easily into any kind of social situation. She's the kind of flawed, vulnerable underdog who makes a reader root for her even though she may have done terrible things. And 'may have' is the operative term since, in her medicated state, ghostly visions entangle with broken memories and make it difficult for the reader to trust in her version of events.
Her narrative allows strobing glimpses of present, past, and maybe never, like slides shifting crazily in a projector. Her last spacewalk; an involuntary stay in the corporate Tower psychiatric facility; orphaned on the Ferris Outpost, the tragedy of her childhood; her last day on the Lina, the day they encountered the Aurora.
In the hands of lesser writer, it could have been hard to follow, but it absolutely isn't. Despite the disjointed presentation--in fact because of it--the tension builds to an incendiary level that I suspect will be hazardous for readers with heart problems. Or night terrors.
The author has masterfully married an action-packed survival story of an encounter with a ghost ship to a woman's struggle with a predatory, plutocratic dystopia. Be warned, this is not a young adult novel, despite the genre's prevalence in that category.
I was fortunate to receive an ARC courtesy of SA Barnes and Tor Nightfire via NetGalley. I'm enthusiastically offering my review and recommendation, uninfluenced by anything except my reading experience: Dead Silence is an excellent book! If you love science fiction, horror, and psychological thrillers, it's among the best of all of them. I hope it will be made into a film!
When I saw the synopsis of this book, my first thought was: "Horror and science fiction? COMBINED??? SIGN ME UP!!!". I am so glad I received an ARC (thank you, TOR Nightfire and NetGalley). This was surreal. The best way to describe this psychological horror novel would be: The Shining meets the Titanic meets Alien.
As a rule, I love murder mysteries set in space (Tamsyn Muir's Locked Tomb series is my favourite series of all time) and this did not disappoint in the least. Reading "Dead Silence" was a breathtaking experience; one that made me question my own sanity and understanding just as the characters were questioning their own. I read it (nay, devoured it) compulsively. I genuinely could not put this book down. It was incredibly creepy, and the ambiance of the setting was immaculately terrifying. I just know this will be a hit with fans of both genres.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes is an enthralling and engrossing read with a great plot and characters! Well worth the read
Dead Silence was absolutely incredible. I was worried when I started it that it would be a simple retelling of the Titanic, but it was so much more than that. It was scary, haunting, and kept me at the end of my seat. I can't wait to recommend this book to everyone when it is released - I am already seeing it in most anticipated horror books of 2022!
I wasn't super invested in any of the characters but the descriptions of the ship and its demise were richly horrifying and dreadful. A fun, spooky read for anyone with a Titanic obsession at any point in their lives.
This scratched every horror itch I had. It was right up my alley. I LOVE the whole premise of an abandoned ship, house, spaceship or whatever and this was so well done with the unreliable narrator, who unlike other horrors was believable and well thought out.
From start to finish it was unputdownable.
I have found lately that "horror" genre books aren't always creepy and scary, but this isn't one of them. I haven't enjoyed a horror this much since The Elementals or The Deep
A terrifically compelling horror-thriller, claustrophobic and unsettling. It's got elements of both ALIEN and ALIENS, as well as any given ghost-ship story (I myself was thinking a lot about the episode of seaQuestDSV where they visit the sunken ghost ship). I liked that the blend of supernatural and human-influenced horror was fluid, but that it never tipped too far in one direction or the other. Even the "flashback/present/flashback/present/present/present" structure really *worked* for me here. And if the ending was a little faster than I would've liked / if I saw some of those final reveals coming, well, that doesn't diminish the fact that they were incredibly enjoyable and that this book kept me awake at night -- both in the reading and in the after-reading-fear.
Read this book. Go buy it as soon as it is available on February 8 (or better yet, just pre-order it). Enjoy it. Rave about it. Talk to me about it. End of story.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes follows our main character Claire in two timelines, 'then' and 'now.' The past chapters follow Claire and her crewmates in a small spacecraft after they stumble upon a long-lost luxury cruise liner that had gone MIA years earlier. They decide to investigate the ship and discover everyone on board has been subject to brutal deaths. The present chapters follow Claire as she tries to piece together what happened on the ship as she recounts her story to investigators of her employer Verux.
This story is billed as a sci-fi horror book, but I think it feels very much like a sci-fi mystery-thriller. You're following Claire as she tries to figure out what's real and what's not as well as her filling in gaps in her memory. While it does have some gruesome, creepy scenes typical of horror, I didn't feel like it was overall too much to read in the dark (and I'm a big scaredy-cat). I loved that it had this mystery aspect, which I think helped me to keep turning the pages -- I just had to know what was going on and what happened to this old luxury cruise ship!
While at first I thought I wasn't connecting too much to the characters, I realized at the end just how much I cared for them when a tear started forming in my eyes at the thought of them. I ended up really loving the dynamic between Claire and her crewmates.
I also thought Claire had a great character arc and loved following her as she began to navigate her past, her present, and what the future held for her. I didn't think her transformation was so dramatic as to be unbelievable, yet I felt she grew throughout the events of the story, which I appreciated.
While I do have a small list of "cons" from the book, I've actually found I don't like thinking about them. Were there things I wish had gone differently? Yes. Was the book different than what I was expecting? Yes. Could some things have been clearer? Maybe. But overall, I enjoyed the story the author chose to tell.
I do wish there was more time following the crew on the abandoned ship since there was a lot of tension building up to this. It ended a little too quickly for me. But, again, I also wasn't disappointed with the story as written.
Overall, I absolutely love this book and will recommend it to anyone who enjoys sci-fi thriller/horror stories. In fact, I'd even recommend it for those who aren't big sci-fi readers -- I think it has a wide appeal to audiences who want a compulsive, creepy read!
Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for providing me with an advanced copy of this book!
As someone who was a big fan of 2002 film, Ghost Ship, I was 1000% ready for a space horror of a similar vein and I was not disappointed! Barnes constructs a sense of crowded isolation on the discovered luxury spacecraft that brings a shoulder-lifting eeriness that makes you want to check over your shoulder as you read.
Claire Kovalik is the type of flawed female protagonist I love to root for in horror and her further spiral into destructive madness was a train crash I couldn't tear my eyes from. I found the last quarter of the book to be slightly less polished than the rest regarding plot but it didn't hinder my overall enjoyment. Dead Silence is perfect for fans of Event Horizon, Ghost Ship, The Shinning and Alien!
CW: death, violence, body horror, suicidal thoughts, confinement, mental disorder
4.5 stars rounded up.
I was grabbed from the first chapter and did not want to put this down.
This is a sci-fi horror billed as Titanic (not the movie) meets The Shining.
This is a pretty good comp in my opinion, although I also got some Sixth Sense vibes as well.
I will say that this is a perfect horror for new horror fans, or people who want to get into the horror genre. There were some creepy scenes and huge “what’s even going on?!” moments, but they were spread out throughout the story.
I also really liked the sci-fi elements and the fact that this story was very character-driven along with the mystery of the plot.
I seriously could not be happier to start this new year off with this book! I definitely need to buy this for my collection.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing the E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Holy. Shit. I'm at a loss for words over this. This book has been sitting in my NetGalley TBR for a hot minute and I’ve been anxiously awaiting it the entire time. It did not disappoint but I do wish I had read it sooner.
Dead Silence follows Claire and her team on a sniffer (some sort of small rocket for exploration) in the far reaches of space. When they are done with their assignment and about to return, they pick up on a faint distress signal. Claire, who will be essentially deemed insignificant to the space exploration company she works for at the end of this mission, says that it is their responsibility to investigate. They go off track and find the Aurora—society’s only attempt at a luxury space-liner that disappeared during its maiden voyage 20 years prior. Everyone on board was presumed dead as the ship was never found. Will Claire and her team be able to give everyone answers to this mystery? Or were the causes of death on board more nefarious than they once assumed?
I could not put this book down. I was in love with all of the characters and desperately anxious to see how the plot was going to be resolved. I will admit—it did not end up going anywhere near I thought it would. That being said, I still enjoyed it tremendously despite my preconceived notions. I cannot wait to see if S. A. Barnes writes anything else like this. I also think this would make a fabulous movie. 5/5 shining stars.
**Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC copy in exchange for an honest review!
I don't even know where to start with this review because my mind is still so blown away by this story.
I loved it!
The characters, so beautiful and not perfect but also perfectly perfect. I do wish we got a bit more backstory on some of them but oh well.
The freaking inside of the Aurora and the creepy spine tingling feelings and the descriptions of everything especially that "mobile" scene. Oh my gawd. So creepy and atmospheric and lovely at the same time.
Not a perfect ending but it's a horror sci fi so I mean, it's only meant to be.
I now need a prequel from the aurora passengers perspective k thanks.