Review: After The Silence by Louise O’Neill

Summary from Goodreads:
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 Kinsellas’ 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. 


*A copy of this book was obtained through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

The concept of this book really intrigued me when I first read the synopsis. Sadly though, I don’t think this book managed to deliver on my expectations.

The pacing within “After the Silence” felt a bit off. There were sections of the book where a lot would happen in quite quick succession and there were other parts where nothing would really happen for the longest time. I did enjoy the interview sections though, I would have actually liked to have seen more of them.

Something I have to praise this book for is that, despite is being set in Ireland, it didn’t annoy me. This is very much a personal thing for me, I tend to avoid anything set in Ireland (which is where I live) just because I find many play into stereotypes or over complicate things that aren’t complicated. Being an Irish author doesn’t mean you are immune from writing stereotypes into your work. O’Neill manages to avoid this, which was very refreshing.

Pacing issues aside, O’Neill created a lot of really well developed characters. I related in different ways to different characters, which I really look for in a book. Something I really must commend O’Neill for is how she dealt with the topic of domestic abuse. It was clear while reading it what her intentions where, to take away from the victim shaming narrative and often appears in domestic abuse cases. She managed to show effortlessly the difference in perceived love and what is actually love, which I just can’t applaud enough.

While “After the Silence” had a lot of good qualities to it, I just felt it hard to really connect to the story. It didn’t feel like a thriller, it felt more character driven than plot driven, which was a bit disappointing. I also managed to guess the ending which was another downside to me, especially when there was supposed to be a lot of mystery but I just felt this was lacking for me. Despite this I think that Louise O’Neill did a good job of creating a character driven novel, it has definitely made me want to check out some of her other novels but I don’t think I’d be in a hurry to read this one again.

2 thoughts on “Review: After The Silence by Louise O’Neill

  1. I find most of the thriller books I’ve read to be plot-driven, which totally works. The book has a good premise, sorry it didn’t work out for you but love your review!


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