Blog Tour (Review): Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tor Nightfire (February 8, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250819997
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250819994


“This story slides and slithers from creepy and atmospheric to skin-crawling, edge-of-your-seat terror.” ―T. Kingfisher, author of The Hollow Places
“At the intersection of science fiction and horror, Dead Silence is the ultimate haunted house story.” ―Alma Katsu, author of The Deep and The Hunger
“Horror belongs in space.” ―Locus
“Dead Silence gives you the suffocating claustrophobia of 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with the horrors of Alien. I couldn’t stop reading.” ―Mur Lafferty, Hugo Award-Winning author of Six Wakes
“Barnes ably conjures the kind of haunting setting and atmosphere required for this Event Horizon-esque novel, providing an effective sense of immediacy to Claire’s frequently shifting and at times tenuous grip on reality. Recommended for fans of claustrophobic space horror.” ―Booklist
“I ate this book in one sitting because I was in the mood to be freaked out and it delivered tremendously. Truly un-put-downable in its purest sense.” ―Chloe Gong, #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
“Creepy and satisfying; I’ll be checking under my bed tonight.” ―Sarah Pinsker, author of the Nebula Award winning A Song For A New Day
“With a compelling haunted-house-in-space frame, excellent worldbuilding, vivid imagery, biting social commentary, sustained tension, and a storytelling style that seamlessly moves between the mortal danger of the present and Kovalik’s unsettling past, this sf-horror blend will resonate loudly with readers.” ―Library Journal
“Dead Silence mixes horror, mystery and sci-fi into a thrill ride sure to shock you out of your reading rut. …a claustrophobic race against time as the ship’s horrors begin to affect the crew one by one. Dread slowly builds as small, frightening moments inside the Aurora multiply, showcasing Barnes’ patient plotting and steady pacing. This is one of those time-warp books―the ones where you look away from the clock, then look back and it’s suddenly way past your bedtime.” ―BookPage, Starred Review
“The richly realized world that S.A. Barnes creates draws us in, and the relatable characters charm us. The dread mounts to a powerful conclusion.” ―David Wellington, author of The Last Astronaut
“Stomach-turning, sinister space horror perfect for fans of Alien and Event Horizon.” ―Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“I’ve always considered Alien the high mark of sci-fi horror. No longer. Dead Silence leaves it in the dust.” ―Lisa Shearin, New York Times bestselling author
“Dead Silence will keep you awake at night….Expertly paced, this novel is full of old ghosts in every way possible, and will haunt you long after the last page.” ―Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of Jane Anonymous
“I was turning pages long into the night, and the bags under my eyes are well worth it!” ―Rachel Vincent, New York Times bestselling author of Red Wolf
“Compulsive reading at its best. A sci-fi horror so expertly delivered you’ll be peeking through your fingers until the last page!” ―Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated and Starflight series
“Barnes plays nicely on human fears of both madness and of ghosts, carefully blurring the line between science fiction and horror… Those with a taste for blending genres will enjoy this combo.” ―Publishers Weekly

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.

You can purchase Dead Silence at the following Retailers:

I received a free copy for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Talk about psychological horror. Dead Silence is a science fiction horror that initially reminded me of the movie Ghost Ship. Okay, let me explain. No, the movie was not great, but this book is not that movie. Honestly, the only similarities is that it is a cruise line, a small team of people finding the salvage, and the original people on the cruise were mysteriously murdered. Brutally.

The book starts off with a flashback motif that would generally pulls me away from the story, but for some reason, Barnes has found the key to keep me holding. I would say what it was, but I’m not sure. The narrative is gripping and holds you in your seat as you try to learn the mystery with Kovalik and co. There is actually more than one mystery expertly woven together to give a full experience and leaves the reader to keep going.

The world, governed by corporations, is believable and dark. We aren’t given the full history of this future, but that doesn’t matter. There is a fine line between exposition and info-dumping. In my opinion, Barnes not only tightropes that line with ease, but she may have made it a broader one. The exposition felt real, where characters are talking amongst each other. One may be researching what is around, another is new to space travel and is getting a crash course in the history, and yet another may have been going down a mental road only to be pulled back into reality with a fact they didn’t know. All of these moments happen which makes the world real. We aren’t relying on one know-it-all character. We are relying on the strengths of many and learning their weaknesses in the process.

This is a great look at characterization and how people work together. Which is a great thing to have in a horror. So much of horror hinges on the characters and their experience to be real for the reader. If it doesn’t feel real, there is a chance you will lose your audience. Barnes made me feel for all of the characters. I know a Nysus, I have dealt with a Voller or Reed, and I empathize for Kovalik’s deep seeded need to not trust and PTSD. Each person, minor and major, held a huge piece of the ambience on their shoulders.

This is not just a single read, but a re-read as well. I heavily encourage you to read it. The book is haunting, real, and keeps you wanting to search more. There aren’t many books that do that.

Photo Credit: Mila Duboyski

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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