Epeolatry Book Review: Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes


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Title: Dead Silence
Author: S.A. Barnes
Genre: Science Fiction Horror
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Release Date: February 8th, 2022

Synopsis: Titanic meets The Shining in this SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.

Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed―made obsolete―when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn’t right.

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


I’m going to start off with this review with a warning. I’m biased. I’m biased toward space horror. I saw the first ‘Alien’ when it was initially released on HBO at far too young of an age and ever since that time (well after the nightmares subsided) I have loved the niche area of space horror. So, I was more than tentatively excited when S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence arrived in the mail.

Barnes not only hits the ground running with this tale but does so in a fantastic way of introducing us to the main character and the world that she has created. Things have gone wrong right off the bat but what has happened, how it has happened, and who or what might be behind it is all left as a mystery that we solve as the story progresses.

This isn’t a piece of science fiction that makes you understand the science behind everything that is happening, and nothing seems far too fantastic to not make sense without it.

As we dive in with Claire, we see that her crew has found what could be the best salvage operation of all time. A luxury spaceship called the Aurora which could be thought of as the Titanic of the future. A starship meant to bring the rich on a ‘cruise’ through space that was lost on her maiden voyage. You quickly learn that the passengers were all driven mad and quite quickly it seems that the same might be happening to Claire’s crew.

Not only do they have one of the most important finds on their hands financially but now a mystery has emerged as to what happened to the original passengers and is it already too late to prevent the same fate from befalling Claire and her crew?

Part science fiction, part horror, part mystery, S.A. Barnes does an amazing job at weaving these genres together. This one is a must read! If you love space horror as much as I do, you should already have ‘Dead Silence’ in your shopping cart!


Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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