Book Review: The Silence

“I wonder how it would feel to plummet that far; would there be a lightness, a liberation? Would the air rushing past your ears sound like voices in the dark?”

This is my Amazon First Reads selection for February 2020. You can get a free book every month by joining Amazon Prime, which you can do with a free trial here.

Set to be released next month, The Silence is Daisy Pearce‘s second book. It follows former children’s TV star Stella Wiseman who, alone in her thirties, stuck in a dead-end job and having lost both parents, has nothing glamorous about her life now. Just as she hits rock bottom, she meets Marco, a charismatic older man who offers to get her back on her feet. But is he too good to be true? She appreciates the money he lavishes on her. And the pills. But are the pills just helping her sleep, or helping her avoid her problems? No longer sure what’s real and what’s not, Stella begins to question the one person she thought was fighting for her survival is actually her biggest threat.

Rating:

The Silence is a well-written book and I will certainly read more from Pearce in the future, but it’s a plot that I’ve read before. There’s a current trend of authors relying on an unreliable female narrative to help develop their thrillers so, unfortunately, it all felt obvious from the start, for me.

The story reminds me a lot of The Wife Between Us, as you can easily make the assumptions that our female lead is being taken advantage of, with her fragmented memory only telling us half of the story. But it doesn’t leave much up to the imagination, as it’s obvious from the synopsis alone which character is behind everything going on.

There is a lot that still needs to be pieced together regarding exactly how the story is going to play out, but because you know that Stella is going to lose everything close to her before eventually regaining some control, I didn’t have a lot of patience with her narrative.

The problem is that she isn’t a very sympathetic character. Usually, you can understand why a character is made to behave the way they do, seeing the pressures around them build up which help you to understand why they so reluctantly give in to the abusive natures of others. But Stella comes across self-destructive and weak from the start, seemingly allowing herself to manipulated and pushed around which is what makes it so difficult to sympathise with her.

This is only made worse by the fragmented structure of the story which becomes quite irritating, constantly jumping ahead in time to reflect on Stella’s lack of memory. Because we don’t see the abuse at the start and only see her downing more and more pills as she hangs on to Marco’s every word, there’s too much that we’re missing out on for us to really engage with her. And him. Without getting to know Marco at all, either, it’s no wonder we don’t trust him from the start, so there’s not a lot of mystery left behind his motives to consider the possibility that it might be somebody else.

I guess this is the trouble with vulnerable characters, as you really need to get inside their heads to understand their actions. But whilst it’s obvious that Stella is an incredibly fragile character, I don’t think this was explored well enough in the beginning. The themes explored are heavy – including addiction, grief, mental health issues, and abusive relationships – but it just doesn’t have the impact it needs. It doesn’t feel personal, and that’s my main struggle with the story as I couldn’t get past the predictability of it all.

You can buy the book here

Towards the end, Stella does reflect back on some of her memories, revisiting scenes that she had blanked out to reveal what was actually going on at the time, but it’s all too late. The gaslighting subplot does give the story a sense of originality and it is this aspect that keeps your interest piqued, but the parts of the story that I was more interested in weren’t explored well enough in the end.

With the author being a huge fan of Stephen King, The Silence combines its mystery thriller genre with something more supernatural. You can see King’s influences throughout, almost acting as the gloomy, moist figure that creeps around the cottage himself. But neither genres are explored to their full potential. I would have been more than happy for the strange ongoings to be an actual ghost, but it’s never explained how much was going on in Stella’s head and how much was actually happening.

Moving the setting from London to a coastal town in Cornwall, it’s obvious that Pearce is a good writer as she uses beautiful imagery throughout. Being born in Truro, as well, she has a great understanding of the surroundings she writes about. Although the town of Tyrlaze is fictional, she describes the fog-heavy cliffs of the town well, mustering the senses of an often grey but always salty-scented feel of a Cornish town brilliantly.

There are also many tense moments that take place in the cottage and cliff side as Pearce does do well to build up the tension, another credit to her writing, but it’s just because I’ve read many similar stories that the revelations didn’t work for me.

So, whilst The Silence undeniably has some promising elements, it was too similar to other thrillers that I have read for me to get into the concept fully. In the end, it just feels like another example of a book that if you’re new to the thriller genre, then this will make for a great first read, but for fans of the genre already, it doesn’t add anything new, just the potential of a great author to keep an eye on.

This is my Amazon First Reads selection for February 2020. You can get a free book every month by joining Amazon Prime, which you can do with a free trial here.

line

Try a 30-day trial with Audible and receive an audiobook for free:

About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

Please Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.