Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes

If "ghost ship in space" sounds like a fun premise to you, then you should definitely check out Dead Silence (2022), by S. A. Barnes.

Claire Kovalik is the leader of one of the many teams that maintain the com web - the communications network that allows messages to be transmitted across the vast reaches of space. Her little group of five is stationed on the very edge of the web, and this is their last assignment. Going forward, the company has decided the com web will be maintained by robots. Claire feels sick when she thinks of being trapped on Earth - shackled to a desk job and packed in with the rest of humankind - so when their ship picks up a distress signal, she's all for extending their mission to investigate. Even if the signal is coming from outside of known space.

What they find is more than any of them imagined: the Aurora, the one and only luxury liner that went missing six months into its maiden voyage. And if they salvage her, all of them will be set for life. But as the crew explores the doomed ship, all can increasingly feel something isn't right. Is it just paranoia, or is something else at play? As they continue to find pieces of the puzzle, Claire can't help but wonder if it really was an accident the Aurora went missing all those years ago.

I'm not one for intense horror, but I picked up Dead Silence because the summary reminded me of the Doctor Who episode 42, which was heavier on the eerie side of things than many of the other episodes during David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor, but still quite good. In fact, I think the shift in tone is why I remember it so well.

While reviews put this book in the horror genre, I would label it more as an atmospheric adventure. If you're looking for a gristly, scare-the-pants-off-you, keep-you-awake-at-night horror story, this is not it. However, if you like the idea of a creepy story about a possibly-haunted space-Titanic, filled with eerie descriptions and strange happenings, this book is right up your alley.

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Rachel H