Dead Silence

S. A. Barnes. Tor Nightfire, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-81999-4
Finders have a hard time being keepers in Barnes’s adult debut, a horror-inflected space opera that details the last mission of a communications repair crew. Claire Kovalik, sole survivor of a Mars colony disaster, and her crew are wrapping up a final tour of the outskirts of the Solar system before their jobs are taken over by machines when they pick up a distress call. The ship signaling them is the Aurora, a super-luxury liner that disappeared 20 years ago on its maiden voyage with all its celebrity passengers. Expecting a wealth of salvage, Claire and crew are eager to detour. But shocking carnage awaits them onboard and solving the mystery of whatever killed the Aurora’s crew could mean madness and death for Claire and company. And their employer, the Verux Corporation, seems less than pleased to have the sordid past brought to light. Barnes, who writes YA as Stacey Kade (the Project Paper Doll series), plays nicely on human fears of both madness and of ghosts, carefully blurring the line between science fiction and horror, though readers may realize the truth behind the ship’s haunting before Claire tracks down the answer. Those with a taste for blending genres will enjoy this combo. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 08/16/2021
Release date: 01/25/2022
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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