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Dead Silence

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Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a 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 at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner 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 trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

343 pages, Hardcover

First published February 8, 2022

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About the author

S.A. Barnes

2 books670 followers
S.A. BARNES works in a high school library by day, recommending reads, talking with students, and removing the occasional forgotten cheese stick as bookmark. Barnes has published numerous novels across different genres under the pen name Stacey Kade. She lives in Illinois with more dogs and books than is advisable and a very patient husband.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,340 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,776 followers
May 17, 2023

Claire Kovalik, and her crew of communication beacon repair specialists, are out at the very edge of the system on their final mission together, when they pick up an odd distress signal coming from outside of 'civilized' space.

They're surprised to find that the signal is being sent from the famous luxury liner, Aurora, missing since its maiden voyage more than 20-years ago.

Without much to lose, they collectively decide to investigate.

After all, being able to make a salvage claim on such a luxurious and famous ship could literally change all of their lives for the better. Maybe Claire would finally be able to start her own business. She needs this.

Admittedly, it's dangerous. A huge risk, but no risk, no reward. Boarding the ship, it quickly becomes evident that something had gone horribly wrong aboard the Aurora.

Trying to piece it all together, while also trying to figure out how best to prove their claim, Claire and her crew struggle. It's hard to determine what is real and what is not. They are hearing things, seeing things; it is disturbing to say the least.

Some major decisions need to be made. They need to get out of there, but is the Aurora herself sabotaging them?

Y'all, I had so much fun reading Dead Silence. I definitely recommend it to any SF Horror fans.

Barnes dealt up everything that was promised in the publisher's synopsis. We love to see it. The comp to Titanic and The Shining is quite apt.

I especially loved the Titanic influence. The way the ship was described, as well as the composition of the original passengers. I could just picture Jack and Rose gracing the beautiful main ballroom. The wealth and opulence on full display, just a staircase or two away from the working class.

This story definitely got under my skin. It's cold and dark. There are unexplained things happening. As the characters began to panic, I felt my own heart rate rising as well.

It felt claustrophobic, like there was no safe way out. This is the perfect example of why I would never choose to go to space. Decisions there are so final. One wrong move and it is literally the end of your life. There's no second chances.

The end got a little wild, with the action definitely increasing in the second half. At the end of the day though, I can't imagine this story going any other way.

It was great. Really well imagined and brought to the page. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This story is going to stick with me for a long time!!
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews332 followers
March 11, 2022
Whew, I can finally breathe again. This was a heart pounding crazy ride from start to finish. It kept me guessing up to the reveal what in the hell was the cause of the murderous rampages. I truly did not see it coming. Then to keep trying to figure out what was going with the main character was mind-bending. Was she mentally unbalanced? Effects of the ship? Maybe just an old-fashioned
"I see dead people" issue? The writer did an outstanding job in creating a creepy atmosphere and putting you directly into the story. I wish I could erase my memory and read this one again!! Recommend!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
531 reviews58.5k followers
June 1, 2022
I hadn't read a horror book and a while and... this creeped me out!

All I want from horror books is that and a good ending, which this book had! I hate open ending which for some reason are super common with the genre but this one was satisfying.

My only complaint was the unnecessary romance.

Profile Image for LTJ.
107 reviews40 followers
March 23, 2022
“Dead Silence” by S.A. Barnes ended up being a huge letdown after all the reviews saying how scary it is, creepy, and being dubbed “the ultimate haunted house story in space” by critics. I went into this novel expecting something to completely blow me away as the description was definitely hyping me up with excitement to sit back and read this from start to finish.

Unfortunately, “Dead Silence” is boring, confusing, and failed to be even remotely scary in the grand scheme of things. I did not like any of the characters at all and even the main protagonist, Claire Kovalik, was one of the most annoying characters you can ever ask for in a sci-fi setting like this. I also didn’t like how this felt more like a space romance with all her interactions with Kane that took away from the immersion of treating this as a real horror novel. I feel that all these characters weren’t really developed to make a reader care for what ultimately happens to them as the story progresses.

There is no horror in here at all that made me freak out, be creeped out, or had to spend time trying to envision in my head because it was beyond scary. I’m not sure how anyone would ever say this novel had “unspeakable horror” because everything was rather plain and not really some super scary haunted spaceship or evil ghosts to deliver such horror that it’s overhyped with. The horror aspect of this novel was severely lacking to make up for a rather dull and boring story.

I give “Dead Silence” by S.A. Barnes a 1/5 as even the ending was lame as it kind of gives everything away in the beginning to then have an annoying chapter format to explain what happened in the past with what’s going on currently. Doing the whole “Now” and “Then” angle can work if executed well but here, it gives things away too soon and you end up mulling through this novel just to fill in the pieces with little to no suspense along the way. This novel felt like it was just a mash-up of other horror movies/novels hoping to combine them to deliver a winner and it was nowhere near that in any way, shape, or form.
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
February 8, 2022


how rude am i?

i got an ARC of this book back in august 2021, put off reading it until spooktober 2021, and even though i was so excited to be, as this bookmark declares, one of the first readers of this book, and even though the pub date got moved a whole month back, here i sit on delayed-pub-date-eve and i still haven't reviewed it.

i am the worst.

the worst thing about being the worst is that i LOVED this book, despite my lack of interest in outer space stuff that doesn't involve murderbot, and now i'm worried i'm not going to write a very good review for it because i waited too long and my brain is tired and i'm terrible at everything these days.

this book deserves so much more than me.

but you deserve this book—whether or not you're into outer space stuff. it's a mishmash of sci fi, horror, mystery, psychological suspense, and even some romance, which sounds genre-greedy, but manages to work, somehow.

it's a whizz-bang adventure story about a beacon-repair crew on the tail-end of their final mission, after which machines will take over the work from humans like some futuristic version of the industrial revolution. team leader claire kovalik, our unreliable narrator with a tragic backstory, is not looking forward to this transition at all, so when the opportunity to prolong the mission presents itself, she digs in despite the protestations of some of the members of her crew.

to be fair, it's a pretty exciting opportunity: the discovery of The Aurora; a luxury spacecraft that went missing on its maiden voyage twenty years ago carrying hundreds of passengers—the rich, the famous, and the infamous—whose disappearance became the stuff of legend, speculation, a bermuda-triangle-grade mysteeeeerious phenomenon, and here it is—the chance to make history, solve the mystery, or—for the less noble crew members—fill their pockets with bling.

and what harm could there be in boarding a ship that, despite being top of the line in every way, abruptly and inexplicably went dark and has been floating through places unknown full of whatever's left of whatever fate its passengers met, undisturbed and unprovoked for decades?


it's a locked-room mystery set in a haunted house in outer space, and it's intense, wonderful, surprising, disorienting—there are so many different levels of unreliability to this thing and it is an absolute thrill trying to excavate the truth from claire's slippery heap of memories distorted by hallucination, damage, amnesia, lies, self-preservation, and trauma, and even though i waited a long time to sing its praises, i am singing them as loudly as i can to make up for it.

'cuz dead silence is the loudest silence of all.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews373 followers
March 23, 2022
3/3.5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I thought the plot and action of this book was entertaining and a bit creepy.

The plot in the book would be described like this…

A group of scrappy space workers find a spaceship like the Titanic in space. The spaceship Aurora is very opulent and was made for the rich.
It’s been a hidden mystery with what happened to the Aurora since it disappeared years ago. No one knows why it disappeared or why everyone onboard is dead.

While on a corporate space job, our group of five get an emergency signal and decide to investigate.

Yeah, it’s a very cool concept!

With my love of sci-fi and horror, I had to check this one out. The horror and sci-fi elements in the book were okay.

Where I struggled with the book was in the character department, especially the main character of Claire Kovalik.

If you look up victim blaming in the dictionary, you would find a picture of her.
I got so tired of being in her head and having the constant message of self loathing and being broken as a reminder of what type of person she was.
Ye Gods, take this woman to a counselor!

The other characters were a bit cliché and stereotypical but they didn’t frustrate me as much as Claire.
I thought the constant bickering between the five was a bit much but then I thought,
"I've never been on a spaceship with 4 others for long amounts of time. I'm sure I would be bickering as well!"

Overall, I did enjoy the creepy and tension filled moments while on the ship of Aurora.

The ending was pretty good. It wasn't great but it wasn't bad.
In fact, I kind of liked where S.A. Barnes was trying to go with what happened with Aurora and the mystery of the ghost ship.

One last thing, I think there could have been a bit more on the explanation with the mystery of what happened on Aurora. I feel like I got about 60% on what happened and why.
For all the dumb kids in the back of the room (me!), I think we could have used a bit more information for the ghostly images.
Profile Image for Chloe Gong.
Author 13 books19.5k followers
July 9, 2021
I jumped for this ARC because sci-fi horror = yes, and because this is by the same author who wrote The Ghost and the Goth series! And I love reading authors doing wild genre pivots. Anyhow I ate this book in literally one sitting because I was in the mood to be freaked out and it delivered tremendously. Truly un-put-downable in its purest sense.
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,965 reviews668 followers
January 29, 2023
In 2129, 500 passengers and 150 crew left on the Aurora's maiden voyage for a yearlong solar system cruise. It's a new luxury space travel. Six months into the trip she vanished, with no contact. Now, twenty years later, Claire Kovalik and her team receive a distress signal while in space. They decided to investigate and board the ship...

There's so much potential...argh!! I struggle to finish and I'm throwing in the towel after 8 hours. I can't tolerate the annoying main character or the narrator (did she make it worse?) anymore. I don't even know the rest of the people (or may be didn't care?). There's about 5 hours left to go and I can't imagine I'll enjoy the rest. DNF

Nominee for Best Science Fiction (2022), this sci-fi horror snoozer is not for me. I've seen many glowing reviews so please check them out.
Profile Image for Char.
1,634 reviews1,487 followers
January 29, 2022
Being that I do enjoy a good science fiction book, a hybrid space horror novel is a creation that feels "made for me". DEAD SILENCE was everything I had hoped, plus some!

Claire Kovalic is Team Leader on a small space ship, when they pick up a distress signal. Out in space there aren't many places to get help and when a distress signal is received, it's something that has to be investigated. That is exactly what Claire has her team do. They discover the very first space luxury liner, the Aurora, which has been lost for over twenty years. What happened to this ship? Why has it been lost for so long? Are there artifacts there, or anything that can be salvaged? More importantly, are there any survivors? You'll have to read this to find out!

Claire has a complicated history. Due to events that happened when she was a child, she often does not trust what she is seeing. This contributes to the reader questioning if what Claire is experiencing is real or not. We don't know if this is a case of the mystery surrounding the ship or a case of an unreliable narrator? Her experiences as a child cause Claire to carry around a lot of guilt, and we're never sure if she should feel guilt or not. As a result though, her past affects every decision she makes now, and as Team Leader almost everything is her decision.

I think all of these issues and guilt made Claire a more likable character. She doesn't care much for people and her job in space allows her to avoid most of them. As a Team Leader, which is basically the captain, she is always mindful of the risks, but the Aurora presents some she has never faced before. Dead crew and passengers and the unavoidable feelings of dread affect all of Claire's team, including Claire herself. This story turns into a tale of survival and of mystery-what happened to all of these people? What is happening to Claire and her crew? The answer will definitely surprise you.

All that said, however, I felt the pacing dragged a little bit in the middle, as the reader becomes more and more and more wrapped up in Claire's mind. By the time the action started occurring, I was more than ready and believe me, that action was a lot of gruesome, horror space action FUN!

I had a great time reading DEAD SILENCE. It provided an intriguing mystery as well as suspense and tons of gory action, and what more could you ask from a space horror book? Nothing!

Highly recommended and I' m looking forward to reading more from this author!

*Thanks to Tor Nightfire for the paperback ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
303 reviews4,388 followers
May 20, 2022
Is this a sci-fi thriller ? Sci-fi horror ? Whatever, I loved this !

Claire and crew are on the last leg of their mission in space when they hear a distress beacon and go to check it out. They’ve stumbled across a luxury space cruise line, basically, that went missing 20 years ago. Should they go investigate ? What would they find? What would happen with their jobs if they do? It’s a ride. They obviously go explore the ship and they find … a lot.

I wasn’t expecting this to be my first person POV— in Claire’s mind— but I got used to it pretty quick. I think it worked because seeing only from her perspective really adds to the believability of all that’s going on. I will say that this author did SO GOOD at writing dialogue where the characters were frustrating each other and MY GOD FRUSTRATING ME !!!

This book does have lots of gore and graphic imagery described on page — which I loved. Is that weird to say?

I think my biggest hang ups were the pacing towards the end, I was like - ok, wrap it up- and also that I didn’t really connect with any character. It’s definitely plot focused and while we do get to know about Claire’s past, I never felt close to her, and she often annoyed me.

Overall, really enjoyed this one. Excited to see what S. A Barnes writes next and now I’m in a sci-fi mood.
Profile Image for carol..
1,533 reviews7,858 followers
December 19, 2022
I am a horror pansy. Not my genre. But I am a sucker for chicks-in-space, and after I read more than a few reviews noting Dead Silence was light on the 'horror,' I decided to give it a try:

"My head is throbbing again, a white-hot line of pain from the back of my skull down to the right side of my jaw, and a dead man is signaling me from across the common room. His hand waves frantically in a "come here" gesture, his eyes wild with panic."

I liked it.

A recommendation with caveats, however; I have lasting trauma from the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz, and I still remember jumping during Wait Until Dark when I was a teen, so your mileage will definitely vary.

A small five-person space crew is finishing up a contract and about to head home. For some it'll mean new opportunities, but for the team lead, Claire Kovalik, it'll mean a desk job. When they catch the signal for a distress beacon for Aurora, a long-lost luxury liner, they decide to investigate. Unfortunately, boarding a derelict ship is just like opening the door to a basement; you never known what you'll find, but it's likely there won't be bargains.

The story goes back and forth in time, from the current timeline when Claire is in the Verux Tower talking to two of her company superiors, and two months prior, when she was finishing the job with her team. Titled simply 'Now' and 'Then,' the sections are neatly segregated until they dovetail. We know she survived, because she is here, but Claire is the first to admit she's an unreliable narrator, so everyone is having trouble believing her recollections.

"And the thing is, I realize with a dawning sense of horror, he might be right. I have no way of proving what I remember is accurate. What if my memories--the few I've retained--are wrong? What if I conjured up whole conversations and scenarios? Whole people? It's happened before."

In fact, if I have any complaint, it is that at times the story feels like a cross between an unproductive therapy session and suspense story, with not enough forward momentum on the internal elements. Claire spends a lot of time obsessing over the reality and quality of her thoughts, but interestingly, doesn't seem to have much insight, only repetitive guilt cycles. I had the definite impression that the rest of the crew isn't exactly 100% mentally healthy either, but I'm not sure this is developed as well as it could be. By contrast, Peter Watts does an interesting job looking at the issue of personality disorder and extreme environments in Starfish. Granted, that's a challenge with a self-absorbed narrator; I just note that that can be an element that can bring the psych in psychodrama to the forefront.

"His existence has neat edges, sharp lines, with no shadows or uncertainties."

That said, I enjoyed the character development. Some of the side characters aren't developed very much, but I felt like that was very in keeping with Claire's antisocial personality. Barnes clearly knows the rules of characters; evil is not enough to build tension; an author needs character foils as well. As such, it wasn't a restful novel. I felt like the writing was usually up to the task: focused, atmospheric without being purple.

"Silence holds over the channel in my helmet for a long moment, my harsh, uneven breathing filling all the empty space, drowning out even the noise that might be the engines."

The sci-fi aspects felt space-light and easy to absorb, for those who might be intimidated by spaceships. Set in 2149, it's very much the beginning days of space exploration and there isn't a lot of futuristic tech that one needs to worry about. Resource-limitations and gravity are not really a concern and are deal with a hand-wavy 'gravity generator' type scenario. It's fine, really; I enjoy this generation of space travel writers that don't need to spend a chapter detailing the technical advances that brought us to this point (hard eyeball to Neal Stephenson, here).

Plot was straight-forward, and if there was an expected Big Reveal, Barnes still left an additional trick up her sleeve. I really would have liked to see her explore a certain aspect more (which relates to the unproductive therapy part, I think), particularly in light of the hints that were dropped . Overall, a quick read that was an enjoyable change of pace for me. I look forward to more from Barnes.

Three and a half ghosts, rounding up because it sucked me in.

And as always, review with links at my blog. https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2022/...
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,121 reviews30.2k followers
February 4, 2022
Dead Silence is the perfect blend of thriller with touches of horror and science fiction. It takes place on a ghost ship, after all.

Listen to this teaser:

“Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a 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 and her team hear a distress signal that they follow to a luxury space ship that disappeared twenty years ago. The ship is named the Aurora, and once Claire is on board, she quickly finds out everything is wrong.

Dead Silence has a current feel with its pandemic, and add to that ghosts, the wonder of space travel, tension and mystery elements, along with a romance, and this was just plain fun. I read it quickly and really enjoyed my head-spinning time with it!

I received a gifted copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,655 reviews5,127 followers
June 25, 2022
Somehow, I always knew it was going to come back to this. Me. Alone with the dead.

There are a few specific things I adore: horror in space, search party missions (and similar themes), and conventionally unlikable, flawed narrators that I can't help but root for from the very first page. Given that Dead Silence was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, I feel very lucky that it held all three of these things and executed them exactly the way I like it. If ever there has been a book that felt specifically "for me", Dead Silence is that book. It's one of those stories where, every time I hear criticism for it, I'm thinking, "Okay, sure, I get where you're coming from... but I liked that about it!"

These people did not die from starvation. Or an environmental systems failure. Whatever happened here was violent and seemingly unexpected.

The entire story is so incredibly atmospheric and gave me the most wonderful mix of Event Horizon and Ghost Ship vibes — which you should probably know were two of the most influential films of my early childhood horror watching and are eternal favorites of mine. The important thing about Dead Silence is that it never felt like it was ripping off another story, but it paid clear homage in many places, and I loved that element of it so much!

And in the end, I suppose that's what it comes down to. What you can live with or what you're willing to die for.

Finally, I adored Claire as a narrator. She was unreliable and unlikable in all the ways that I enjoy most, and I loved the depictions of her PTSD and social anxiety (the latter of which hit very close to home!). I found her easy to love and root for, I wanted her to get a happy ending, and I genuinely liked the time that I got to spend inside her head. I would say it's actually rare that I love a protagonist in a horror novel this much, and that alone — not even counting how much I enjoyed the plot, the other characters, the writing, and the setting — has me incredibly eager to read more from S.A. Barnes!

Representation: BIPOC side characters, depictions of PTSD and social anxiety

Content warnings for:

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

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Profile Image for Debra .
2,279 reviews35k followers
February 14, 2022

I loved books set in cold environments and I love books where people are trapped, and survival is the only option. I also love all things set in space: Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. So, this was right up my alley. Imagine being on a luxury craft deep in space and you-know-what beings to hit the fan! Something isn't quite right, but you are so far from home, there is nowhere to go and no way out!!!

This really did feel like an homage to The Shining set-in space!

Claire Kovalik and her team pick up a distress signal. Not wanting to go back to Earth, she and her crew decide to investigate. This is their first mistake. What they find is a massive luxury space liner which disappeared twenty years ago. The Aurora, which evokes Titanic vibes, vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system. They board the ship. This is their second mistake.


This is where the magic or shall I say chills and thrills begin. There is an underlying sense of unease, dread, and anxiety. They hear things, they see things, words written in blood! This book is atmospheric and dripping with tension. I could feel their fear, their unease, their inner turmoil. What is real and what is not? Are they alone on the ship or is something sinister lurking in the shadows? I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Sigourney Weaver and an alien would pop out! Don't worry, they don't but.... anything is possible!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read. I was glued to the pages, desperately swiping my kindle, wanting/needing to know just what was going to happen next!

Whew! I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next. Fingers crossed that the next book is in the works!

If you are into deep space chills and thrills, this book is for you!

Atmospheric, Chilling, and hard to put down!

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,083 reviews2,940 followers
February 13, 2022
3.5 Stars
As a huge fan of space horror, I was eager to pick up this book. From the premise, this certainly sounded like a mashup of movies like Aliens and Event Horizon. However, the tone of the story was decidedly different than I expected. What the marketing called space horror, I would personally describe as a psychology thriller set in space. Yes, it hit some of the tropes of science fiction, but really in tone and theme, it was not horror.

I actually thought it was a decent piece of suspense (aside from the unnecessary romance), but my expectations due to the marketing really left me underwhelmed. 

I would recommend this to fans of sci fi thrillers as long as they go into the story with an idea of what they getting themselves into.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. 
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,615 followers
March 31, 2022
Soooo, I don’t know how I feel. I liked parts of it and other parts I just wanted to get through. I might have to give it a go later.

I was thinking ALIENS


Then, well this is just weird

And now I’m mad because I was hoping for 5 stars and now I want to give it another go later and keep my fingers crossed 🤨

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books433 followers
February 25, 2022
Although the promotional copy for Dead Silence advertises S.A. Barnes's story as "Titanic meets The Shining," it feels more like a severely watered-down derivative of Aliens and Event Horizon with an unwanted dash of romance tacked on for good measure.

While repairing a communication satellites in deep space, Claire Kovalik picks up a distress signal from the lost luxury cruise ship, the Aurora. Immediately sensing fame and fortune over such a discovery, they chart a course to make their salvage and find way more than they expected. The Aurora, it turns out, is a literal ghost ship and the vacuum-frozen corpses floating throughout the Titanic-inspired vessel show signs of extreme violence. For the ghosts aboard, as well as for the readers, Claire's team represents fresh victims. Yay!

Told in alternating "Then" and "Now" chapters, Barnes builds up an ominous background for Ripley's, I mean, Claire's ordeal aboard the Aurora as she's interrogated by a pair of company-men from Weyland-Yutani Verux, the corporation that owns the lost ship and wants it back. To be fair, Claire really isn't all that comparable to Ripley, as she lacks the latter's brains, brawn, and is hardly as compelling a heroine. Claire, you see, has amnesia and doesn't recall how she escaped from the haunted vessel or how all of her crew died. But she is certain she can't let this greedy, evil corporation get their hands on it!

Barnes does have some neat ideas and scenes over the course of Dead Silence, even if they don't all play out to their fullest potential and the ending we're provided with is inexplicably, unsatisfyingly mundane (and, to its further detriment, largely unexplored). When we first meet Claire in the opening "Now" chapter, we get the impression she's an unreliable narrator thanks to the combination of psychiatric drugs being pumped into her and the hallucinations of her dead crew coming and going and drilling holes in their ghostly noggins. It's fun stuff, but Barnes forgoes giving her central character, or the story Claire relates to us and Verux's investigators, any sort of ambiguity. For a book that is ostensibly about madness, insanity, and psychosis, it's sadly straight-forward, which makes the head-games rather unfulfilling and ultimately as passive as can be.

Better was Barnes's depiction of Claire as a trauma survivor with a decidedly suicidal bent, as well as the commentary on corporate greed via Verux. But, again, this latter point isn't really a fresh or compelling take on bad businesses compared to the Alien flicks that clearly inspired it, and which Barnes liberally borrows from at regular turns throughout the story's plot. About the only element she hasn't taken from those movies is Jones the cat, who is sadly missing here. Well, Jones and the xenomorphs, since Barnes is cobbling Event Horizon's ghost ship conceit atop Ripley's story to make it her own.

Sadly, Dead Silence failed to live up to the expectations generated by Tor Nightfire's marketing team, thanks to its lack of originality and any genuine scares, its Scooby-Doo finale, sluggish pacing, and a heavy focus on Claire and Kane's will-they-or-won't-they romance. And, why yes, Kane was a character in the first Alien movie! This book also violates my general rule of thumb for stories that rip off are "inspired by" other better known properties to either be smarter or more entertaining (if not both!) than the material they're cribbing from. Ultimately, you can skip Dead Silence and watch Aliens and Event Horizon instead. Those movies are much better than this book, and you can thank me later.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,307 followers
October 23, 2022
There’s nothing to be gained from looking back.

I wish I could say everything sounds better in space (oxymoron check), but this book would be the proof that, unfortunately, it does not.
I don't know what I expected from this book, but it definitely wasn't this approximate mess that's anything but an horror story.
If I have to be completely honest, the first half of the story was very intriguing; I actually appreciated the writing format and couldn't wait to break through the main character's hard and flawed shell. In short, this book and its plot, had all the potential to become a spooky sci-fi thriller worthy of its title.

Unfortunately, it somehow all went downhill after the one true tension-filled moment of the entire book.
The rest of the book fell short for what concerns the writing and the story itself went through a painful proccess that turned what could have been an entertaining and scary novel, into a dull bunch of rushed action scenes and random paranormal events.
I mean...I don't ask for much, but it'd be nice to finish a stantalone and, unless it's an open-ending type of book, not have any questions about the plot or aspects of it.
I know some authors leave you high and dry because they're sadists and like to create a mystery around their novels, but in this case, it feels more like oversight than purpose, and it left me baffled.
And not in a positive way.
The climax that the author had been building since the beginning, deflated faster than you can say "mediocre".
I don't usually use the words anticlimatic and overwhelming lightly, but...

I wanted Alien on paper. I expected blood and terror and terrifying cannibal shapeshifter creatures, but I guess it wasn't my turn to be satisfied.

I buddy read this with my lasagna twin🤗 and had the best time, though, so I can confirm quality company makes up for bad books .


(I've made a list of all the books I would like to tackle this month. Feel free to give it a look and add more books if you want)

Profile Image for Chantal.
456 reviews230 followers
August 20, 2022
Lost creepy corpse ship; expedition to salvage goods & bring it home; little bit of a lull in the middle but picks up pretty fast; freaky, creepy and spooky makes for an entertaining read.
Profile Image for Zoe.
406 reviews939 followers
July 5, 2022
3.5 stars
Dead Silence is a quick, easy-to-read science fiction story that is nearly impossible to put down. More character development could have helped elevate it to the next level.

Claire Kovalik and her three crew-mates have successfully completed a mission in space and are about to return to Earth when they receive a distress signal from another spaceship. When they go to investigate, they are shocked to discover the signal came from the Aurora, a spaceship that mysteriously vanished 20 years ago.

One of the strengths of Dead Silence is that it was able to incorporate space travel in an entertaining and realistic way without being overly scientific or technical.

Claire is a very realistic and relatable protagonist. She is haunted by a tragedy in her childhood, and that trauma is portrayed in a very authentic way. However, the side characters were a bit flat. They were all rather simplistic and one-dimensional. They didn't have enough growth or development to truly stand out.

Additionally, the romance that develops between Claire and one of her crew-mates felt unnecessary. It wasn't developed properly; it felt circumstantial more than anything. It seemed as if the only reason they got together because they were trapped on a spaceship together for an extended period of time. It seems unlikely they would have dated if they weren't assigned to the same mission.

Ultimately, this is a gripping read that is sure to satisfy science fiction lovers. Fans of These Broken Stars or Illuminae will truly enjoy this story.
Author 6 books12 followers
April 12, 2022
This book promised me 'silence', but the characters never shut the fuck up long enough to offer it.
Profile Image for JasonA.
292 reviews52 followers
March 13, 2022
We'll call this one 3.5 stars, rounded down for now. I'm still sorting out how I feel about this one, so it might change in a day or two.

The book is divided into two parts. The first half alternates between the past and the present as Claire recounts the story of finding the ship up to the novel's present day. The second half takes place entirely in the present, from that point forward.

The first half of the book was pretty good. It has one of the best creepy vibes I've read in a very long time. You have no idea what's going on and what's going to happen next. It reminded me a lot of the movies Event Horizon and Ghost Ship. There are some scenes in the book that just scream for a movie version to be made.

The second half I thought was pretty boring. Things started getting pretty predictable and everything was explained too soon so the book just became a race the clock story about the evils of corporate greed. There's also a romance storyline thrown in for no good reason. It felt out of place and I don't think it added much to the story.

My biggest problem with the book was that there didn't really seem to be any throwaway lines. Almost everything that gets mentioned is there for a very specific reason. Once you figure that out, then it isn't very hard to figure out what's going to happen in the second half of the book. It ends up feeling like we're reading something that we've already seen the outline for.

For horror fans that aren't big on sci-fi, don't let that keep you from checking this out. For most of the book, you could easily substitute boats or cruise ships for the space ships. The lack of gravity, air and heat play some parts in the book so it isn't sci-fi free, but definitely sci-fi light.

Despite the flaws, I still enjoyed the book. The first half was a 4 - 5 stars, so even a mediocre second half didn't ruin it.
May 26, 2022
Claire is on an intergalactic mission monitoring communications around space. She has a crew that she loves: Kane, Nyseys, Lourdes, and Voller. One day they are just perusing around and stumble across the Aurora: a luxury liner that has been rolling in space for awhile with no contact to anyone for like 20 years, it disappeared. What better time to try and salvage something from the liner....think titanic. They decide to board the ship to get some things that will lay claim to what they found. Only they did not know what they stumbled across.

This is for sure a ghost ship in the middle of nowhere(aka space) and what lies ahead of this team yet to be determined but it is quite horrifying.

When I heard the blurb the Shining meets Titanic I was like "really this is in space" but boy was I wrong. It was so similar and so well written. There was so much to like by this book and had a good sense of both of those. While the ending had a nice bow on it to tie everything up I feel this was a very atmospheric novel
Profile Image for Boston.
404 reviews1,846 followers
September 3, 2021
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.

* thank you to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone (on hiatus).
1,501 reviews201 followers
November 8, 2022
Crikey, that was quite a ride! I love sci-fi horrors and this one was well paced with loads of spine chilling moments. There is something terrifying about the quiet and isolation of space that amplifies fear because you know you'd be screaming into black silence. When a maintenance crew finds a long lost luxury ship adrift in space they decide to stake their claim. What follows is eerie, sinister and downright disturbing. It had similar vibes to the movie Event Horizon featuring Sam Neil in the late 1990s. The writing was vivid and the hairs on my arms stood up at some of the descriptions of the horrific scenes onboard. Be warned there is a lot of extreme violence and self-harm. Definitely an author I will be following from now on.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
February 8, 2022
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2022/02/07/...

First let me just say I enjoyed Dead Silence, though perhaps not as much as the majority, so I also want to preface this review with a confession: I am extremely picky when it comes to sci-fi horror. And when your synopsis touts something as irresistible as “Titanic meets The Shining” then heck yeah, my expectations are going to be somewhere in the stratosphere. That the book fell short of them has more to do with me and my feelings on the different direction the story took in the second half, which I felt stole something away from the creeping horror. In other places, I also found myself distracted by the erratic, choppy pacing.

As the novel opens, a crew of a workers are finishing up a maintenance project in deep space when they suddenly pick up a distress signal from a luxury liner called the Aurora. Normally this wouldn’t be too unusual, except the Aurora went missing twenty years ago, lost to the mysteries of space…until now.

As the head of the team, protagonist Claire Kovalik decides to investigate, leading her crew of Voller, Kane, Lourdes, and Nysus onto the ghost ship. What they find is shocking. After more than two decades of drifting in space, the Aurora’s life support systems are all offline, and its interior is littered with hundreds of bodies. With increasing unease, Claire and her crewmates also discover that most of the cruise liner’s passengers appear to have died under mysterious circumstances. Something terrible had happened here, something strange and unimaginable. As the darkness and paranoia begin to close in around them, Claire must fight to find a way out.

As I had mentioned though, there was a clear shift after the first half of the novel. I have to say up until that point, Dead Silence was pretty much exactly what I’d expected and wanted, as Claire and her crew explored the haunted ship filled with the dead. The vibe I was getting reminded me very much of Event Horizon—creepy, atmospheric, and tense as all hell. Indeed, the first half unfolded beautifully into this awe-inspiring cinematic experience that made me feel like I was watching a movie.

With the second half though, that all changed. A lot of this had to do with the way the story was structured, split into two separate timelines, the past and the present. While the shift was somewhat jarring to begin with, there were other issues that fanned my cynicism towards it. For one thing, we lost much of the momentum as the pace ground to a halt during this transition, and recovery was impossible as things never felt quite the same again. I started to lose interest as more of the intrigue was removed, and the plot began to feel a tad too crowded with the addition of corporate politics, pandemic themes, conspiracies, and even a touch of romance (which kind of felt shoehorned in). Don’t get me wrong, the action and thrills towards the end were fun, but they were definitely feeling a lot less impactful at this point.

To wrap this review up on a high note though, I really enjoyed Claire’s character development and journey. As backstories go, hers is certainly one of the more tragic. When Claire was a child, she became the sole survivor of a viral outbreak that killed everyone else in her colony including her mother. The trauma of that event has stayed with her since, affecting her mind thus making her a somewhat unreliable narrator at times. We’re led to question her memories and what she sees, and to sympathize with her struggles against her own self-doubt.

If you enjoy sci-fi horror, then chances are you’ll love Dead Silence. There were certain elements of the story that I wish had been different or handled another way, but overall I had a good time with the book.
Profile Image for Deeksha Bhardwaj.
78 reviews46 followers
May 21, 2023
✨𝙎𝙞𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙙𝙞𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙦𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪'𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚. 𝙄𝙩'𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙚𝙧. 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙝𝙤𝙬.✨

Dead Silence follows Claire Kovalik who has no intention to return to Earth. Leader of a beacon repair crew in space, Claire picks up a strange distress signal from the infamous luxury space-liner Aurora – the ship that vanished more than twenty years ago. Upon reaching the ship, things took a strange turn and now Claire must hang-on to her sanity to save herself and her crew…

TW: Suicidal Thoughts, Mutilation, Violence, Claustrophobia, Death, Gore and Murder.

𝗠𝘆 𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀
𝗜’𝗹𝗹 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗔𝗮𝗵𝗵-𝗺𝗮𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗶𝘀… a fast-paced story that I devoured in just a few sittings. The atmosphere was extremely intense and the author has done a tremendous job in describing the horrors in a ‘𝗵𝗮𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽’ in the first half😱😱


Things escalate very quickly in a violent and horrific direction in the first half, a trigger warning is advised at the start. There was everything I loove, from creepy moments to violent scenes to mysterious things… it was a wonderful rollercoaster of horror and survival!!

𝗜𝗳 𝗜 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗳 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲, 𝗜 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝘁. The descriptions of each scene was so vivid that I curled up under my blanket many times… The horror scenes were veryy unsettling and I loooved that about this book. 𝙄𝙩 𝙜𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙢𝙚 𝙜𝙚𝙣𝙪𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙖 𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚🥲


The female protagonist, Claire… With such a traumatising past and mental disorder, she stood strong for her crew. 𝗛𝗲𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲 and I enjoyyed her journey as she found her purpose while fighting with the inner demons and facing other invisible enemies.

Learning about her backstory was heartbreaking and it was incredible how she survived the things she’s been through and yet fought so fearlessly under similar circumstances… 𝘁𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮 𝗯𝗮𝗱𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝗳𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗼𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁!!!!

On the negative side, the second half of the book was a little predictable and the reveal of what is happening was underwhelming. But I have no problem with how things turned out and looved this book!!!!! 𝗗𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘀𝗼 𝗳𝗮𝗿 😍

Overall, this was worth it. 𝗧𝗢𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗟𝗬 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗧𝗛 𝗜𝗧!!! With all the horrors and chilling moments, and the way the story progresses, I couldn’t keep it down. It ticks all the boxes for a great horror book. 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗰𝗶-𝗳𝗶 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗿𝗼𝗿 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀🤩

𝗣.𝗦. 𝗜 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴! Add horror to it, the best combination I have ever read. I need to add ‘space horror’ to my favourite genres!!!!

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Profile Image for Nicole.
494 reviews137 followers
March 3, 2022
I thought this book was intriguing from the start. The bickering between crew members made it drag a little for me but I enjoyed how they built up the story and wove the interview about what happened after.

Clare Kovalik and her team are on a mission in space when they notice an unusual distress signal. They decide as a group to go check it out. When they go to investigate they are amazed that it is none other than the Aurora, a well known luxury space cruiser that disappeared twenty years ago on its first trip of the solar system.

A discovery like this could be monumental to Clare and her team. Upon entering the ship, the crew immediately gets the feeling all is not what it seems. Strange words written in blood, strange sightings. Clare must keep her team together as they fight to get back to earth.
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