Review: After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

Title: After the Silence

Author: Louise O’Neill

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.

In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.

The Review

So, I have read the past three releases from Louise O’Neill and I have enjoyed them all – actually enjoyed seems like a weird word to use because the subject matters of her books are never easy. However, I have read them and got what I needed as a reader from them. Her latest book After the Silence is on another level to her first three. It is, by far, her best yet.

It centres on the murder of a beautiful young girl on a small island off Ireland. Those who live in Inisrun know the small town mentality. Everyone knows everyone’s business. And when Tessa Crowley is murdered the islanders all know who is to blame.

It is with the appearance of a documentary film team that the old murder case gets brought back into the minds of the islanders – though it has never really left their consciousness – but it leaves people uneasy. In particular, Keelin Kinsella whose husband is was the prime suspect.

After the Silence is a brilliant psychological mystery. The interplay between interviews, different voices and flashbacks to the past let the reader try and piece together what happened. At each point your mind changes over who is responsible and you flip-flop mercilessly as O’Neill leads you along the story. It is one of the best mystery stories that I have read in a long time and it was one that I didn’t feel frustrated with because it gave me enough clues that I could figure things out but without the answers being too obvious but equally still left me needing to turn the page because I knew that there was much more to discover.

Furthermore, in O’Neill’s typical style, she uses her writing to look at more difficult issues. In this case – domestic violence. So even without the mystery element you have a novel that packs a massive punch.

I am so genuinely impressed by After the Silence. Louise O’Neill is going from strength to strength.

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill is available from 03rd September 2020.

For more information regarding Louise O’Neill (@oneilllo) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit their Twitter page.


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