Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world.
When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives.
A stunning, claustrophobic, "whodunit" murder mystery, Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) is the eighth novel by father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan. Included is a commentary by Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson on the unique aspects of Deaf culture the story covers. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are currently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear.
New Zealand novelist and screenwriter Lance Morcan is a prolific author with more than 30 published fiction and non-fiction books to his credit as well as several screenplay adaptations of his work. A former journalist and newspaper editor, he regularly writes in collaboration with his son James Morcan, and their books are published by Sterling Gate Books.
The Morcans’ production entity Morcan Motion Pictures has a number of feature films in early development, including adaptations of Silent Fear, Into the Americas and White Spirit. It is also developing Underground Knowledge into a TV series.
Lance is currently editing his solo-written, historical adventure, New Zealand: A Novel, an epic spanning 500 years of South Pacific and Polynesian history. Including research, writing and life's distractions, this novel has been two decades in the making.
The Morcans' books have been translated into eight languages (Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, French, Afrikaans, German).
Excellent, Very Suspenseful Thriller During A National Emergency And Killing Spree
A great thriller as students of a Deaf Institute are quarantined in their school when an outbreak of 'Monkey Flu' is found in student! The students show fear, confusion and soon results of isolation as everyone present at the time is locked into the facility! One such person is Detective Valerie Crowther, there to investigate the murder of one of the students. As her investigation continues more people come down with the deadly flu, and the killer continues his attacks! A thoroughly enjoyable thriller with many twists and turns, while you feel the fear in students who have no hearing, making it harder for them to grasp all happening around them.
The premise of this book alone is extremely enticing and original, which means my expectations were high from the start, but boy, do the authors deliver!
There are three main facets to this story:
1) It is a whodunnit mystery thriller, where the main protagonist, detective Valerie Crowther tries to track down a serial killer who’s targetting deaf students at a world-renowned university.
2) There is a worldwide virus known as Monkey Flu which is killing hundreds of thousands of people. The U.K has escaped the epidemic until there is a breakout at the very uni Crowther is conducting her investigations, so the school soon becomes quarantined and shut off from the outside world.
3) The story is a great insight into the deaf community.
Combining these three facets makes for an exciting and interesting read. At first, I was a little cautious at embarking on an 800 page story, but I needn’t have worried. It doesn’t feel like a long book at all, and the authors are so adept at breaking up the scenes and the various tangents, and pacing it so well, that I didn’t feel like I was reading a mammoth book at all. I’d thought it would probably take me a couple of months to get through it, but I raced through this in a week. Like all clever and well written thrillers, there are enough cliff-hanging chapters and side stories which made me think I’d just read one more chapter and then before I knew it, I’d read another fifty pages. So don’t let the length of this book put you off at all – it’s exactly the right length that the book needs to be – especially when it’s effectively combining two stories in one (the outbreak of the virus and the whodunnit mystery).
It’s superbly written, and there are plenty of red herrings and clues throughout to make you try to guess who the killer is, only for you to then completely change your mind a few pages later.
There are also plenty of other side stories going on, such as – unexpectedly - Satanic rituals, and the personal stories of the characters. And man, for a book with so many characters (as there needs to be), the authors make it such an easy read to follow who’s who and to have such solid, well-rounded, believeable characters. There are the students – who are a vast array of different types, including some punkish ruffians, there’s the main protagonist Crowther; and her Superintendent ex husband on the outside, there are two news reporters who have bluffed their way into the school and who soon find themselves being quarantined with the rest and becoming the eyes and ears of the media, there are… so many engaging characters with their own stories – and they are all effortlessly portrayed well throughout.
Even the opening scene in the prologue is exceptionally brilliant – it feels like a classic scene from a classic film: where the killer is taking care in bricklaying a wall to conceal his first victim behind it. The attention the killer has to using three parts sand, one part cement and the skill of angling his trowel, with little thought towards the fact that he’s just killed someone in cold blood, is the perfect introduction to a disturbed psychopathic mind. Not to mention that he also then masturbates upon finishing the job. And knowing that this book is going to be made into a film, I can already see that scene being chillingly played out as clear as mud.
No way will you figure out who the killer is, but you’ll enjoy trying to figure it out. I can guarantee it.
This is such a meaty book, that I could go on for another thousand words detailing just how well it’s all been put together and how well it’s been written, but this review is already turning out to be a long one, so I’ll leave it on this point:
Not only is this a great epidemic-sci-fi and mystery thriller, it’s also a fantastic insight into the deaf community, and it’s very apparent how much research has gone into this book. Reading the afterword from the authors’ consultant makes this clear, and it’s good to know that the writers have gone to lengths to show a very realistic portrayal of that community. Forget the whodunnit and epidemic stories, this book works just as well at being a much needed insight for hearing people into a community we may not know much, or anything, about. As their liaison Brent Macpherson says in the afterword:
“Silent Fear is one of the few mainstream novels to address the unique challenges faced by members of the Deaf community in any great detail. As a member of that community, and as someone who has been Deaf since birth, I believe this book is an important addition to the dearth of literature that exists about Deaf people and Deaf culture.”
I read an advanced review copy of Silent Fear provided to me by the publisher. This was a thrilling and captivating novel. Suspenseful, full of twists and engaging from start to finish. Also love how the authors have written about the deaf community as they are an underrepresented minority in current reading markets.
I absolutely loved the serial killer (who I couldn’t pick the identity of in this “whodunit” novel until the very end). His character is intriguing and gripping from the opening words.
Silent Fear is a stunning, atmospheric murder mystery, with its riveting combination of the claustrophobia of the situation combined with unrelenting fear.
This one really grabbed me! It is by far one of the best thrillers I have read in quite some time! The feeling of isolation is gelatinous as events unfold and questions start to follow every answer - I found myself wondering what I would do if I were in a similar situation (which is one of the ways I know I am getting 'drawn in'). Unlike so many 'formulaic' attempts to scare this is a 'nightmare stew' that will fill you full of dread!
Simply Splendid. There is so much to love about this entertaining and well written Murder Mystery. I quite enjoyed the unique plot, and a few surprises along the way. Lance and James Morcan have written many great novels that I’ve really enjoyed, and ‘Silent Fear’ is right up there as one of my favourites. The deaf students at the university were already scared with the outbreak of the latest virus making its way around the world, which was reportedly very contagious. Then to top it off, there was a killer on the loose that was targeting the deaf students. Luckily for the police force they had a detective that knew sign language, which would be invaluable in questioning the Universities students. Detective Superintendent Valerie Crowther grew up with a deaf mother, and she was quite sort after in the police force for her skills. Valerie was just in the early stages of her investigation, when the Army stepped in to quarantine the University, and stop anyone from entering or leaving. Everyone stuck inside are quite shocked to learn that one of their own has been struck down with the deadly flu. Now Valerie not only had to worry about a serial killer on the loose, but also the real possibility of contracting a flu that could kill her and many others. Hands down this is a wonderful book, and well worth a read. I received an advanced copy of this book from the Publisher for an unbiased review.
First of all a huge thanks to the author of this book who asked me to read it for an honest review.
And second of all...What an intense and thrilling story. From the first page of this book I was hooked. The characters, the predicament they were in, the murder...I enjoyed every minute of it. Detective Valerie Crowler was the hero of this story. She was strong, determined, a force to be reckoned with, but also sympathetic to the deaf community due to the fact that she grew up with a mother that was deaf. She was the heart and soul of the story and everything that happened, really happened around her. The murderer. Omg who was the murderer. It literally could have been anyone and I was happily playing the part of detective trying I figure it out for myself. It was fantastic how it all played out. Most mystery crime stories you can guess who the culprit is but this one had me dumbfounded.
I have to admit that at times I felt like I was reading forever only to have discovered I'd only read 50 pages. It felt like I was getting nowhere. But never did I get upset about it. In fact I loved that it took as long as it did to read. It made the story more real and prolonged. You don't want to finish a real good book in a hours. You want it to last and leave an impression on you for a long time, like this one. It brought about the reality of a deaf community in a hearing world and how hard it is and the similarities of that to someone who only speaks English and finding themselves in a country that speaks a different language. It's hard. And not to mention how difficult it is for the police to find a criminal. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. I admire the work that gets put into being a detective and appreciate the difficulties faced in that career. It was all because of this book that I have my eyes opened that little bit more on a couple more topics now.
Thank you Lance Morcan for giving me this opportunity to review you wonderful book!
*voluntarily and honestly reviewed the ARC I received from the publisher*
This is about a 4.5 for me. It took me a few days to read but I couldn't seem to get enough. I got so hooked that if I was doing something else, I'd think about wanting to get back to that mystery show only to remember that it wasn't a great tv series but a book!
I haven't read many things that involved the deaf community, which is one of the reasons why I find this so fascinating. It was new and offered a different look at a world where hearing people see handicaps but are met with those who don't believe themselves to be disabled. Add a new community with a possible serial killer loose on campus and a pandemic break-out, and you've got one major thrill ride.
The writing was different, interesting. I liked that it touched on everyone and kept a steady pace with enough interesting things to make me feel like I wasn't going to get buried under pages of details. I didn't see the end until a few things popped up but the final ending was a total tear-jerker for me. I almost felt like throwing my kindle for getting put through everything I did only to...
It's a definite recommend for those who love mystery thrillers, and if like trying new things and haven't read anything set in the deaf community, try it out! I think it did a decent job on briefly touching on their daily lives whilst dealing with murders and viruses.
Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) by Lance & James Morcan
Detective Valerie Crowther is investigating the murder of a student at a University for the deaf in London, England. Add to it there is an outbreak of a deadly flu which causes a quarantine. Soon more students end up killed, looking like at the hand of a serial killer. Then detective Valerie becomes a target and her life is in danger.
The story moves at a steady pace, with attention to detail, bringing you into the world of the hearing impaired. It is frightening to hear of murder, but to be deaf, that (to me) enhances the fear. Also knowing this was based on a true event made it even more disturbing. Overall I found Silent Fear to be a fantastic murder/mystery/thriller. I highly recommend to all.
Whoa! What a ride. Excellent book, well constructed, and with brilliant delivery. Great to have a female lead character who is: clever, resourceful, and adaptable. And love requited - or is it? Loved it. The re-romance of the central characters was engaging.
This 'who-done-it' was scattered with clues, and several suspects; but which one? Will you get it right? I firmly recommend you read this bewitching book. Jonno
Silence can be deadly when you do not hear your killer coming behind you. Right out of an Edgar Allan Poe mystery/short story the authors create scene that only two well-seasoned writers can create as we hear the voice and see the movements of a killer who has hidden a corpse behind a wall as he covers it up so methodically, so perfectly with each brick in a specific way and pattern behind the wall it looks seamless using one part cement, three parts sand and how he uses his trowel and positions it at the perfect angle proud of his work, defiant in many ways as he dares anyone to uncover his victim. No remorse, no feelings just killing someone in cold blood and admiring his handiwork. Jamie Lewis is part of the deaf community in a college where his murder is the first that the police are aware of and investigate. Added in we also learn that there is an epidemic the monkey flu that has ravaged many cities, countries and the death toll is rising. Detective Valerie Crowther is the lead in this investigation although her Superintendent ex-husband is her boss and monitors her every move. From the first time we meet her we realize that she is tough, no holes barred and insists that it’s her rules and hers only that everyone must adhere to. Asking for an office to do her work and somewhere to do her interviews she expects everyone from the Chancellor to the lead student who takes her on the tour of the university to understand that she and no one else is running the show. The students in this University and many of the staff members are deaf and when gathering them in one area she explains why she’s there, does not thank anyone for coming and expects them to adhere to her schedule and her method of investigation. While this is happening the Monkey Flu is spreading and too many are dying and for some reason but not for long the U.K. has not had one case as yet as uni Crowther is beginning her interviews and investigation a young college student is in the nurse’s office and being vigilant tests her for the flu and the end result is surprising as the school is now under quarantine. Targeting the deaf community and knowing this story is based on two real life incidents at two other universities makes it even more realistic and brings many messages to light. There are many media people that block entrances and want to get the full story but Surrey News reporter Hillary and her cameraman manage to follow someone else inside and gain some insight to the history of the university by managing to get a story with its founder but not before Hillary the crafty reporter insights the owner and asks if he bankrolls some of the deaf students going to the school. The first scenes with the students and their reaction to the murder are no different than if they were part of the hearing community. Some are profoundly deaf, some us hearing aids while others had cochlear implants that make it easier for them to hear and speak more clearly. Sometimes that can backfire when you think you are fooling others as the two that conned their way in wind up quarantined with the rest. But, that might be to their advantage as they are the only media on the scene. As a student in this school brings the Monkey Flu inside as the first person in England in this Deaf University in South Kensington. Students, staff and all lecturers want to continue on with classes but no one allowed in or out including the police. Many obstacles come her way but Chancellor Ron Fairbrother helps her inside the walls of the school. Facing many angry parents, students that are frustrated, scared and just wants their lives back to normalcy, he is tested to the nth degree as his emotions change and the energy is electric and charged. Dealing with parents, students and even the Prime Minister who is has her own take and will not budge just wanting the killer found. Chief Superintendent Mark Bennett is her ex-husband who although she is running the case he wants to be informed every step of the way but higher ups did not want her to be the lead but she is the only one that can do sign language and communicate with the deaf students and staff. Todd Rivers the lead student seems to have taken an unusual interest in Valerie in more ways than one. Bennett seems to feel that the case is closed when the evidence apparently pointed to the caregiver but that theory was short lived as he was found dead by hanging. The killer is methodical and when a student named Dale decides to take an early morning swim because he is deaf and does not hear anyone enter the pool area nor does he see his killer until it’s too late. Found by one of the female students it leaves the staff, the student body and visitors who are quarantined because of the Monkey Flu outbreak fearing for their own lives. While Nurse Simons cares for all of the ill with little assistance from anyone, the killer Valerie realizes is hiding in the university in plain sight. Hillary and Kent the two reporters managed to get pumped up to BBC to do their stories and they are relentless in taking advantage of being the only media on site for this story. Not caring about anything or anyone’s feelings or protocol, Hillary reports the death of Dale even before his parents learn about it and she even manages to video the patients that are in sick bay. To her it’s all about the story, the glory and fame. Valerie is now on her own and has to solve another murder and do the autopsy hoping that she can come up with something to help the guys back at her station learn more about Dale’s death. At the forefront is the epidemic and the fact that the school has been bubble wrapped with no one coming in or out and supplies might be dwindling. The nurse now has the job of testing those that come down with the flu and dealing with deaths, wearing a Hazmat suit and hoping that the Chancellor can convince the Prime Minister to lift the quarantine and let the healthy people leave before everyone comes down with the flu. At the core is also the fact that Valerie and most of the students are able to understand British Sign Language and sign using BSL. With no air conditioning, no fans and high temperatures, more than the heat will rise as tempers flare, arguments break out and a killer is still on the loose. The eerie part are the satanic rituals held in secret and led by one of the professors right under the nose of everyone but not seen. Things spiral even more out of control when several difficult students decide to break out of the school when they see that there is a break in one of the windows. But, before they can even get near it one of the Indian students breaks out and what happens as a result is tragic. Valerie reflects upon what is happening while several staff members assist the nurse but one seems fixated on something totally inappropriate and the students seem to be having social issues of their own. The gang within this school takes over whenever they enter a common room and you begin to wonder if the Monkey Flu and the killer are the only two deadly elements that this university has to be concerned with. As the Chancellor tries to stay calm and the staff tries to keep it together you can feel the tension the authors created and you wonder what’s next? At times Valerie finds herself at the mercy of three thugs but the scene that ensues in her room when they try to take her down is right out of a CSI episode letting the bad guys know never to mess with the cop. Taken down to the basement and placed under arrest this was far from the end of what would tragically take the college personnel, the community, the deaf community, teachers, lecturers, guards and remaining staff to a different level of fear and in some cases compassion. Mark Bennett realizes that drastic measures need to be taken as the killer’s voice is prominent and heard when Katherine Lee and Lucas are the next victims. Katherine and Troy were lovers in a unique sense of the word because the last time you see her and realize the photos she’s showing the reader your opinion of her will change and Troy does not come out with knight in shining armor either. Despite everything and the murders Hillary and Kent do not miss a chance to broadcast live but when the bodies of those that succumbed to the Monkey Flu are about to be disposed of the insensitivity of both of them shines through. Nurse Simons has rallied around all of the patients but sometimes good people suffer for the cause as you will learn. Wally Hynds has the job of figuring out why the CCTV cameras are tampered with and are always down while the killer views everything from an unusual vantage point and more deaths are in the future of everyone quarantined. Volunteer guards like Sean Mcllvoy walked the halls to check on those that are there while Bennett and one other manages to do the impossible when learning more about the one place he might be able to enter the school when he learns that Valerie is now a victim of the killer and before she dies he won’t stop at anything to save her but will it be in time? Just who is the killer and what is the motive? When someone close to the school dies the hidden truth comes out that will shock readers as to how far someone will go to eliminate four others, the reason and the prize at the end of the proverbial rainbow of death. Greed, power, lust, satanic rituals, erotic interludes, unprofessional behavior, fear, students that rally round each other for support, protests to free the quarantined and one Chancellor who does not give up until the final scene is played out and you won’t believe the ending. This story presents research through Hillary and the nurse about the Monkey Flu, the causes and how it spreads but mostly it shows the important of understanding the deaf community and their strengths and how the school tried to improve their abilities to communicate in a hearing world. Authors Lance and James Morcan bring all of the issues to light. The ending will allow readers to know that sometimes harsh realities express the true meaning of what the authors created in this outstanding novel which includes hope and the will to survive. Life, Death, Hearing vs. non-hearing: Silent Fear: The hearing within the novel lived their own private silent war within themselves hoping to survive while the deaf lived it too. Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine.
Silent Fear: A Novel Inspired by True Crimes is by Lance and James Morcan. I had an advanced Review Copy from James. This book is a suspense that deals with the deaf and deaf community as well as murder and an outbreak of a terrible disease for which there is no vaccine. It is set in a school for the deaf in London. The book is definitely worth reading. It draws you into the story until you can’t put the book down. The characters are very realistic and are described so well, they take root in your mind and become alive. The plot has so many twists and turns. Just as you think you have it figured out, they throw another twist in which sets you off in a different direction. Detective Superintendent Valerie Crowthers was called to Wandsworth University for the Deaf to investigate the murder of Jamie Lewis, a deaf student. She was called to the scene specifically because she knew and used sign language on a daily basis. Her Mother was deaf. She was also one of their best investigators. Her boss, Chief Superintendent Mark Bennett, knew she would do a good job on the investigation. He would be questioned on his choosing her because they had been married but were now divorced. Valerie set out to find the murderer as quickly as possible. Shortly after her arrival on the scene, one of the girls was diagnosed with Monkey Flu. This flu hit worldwide and was said to be more viral that the Spanish Flu was. It wasn’t in the UK before because the UK shut its borders and allowed no one in nor out. When Carol was diagnosed, the Prime Minister ordered Wandsworth to be quarantined. Everyone in the building at that time would stay. The windows were boarded up and the entire residential building was wrapped in cellophane. Then due to the airborne quality of the disease, the air conditioning was turned off despite record breaking high temperatures. Valerie has her work cut out for her. The book is excellent. The writing is brilliant and the structure is unbelievably realistic. Once you start reading, it becomes impossible to put it down. I found myself staying up all night just to finish the book. If possible, I would give this book ten stars. It is spellbinding.
To start, the cover art played a significant part in leading me to read this. I had a hard time forming an impression of what it was attempting to convey and even now, after having completed the book, I still have my doubts. The strangeness of the image piqued my curiosity.
As I launched into reading the book I was concerned that it seemed to be too long for a mystery but as I advanced I discovered that there was nothing that seemed to be unduly stretched out or redundant. In the end, I have been satisfied that the length was not at all an issue for this particular work.
I compliment the author on presenting a long string of plot twists and surprises which were a delight to read. I am particularly pleased to have gained some insight into the world of the Deaf and believe that it would be fascinating to read more about this world.
I agree with the spokesman for the Deaf community who wrote in the included afterword, that the term as it is used throughout this work should have been capitalized, just as we capitalize languages such as English, religions (Christians), and professions (Accountants).
I didn't realize how long this book was, not until I reached almost 80 chapters and saw that it's still a long way to go. That's how engrossed I was in the story. The premise of the story is unique and it kept me on edge since the beginning of the book with murder, deadly flu virus and a bunch of other things happening within the university. I was quickly attached to the characters as well. The end of the story is quite satisfying and a bit unexpected. You'll never guess who the killer was until last few chapters. I was sad that some of the best characters were gone by the end but it is still a great story.
‘He knew he’d need to kill again. And soon. He had to experience those wonderful feelings again.’
New Zealand novelist and screenwriter Lance Morcan is a former journalist and newspaper editor with twenty published books to his credit. He regularly writes in collaboration with his son James Morcan, an actor, writer, podcast host and producer who resides in Sydney, Australia. Together they have published eight novels as a team.
According to the authors, ‘This novel was inspired by the murders of Deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world's most prestigious learning institutions for the Deaf, between 1980 and the early 2000's. The investigating authorities didn't know if the killings were 'inside jobs' and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion.’
The quality of prose is excellent in this thriller – likely attributable in part to the authors’ experience with creating film both in storyline and acting. So often the tenor of a novel is distinctly set in a finely honed Prologue, and that is certainly the case here. ‘…Ever so gradually the hole in the brick wall grew smaller as he laid more bricks. Despite what was at stake, he worked at a leisurely pace, all the while thinking. That was something he did a lot these days. Thinking, that is. The hole was now so small he could hardly see the object he was concealing. Only the deceased’s face was visible, covered by the transparent plastic bag he’d used so effectively to cut off the other’s air supply just thirty minutes earlier. He smiled at the memory of the deceased’s final moments. Those last seconds when the young man had recognised his attacker and realised he was about to die. Beautiful…poetry in motion…slow motion. Oh how he loved the exhilarating, orgasmic-like feelings he’d experienced as the life of another was snuffed out. He willingly embraced them as he relived the moment. It was as if the helpless young man before him was still dying. Studying the deceased now, or what he could still see of him at least, he recalled how he’d laughed uproariously just before death came to his victim. The visuals replayed over and over in his mind. He remembered how the veins in the young man’s eyeballs, face and neck appeared to burst as he was deprived of air, and how fragile he’d looked – like a child being tortured. The icing on the cake had been when he’d used his hands to communicate a final message via sign language. He could still see the look on his victim’s face when, seconds before death came, he realised what was being communicated to him. It was a look of total horror, which was somehow more accentuated when viewed through the transparent plastic bag. That had made this killing even more satisfying.’
It is with the same degree of imaginative intensity that his story is revealed, a d as the synopsis describes the plot the book becomes even more inviting – ‘When you can't hear...death comes silently. Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world. When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives.’
A stunning, grisly mystery that pleads to become a film
When this book arrived in the post I was quite shocked, it was one hell of a beast, 700 pages long and quite tall too. I thought this is gonna take me ages to read, but due to the pace of the story and how gripping it was, it turned out to be a pretty quick read.
It’s not often you come across a book featuring the deaf community and even rarer for the story to be based in a school for the deaf. For the last 16 years I’ve worked at a school for the deaf so I was very interested to see how the authors did portraying this unique community. They have done a very good job, there research has been thorough and the advice they got was spot on. I think the only difference between the fictional and real schools is where I work the focus is on speech and not BSL.
The plot is very complex, a virus is spreading across the world, and the only case in Britain is in a school so it gets quarantined…unfortunately there is a serial killer still inside the school. Luckily…or unluckily a detective is also trapped inside. You can see what has happened in the real world has influenced the writing of this book. Ebola outbreaks, Brexit (UK closes its borders to avoid contamination) and a heartless bitch of a PM willing to sacrifice those trapped aboard as well as those in the school. (you all know who that PM is.)
There are a few issues I had with the book which stop it getting 5 stars. For some reason a few bits, especially phrases, got repeated, I’m not sure if that was intentional or just a part of there being two writers but for me it broke the flow of the story. Another issue I had was the writers try too hard to make you think somebody was or wasn’t the killer and I felt a few times that mistakes were made. I had two suspects from very early on and it turned out one of them was the killer. One great thing they got correct was very little in the way of flashbacks, I hate it when you’re getting into a story and everything stops whilst you have to read some boring background….none of that here 😊
All in all this a very good book, one of my top reads for 2017, it is well worth the time to read.
Wow! This is definitely one heavily involved book! Silent Fear is based on a True Crime that took place in Gallaudet University between 1980 and early 2000s. In the book, not only does Detective Valerie Crowther has to deal with solving a series of murders inside London’s university for the deaf, but she ends up quarantined after one of the students falls victim to the Monkey Flu. The good thing is the killer is looked in the school as well. The bad thing is that there are more than 400 suspects that Valerie must weed through.
I felt the characters and the setting really shined. I truly liked Crowther. She’s a strong woman who cares deeply for those around her, whether or not she wants to admit it. She was once married to Chief Superintendent Mark Bennett and as a reader, it was obvious that they really cared for one another. The only thing I didn’t care for was the continuous mentioning that Bennett was Crowther’s ex. I was reminded too many times within the narrative and the dialogue. The supporting characters were interesting and kept the story moving along.
The writing was tight. We’re given a lot of information (more than 400 pages), but keeps you intrigued and wanting more. In fact, I had misplaced my iPad during the course of this reading and after the initial sadness of losing my iPad, I became disappointed that I couldn’t finish the book. I had a PDF copy given to me by the authors, so it wouldn’t have worked on my Kindle. Thankfully, I did find my iPad and sped through the story. I couldn’t put it down.
Packed with drama, suspense, action and surprises lurking around every corner, I definitely think this is worth the read for anyone loving thrillers and/or British crime novels.
I am a huge fan of murder mysteries, and found Silent Fear to be very compelling. Not only was there a sadistic, infuriating murderer on the loose, but a silent killer in the form of an ebola-like virus was wreaking havoc on students, faculty, and various staff & visitors to the University for the Deaf, where this story takes place. I loved the female protagonist, and enjoyed the development of a host of interesting characters throughout the book. But the main reason I was intrigued by the novel had to do with the fact that most of the characters were Deaf. For the last 45 years, I have suffered from Meniere's Syndrome, which rendered me functionally deaf in one ear. Fortunately for me, my other ear works enough that I can hear fairly well. But I've always been intrigued by Sign Language, and Deaf culture. This book was super informative about the different kinds of deafness, the amazing variety of Sign Languages, and a culture and way of life that is in NO WAY a disability! I highly recommend this book!
Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
To put it bluntly (and crudely), the target market for Silent Fear is privileged middle-aged people (mostly men) who have grown up believing everything they watch on television and have little or no idea about any other ethnicity except their own.
Let’s look at the summary. Silent Fear is loosely based on the incidence of 1980 where a 20-year-old freshman student murdered two deaf Gallaudet University students. Drawing on the experiences the students of the deaf university gone through during the murders, the authors wrote a book to pay tribute to the deaf community. The story starts with our killer burying his first victim in the basement and masturbating to his dead body Amidst the investigation, the university is declared a threat and put under quarantine. Amidst those trapped inside the university, we have hot, sexy, eye-turner detective Valerie Crowther, small-scale media reps Kent and hot, sexy, eye-turner Hillary. Did I mention we will get the exact exact count of how many carpet layers and deliverymen and plumbers get stuck inside along with their names? You can now imagine why this book is 700+ pages long. While stuck inside the university, the unfortunate 500-something population faces more murders (did I mention we get the exact count of students and staff and kitchen workers and what not?) How that helped the story is beyond me. Soon, hot, sexy, (did I mention she’s an eye-turner?) detective Valerie (did I also mention we get an introduction to her full name, her qualifications, her physique every time her name comes up?) finds herself trying to catch a murderer who leaves behind no clues with each murder. The clock is ticking
Let’s get a synopsis of every character in the book:
The Deaf You would think a book which is a tribute to the deaf would have them do something else besides eat or sleep or use BSL. I mean, it's supposed to make them shine , right? But no. We do not get a deaf hero, we do not see them fulfilling any important roles and the book is mostly about how they live and how their life contrasts with ours. But why? What's the point of that if it doesn't make me say "wow, this is really cool"???
Monkey Flu I’m calling this a character because it well could have been. While the authors went to extreme trouble to understand the mechanism of viruses, how they become deadly and explained in (at least 15 paragraphs) how they work, I still have plenty of issues with the disease. Firstly, if it’s so deadly and let’s say it has spread EVERYWHERE except Britain, logically, the number of deaths should have been much more than a couple of thousands (which was the claim up until 60% mark of the book). That’s a couple of thousands out of billions and that too after the authors state there are “mass burials” happening everywhere in the world and being broadcasted on television. Also, I call bullshit on it never making it into Britain only because the borders were sealed and flights were halted (don’t even get me STARTED on how absurd that is. That’s MILLIONS stuck outside the country and NO ONE protests? How did they stop EVERY SINGLE flight and closed all borders? Just…). Let’s say the people WERE stuck, nobody bribed anyone to come back? No one was connected to the higher ups in the government? The virus was present solely inside a girl who had previously gone abroad? Out of literally MILLIONS? My head hurts
The Quarantine Also calling this a character because it was. An annoying, dirty-minded, shit-fucked one. Imagine the worst, irritating characters from Gone Girl, Kill Bill, Breaking Bad, Fucking Thanos, and you have this. Yea, somebody watched Quarantine the movie and realllly liked the boarding up the building scene at the end. I call this plagiarism. So the military realized a student has the Monkey Flu and decides to put the university under quarantine. We’re not talking an apartment building like the one in the discounted movie. We’re talking a giant university and you tell me they easily got everyone inside, boarded up EVERY single window (using planks) and then plastic wrapped the building? Is this a cake?
Why did no one try to run? How can one of the most prestigious and “modern” universities in the world not have multiple buildings, entrances and gates? How did they round up everyone from the supposedly vast grounds INTO the building? I could rant about the quarantine alone for 5 pages but since I don’t want to exceed the word limit, let’s move on.
Valerie Crowther Our Detective was previously married to the current Chief Inspector and is hot and sexy and did I mention an eye-turner? She got even them deaf students gesturing about her ass, man. She that hot. If you think this is where the sexism ends, I would like to say you WISH. First of all, the authors REALLY wanted us to know she’s hot. Secondly, they REALLY wanted us to know she’s the Chief’s ex-wife. I’m talking repeat-it-on-every-damn-page-make-you-pull-your-hair-out type of mentioning. And to make matters worse, every couple of moments she’s either showering or exercising or fucking standing in front of the fan fanning herself. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was a discount porn novel. And I’ll prove that point later on too. I didn’t ESPECIALLY have an issue with the blatant mentioning of her figure until it was all she was about. She encounters a guy gang (we will come to that later too) and that’s portrayed as something sexy. She fights the said guy gang and suffers a couple of injuries and of course, it makes her sexy. She’s fucking holding a gun and we can see she’s sexy. There is SO MUCH focus on showing her as this every-man’s-wet-wild-hotshot-cop-dream that the authors forgot she’s supposed to be a detective. Up until the 75% mark of the book, our dear Valerie goes around looking hot and chatting and missing her ex. We get a glimpse of her childhood, we find out her and we see that she’s bored and tired. But heaven knows where the investigation was. To make matters worse (read “add fuel to the already burning fire in my mind”) our “very sexy” heroine ends up getting rescued by her ex-husband not once but TWICE. The same heroine who is supposed to be strong and trained and whatnot because don’t we all love a knight in shining armour story and don’t we all just REFUSE to want a strong heroine for once who can fucking EXIST without a man. Am I asking for too much here? Does nobody else want strong heroines?
Kent and Hillary If the quarantine was annoying, let’s just say these two were the bane of this novel’s fucking existence. I realize media reps are ruthless and heartless. But to be this unethical and unjust and horrid and be appreciated is blatant blasphemy. That’s like saying “fuck you, we support the cruel shits” to the innocent public. Let’s see a few examples: 1) Bullying the fucking Wandsworth Founder on his death bed “Just doing my bloody job,” a defensive Hillary said That ain’t your job, sweetie 2) Filming Monkey Flu patients without any regard for the sick. “Don’t dare stop filming!” Hillary hissed. Yes, her mother would be thrilled to watch her daughter practically dying on national television. 3) Filming patients getting burned in the incinerator when the university freezes are out of capacity. 4) Filming the and then unabashedly hiding the filming’s copy from Valerie so they can air it on television Kent said as he slipped his hand into his trouser pocket and pulled out a spare flash drive. “Always keep a backup,” he smirked. 5) Watching Valerie get beat up and filming her while doing so without thinking of stepping in. “I guess we wanted to see if you had any more tricks up your sleeve…” Or you would rather watch someone die than help? Lastly, did I mention Hillary is petite and hot and attractive? And is considered just as “strong” as Valerie? I am SICK of a female’s attractiveness being used as the only plus point she can fucking have in her fucking life. And to make matters more cheesy (read out of plot), of course Kent and Hillary start a sexual rendezvous. Of course, they fall in love. Of course, half of their actions earn them “brownie points” from their fellow “inmates”. And of course, we never address how fucking unethical and inhumane the two were because fuck humanity, right?
The Murderer As my read list would indicate, serial murder thrillers have always been one of my favourites. So this is a first that a murderer not only failed to impress me, but also was so limited to his dick that he makes the book a fucking chore to read. The sadistic intruder was soon groaning with pleasure, and he came quickly. Much as he wanted to, he couldn’t hang around to pleasure himself Here, in the privacy of his little sanctuary, he could pleasure himself at his leisure
I admit a discount Stephen King villain is very attractive to put in your book, but from my viewpoint, a villain isn’t supposed to be just masturbating. Where is the thrill when all I get is how he is just jerking off every three seconds? There was no villain in the book. Just a sex addict. Oh and the murders? Yea…there were only two till about 70% of the book
Where them serial killers at, bruh? And then we get a measly third murder and that’s it. I guess it was more important to speak about the other issues in the book
The Sexism Continues Examples: She was blonde South African beauty Liezel Kloss, a part-time model who had a reputation for being rather free and loose with her favours I would like to mention some men are quite sexually fluid too but do we call them “free” in the book? Even when one is a professor preying on girls at least a decade his junior? No no. That’s just him being “sexually active”. he recalled she’d recently turned seventy – and despite her small, trim frame O we don’t spare the grannies either She cut an impressive figure in the tight-fitting, lightweight tracksuit pants and matching singlet Don’t even… females were a second class minority on the force, and pretty females were considered fair game by the dominant males And Despite her good looks, Valerie was only mildly aware of her attraction to members of the opposite sex THIS after she “notices” she’s being leered at about twenty fucking times using pretty Chinese student Katherine Lee as her model And about fifty more
The Big Issue Yea…let me just cool down a second. Going back to what I said at the start, imagine someone who takes all his/her info from television. I am talking all information. And then that person recycles said information and puts it in his/her book. And we have this plot right here. Let’s start with the blatant display of ignorance. Mister Lee had taken the news of his daughter’s death with typical Chinese stoicism I know the Chinese are rumoured to be “stoic” and “upright” but it isn’t something you can outright say in a book and be all like “O that’s how I see them on television.” That’s just wrong
Valerie couldn’t help but notice Mustafa’s room and furnishings were adorned with Islamic symbols. Some were quite militant, leaving the detective in no doubt as to their underlying message.
A thorough search turned up nothing unusual apart from the array of militant Islamic posters, reading material and symbols the Saudi apparently treasured.
Let me just stop you RIGHT THERE. First of all, as a Muslim who has been sufficiently exposed to the terrorism happening in a few Islamic states, I got NO IDEA what in Heaven’s name are “militant materials” or “symbols”. Second of all, also as a Muslim who has studied in a university, I can safely tell you any of these “militant symbols” are not only ILLEGAL but NOT ALLOWED inside any educational institution. And to think the author wants such “symbols” to be in a university in BRITAIN, the so-called very careful state, tells me he got no idea how universities (or countries or STATES) operate and just wanted to add some “dramatized” shiz to make his book appear cooler. Well, let me tell you, not only is this a farcical part of the book, it is also highly insulting to the Muslim community, the otherwise NOT terrorist Islamic states (which is about MOST of them) and the general population who knows stuff you see on TV about so-called “Muslim terrorists” is mostly exaggerated and entirely racist.
sari-clad Priyanka Patel, the emotional Indian student Valerie had observed communicating with her parents via a video interpreter relay service, was signing hysterically to a group of female students First of all, Indian women, especially young females, do not wear sari even INSIDE India, let alone a foreign university (I know because I asked). Second of all, 500-something students and we have a supposedly extremist Muslim and a single claustrophobic Indian while the rest are normal? Hmmm…what do I sense here? Third of all, this? As a final insult, her sari had ridden up, exposing her thighs and buttocks for all the world to see. Not appreciated. Three murders, two of them males, and we get nude scenes only from the females? What is this, some dead women fetish? How about you peruse my quotes and realize a certain race is altogether missing from the prominent mentions (except from a HOT African FEMALE) because…?
Amongst the male students, quite a few tattoos, piercings and unusual hairstyles were on display, including a sprinkling of shaven heads, dreadlocks and even a couple of Mohawk cuts. Equally outlandish fashion accessories amongst the females, including Goth and emo makeup, hippy-style clothing… I understand that there are a lot of television shows and news reports that show all gangsters have Mohawks and tattoos and are likely to revolt. But this book took this to a whole new level. First of all, the author clearly stereotyped (becoming a regular word in my review but sorry, only way to describe it) by showing this gang in an extremely negative light. While this would be appropriate in 1980s or 1990s, I understand it’s 2018, nearly everyone with an open mind has a tattoo and a lot of people dye their hair with eccentric colour. People also get piercings. But does that make them gang members? If that doesn’t drive the nail home, consider that the only rebellious students in the university are of course these couple of kids. And of course, they lead a revolt. And of course, they are as the author called it, given to using “obscenities”. If an Indian’s heritage or a Muslim’s habits or a female’s appearance is so heavily stigmatized, do I believe the description of how this virus came to be or how the government is concerned about the masses’ well-being? Nope.
The Plot Moving on to the last leg of the review, I’d like to say I’m all for murder plots with thickening tension and a couple of issues going on side by side. But this plot was pregnant with about a dozen side-by-side storylines.
1. A Satanic Cult What would be obvious, however, was the assembled were practising the dark arts of the occult.
2. Depraved Professor depicting the latest occult ceremony Clisser presided over Yep, Clisser’s video appears in Valerie’s phone (through we have no clue what means and nor is this addressed in the book) in which he is using Katherine as his sex-slave/pet and having his fellow occult members fuck her. After this, you would think the university would have expelled and sued him for tarnishing the university’s image. But he is happily embraced I can’t even…
3. BDSM BDSM sells. BDSM would make it seem like the book is very “modern” and “open” and “2018-ish”. I don’t know which thought went through the publisher’s mind but all were wrong. She bent down and prized the board away to reveal it hid a variety of BDSM or bondage and discipline items Highly frowned upon in most educational institutes, btw Scores of females stared out at her from the screen, many of them in highly compromising positions. “Katherine was my slave,” the student finally admitted. “The bitch enjoyed it when I left scars on her... like a branded slave.” P.S That’s Troy, the Head Boy’s, room. But do we see him facing any legal action? Nope. Why? Because his “activities” were just there to supposedly “make the plot spicy”. Bland. It was fucking bland. O also? Pretty sure satanic practises are ILLEGAL in most universities. And BDSM activies.
Overall, the plot dragged on and on. You get routine life of all students, what’s in the menu, who is fucking who, which student died when of the flu etc. In my opinion, a lot of this mundane stuff can be cut down to leave the actual “thriller” stuff one expects from these books. On top of that, the Monkey Flu? Yeaa…a thumbs down from me. It’s pointless, it’s just there for the benefit of putting 500 people in a building and it doesn’t add to the plot, save for the times there’s news of how many people died from it. I know the book has been prolonged to chop it down enough for a script for the upcoming movie. But do I wanna know how many staff members are there who is in what cult when all I want is some bloody, tortuous murder and a dark storyline? Nope. The ending was just meh. Bennett, who fucking withheld crucial people saving information for about three-fucking-hundred pages, .
I received an ARC from the authors for an honest review. At first, when I opened the book my heart dropped when I saw the number of pages waiting for me. A daunting task when you have a full program but after reading the book I can honestly say that I was well informed and entertained. With their fluent writing style the book captivated me from page one, and at the end the number of pages became irrelevant and I was lost in the story. Since the very first book I have read from their pen I can honestly say that they are one of my favourite writers. All the genres in fiction I love: spy, romance, thriller, suspense, history and a few more, they capture in one book without any difficulty. Silent Fear is no exception. Silent fear, a very appropriate name for this book, did not disappoint and I had a great time reading until the late hours of the night. The story itself was very well planned and executed making it easy to follow while persistently growing to a striking finale. Each character was continually evolving as a person making it believable and realistic. Some, I couldn’t stand at first but as the story continue they grow on you as well. Even the villain had his good qualities – and since it wasn’t mentioned in the book: Eddie was correct in his assessment of the killer. Who is Eddie? Read the book to find out… LOL 501 people were placed in quarantine because of the Monkey Flu epidemic that went viral all across the globe. The first affected person in England was found in a Deaf University, South Kensington, and shut down was a sure thing. Students, lecturers, staff and people that was unfortunate to be in the Uni on that day plus one detective were barricaded inside the 6 storey building. Add a serial killer – the reason for the detective – and a heatwave to the mix and you have a live hurricane that left nothing standing: figuratively speaking. The story is based on true events that happened in the early 1980’s in a Deaf community and the authors created their own version and setting to bring us this wonderful book. At the conclusion the authors gave us their reason why they have chosen England as the desired location and I must agree with the setting. England, with their gloomy weather, rich history and old buildings does give stories a mysterious feel that you struggle to find anywhere else. Reading other reviews from deaf people I can understand why this story was so captivating. The authors did a thorough study to capture the hearing-impaired’s difficulties. The fact that hearing people are suddenly on their playing field could you sense the frustrations of both parties as they try to cope during this turmoil. They had to find a mutual ground and understand each other in order to co-exist for the duration of the outbreak. This bring me to the detective which I felt was the bridge between the two worlds. Her character brought the two worlds together making it thought-provoking. Since there are so many characters within the story I am only going to highlight a few.
First Class Detective Superintendent Valerie Crowther was a no-nonsense Scotland Yard cop fluent in British Sign Language. The ideal person for the job. As a woman she was severely tested, proofing to every person involved that she was more than capable to do the work. With a heatwave that send the temperature up to 39ᵒC, with no working air-cons inside which raised the temperature inside the Uni to more than 40 Degrees. Add the growing tension of a serial killer on the loose and the H7N7 virus on the prowl for its next victim the temperature was 50 degrees going to 100. A boiling pot that she had to manage as best she could. During the entire ordeal she had to cope with difficult lecturers and students alike and be depended on people. Amidst it all she had to face a mother’s depression, an ex-husband, her immediate boss, and the occult plus nosy reporters. These two tested her patience to the max. Between all the deaths surrounding her she kept her focus and levelheadedness. Even during her own abduction she remained calm, her emotions always in control while tension was growing around her. Her pain and fears elevated her sense of survival and she stayed true to herself. My admiration and respect for this woman grew with each obstacle she had to face. She was thrown in at the deep end and persevered. Her strength and agility a true testimony of her persona. Chancellor Ron Fairbrother’s was her biggest support inside the 4 walls of the Uni. His character was equally tested and he advanced from an arrogant man to an endearing man. He had to face a lot of changes within his territory and you could sense his emotional turmoil within. He had to deal with angry students and parents to a steadfast Prime Minister, not willing to budge. Chief Superintendent Mark Bennett and ex-husband of the pretty detective had his own difficulties to overcome. Because it was such a high priority case he was rebuked for using his ex-wife as the head detective. Not that he had a choice when she was barricaded into the Uni with 500 other people. She was elected to investigate a murder which became more than he would have thought off in the beginning. His character, too, grew immensely within the pages while still staying in control of the entire investigation. When he did the unexpected to find Valerie when she disappeared you get to learn to know the man really well. A true hero that is worthy of his position. Nurse Simmons was another character I have to highlight. This woman was the real superwoman throughout the story. Her calm conduct made her the perfect person for the job of fighting the virus with the little she had. She brook no arguments, and her word was law. She had to organise the entire epidemic. From nursing the sick, to testing, the ever growing problem of beds and cremation of the infected bodies while wearing a hazmat suit. With the ever growing patient list she stood out like a beacon and she is worthy of knighthood, for sure. Then we have the villain. Hatred and greed was the two biggest motivations for this monster. I was surprised to learn who he was. Nowhere, throughout the book, the authors gave away the culprit’s identity. They simply kept your attention with the craftiness of the killer building the suspense from the prologue to the closing. He was a clever bastard that kept you guessing right to the end. Again, buy the book… you will not be sorry you did.
I wanted to read Silent Fear because it is based in a Deaf university. I am a teacher of the Deaf and look for literature that accurately depicts Deaf characters in Deaf culture.
This book was also a thriller and that is a genre I am drawn in by. With a serial killer AND a flu quarantine it makes for a lot happening.
The characters in this story weren't the type I would fall in love with and be rooting for throughout the book. Most seemed to have issues and that added to the suspense. I had read a review that said the reader was completely thrown off guard by the outcome of this book. With that in mind I started looking more deeply at the characters and had it all figured out minus the very final twist that you can't see coming. It made for good reading.
I have recommended and will continue to recommend this book to others. It was worth reading.
What is it like to live in a Silent World. Where death can creep up on you unheard?
Lance and James Morcan have once more taken a subject they believe in passionately, and those of us with hearing take for granted. Bringing to life a world of silence we cannot begin to comprehend. A serial killer on the loose in a University quarantined and locked down from a viral outbreak. The UK borders closed, they are on their own. I particularly liked the portrayal of the deaf students, who are shown to experience the same fears, sorrows, joys, depressions and behaviour of any young adult. The frustrations between the hearing and the hearing impaired brought a new dimension to a murder mystery. This gave me greater insight into the world of the deaf and I take my hat off to Lance and James for the enormous amount of research that has gone into this book.