Book Review “The Silent Dead”, Graham Smith

Pitch: Detective Beth Young has just joined the Cumbrian major crimes team when a body is found posed in a ritualistic manner – arms spread and graceful wings attached – at a crumbling castle in the hills of the Lake District.
The entire police force is on red alert. But Beth begins to feel she’s the only one who can follow the disturbing clues left by the twisted killer.
The killer is looking for another victim to add to his collection… Will Beth be able to save the girl? Or will he get there first?

x x x 

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” Mitch Albom

This is the book about “family”.
Families are messy.
They create sadness, disappointment, pain and loneliness.
They create monsters, killers, maniacs, sadists… and, time to time, kind and happy people like you and me.

‘There’s no such thing as broken family or bad family,’ you’d say.

Family IS family! 

Right, family is something that ties heart to heart. But in our story all the threads had been cut off. Long time ago…
If you’ll cut those ties – hate will grow. Or indifference. Or desire to hurt. 

The structure: 85 chapters – quite a scary number.


Beth Young or Young Beth – attractive, with a big scar on her face (from the fight), hard-working, ambitious. Weakness – wine. 

No boyfriend, no sex… just wine.
Who would blame her? 

DS Thompson – broken, annoying, knows too much, his wife has a cancer, 2 kids.
DI O’Dowd – bitchy, always at work, loosing her 18-19yo daughter (pregnant-abortion).
Sarah – sublime, super-sexy, hungry for a dick full of money, kind, loves her grannie, selling cars.
The man without a penis – harmless pervert, good heart, loves to watch, collecting ‘perfect faces/bodies’, a dreamer.

Plot: a body of 42 yo self-employed builder has been found in the abandoned Arthur Hall, near Longtown (have no idea where it is, was too lazy to google). It’s quite clear the man was murdered – a matchbox-sized area of skin had been removed from each shoulder blade and the wings of a bird attached to the man’s back.

!! The wings were attached pre-mortem. The men’s genitalia were missing. He wasn’t beaten. Only tortured. In a very special way…

The police believe that the killer had a connection to the old building. But he hadn’t. Not really. The killer has a connection to the people he is choosing. The serial killer in this story is a totally magnificent guy. 

3 words about the killings: “Bizarre. Twisted. Sick.”
2 words about the killer: “Great personality and very smart.”
Plus: rich, fit and quiet.
Question: How do you catch a smart guy?

Cool details: 

1. The author is using 2 different ‘mad’ voices/or personalities as a hook.

Example of voice 1: “Now he trawled the streets in his car, just looking for the girls who could star in his fantasies. It was a lower risk, isolated from the humiliation of being rejected. In Tamara he’d found one angel for his dreams. Next he had to find a companion to her. One angel at a time was never enough for him. He needed as many as he could possibly get.”

Does it sound like a perfect killer? Yesss!

Example of voice 2: “He’d sensed Sarah attraction; it was easy to create: dressing in expensive clothes, using good manners and pretending to be shy worked every time for him. As he fed a forkful of sale into his mouth he felt his excitement grow. She would give him such a special thrill, pleasing him in every way that mattered.”

Be aware of shy guys!

2. The abbreviation of the name FRANCESCA

If your name fits – you are the chosen one. Get ready to drink petrol and breathe fire…

3. The torture 

The mouth of all victims has been completely burned (scorched). As well as the top of the trachea. The throats of people (women and men) has been ruined by fire. 

Every breath is filled with agony.
The poison is attacking the body.
The block of wood jammed between the teeth.
He is slowly recreating the dragon that his Mother was…

Why? Because then he could prove himself worthy of her love. The style: there’s no dynamic in the language. It’s an interesting story, but kind of in a very S – L – O – W motion.

I liked:

  • in case if you have missed some biology (anatomy) lessons at the school – read this book, because it is filled with the amazing descriptions, like:

“The pathologist opened the chest and picked up an oscillating bone saw. Its whine as it cut through the ribcage was akin to fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard…”

Ray wouldn’t recommend it in the evening or to folks, who are younger than 16. 

  • the serial killer. The police couldn’t find any motive for a very long time. They knew the how and the where, but they couldn’t get – who is the guy and why he is doing that. There’s no connection between any victim, or the locations. 

His manifest is ‘ANGER’.
He is learning as he goes…
His name is The Dragon Master.

  • mother of the serial killer. The woman who created the monster. The woman who stubbed out cigarettes on his chest. The woman who created a coward, who raised ‘death’ itself: when she caught him looking at a girl from the local village in a way she deemed unacceptable, 3 cigarettes had been extinguished on his scrotum. 

“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.” Erma Bombeck

I disliked: 

  • the writing style: “grandpa is telling a very scary story to his grandson.”
  • Beth Young – she has to get a boyfriend. Or fuck buddy. Or hobby. The girl is too boring. She’ll die a virgin if we won’t change the plot… of her life. 

The lesson from The Dragon Master:

“Nothing I ever did was good enough for her. Nothing. Not one bloody award, achievement or exam that I passed at school made her proud of me. Nothing. She was a dragon, but she was still my mother…”

Rate: 3,5
E-book: only 0,99

And hey, tell your kids they are AWESOME! 

Next post – “The Last To Fall”


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17 Responses

  1. Jerry Laiche says:

    Thanx, but no thanx – not my style. Might make good TV – Law & Order type stuff.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Not my style (as style) as well. I like serial killers-stories tho 😂🤨

  2. Em. Don’t think this one is for me. Excelent review though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Finger pointing again……….@”shy” guys! Ashtrays are much better to put out the cigarettes, and it does not smell as bad!

  4. Excellent review and 😁

  5. I do like a good serial killers book, but been to many copies and bang average ones. This one Sounds ok, but reading time is limited so will give this one a miss and opt for reads I’m more excited about.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Of course, I guess I just wanted to know who’s the bad guy & his story 🙂 that’s all. Otherwise – slow paced book

  6. librepaley says:

    The bone saw part is just something else…

  7. Funnily the book was on a very cheap offer, so in the end took the plunge. Thank you for the heads up about it.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Don’t forget it’s slow paced …but maybe it should be so, who knows.
      And true, it’s very cheap 🙂

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