By Simone St. James
“Portis House emerged from the fog as we approached, showing itself slowly as a long, low shadow…”
I am a Simone St James fan girl. I love her books. The first of her books I read was Sunset Motel. I then read The Book of Cold Cases. After I finished those, I looked for everything she had published and discovered her older historical books. I have slowly been reading through them, not because they take me a long time to read but because I want to savor them.
If you like a good ghost story, you need to read her books. Each book is about someone trying to solve a mystery that involves a haunting. She is skilled at making it creepy. Her characters are well developed and I did care about what happened to them. Her plot pulls me in.
Silence for the Dead is the story of Kitty Weekes. She is pretty, smart, homeless, and a liar. From the beginning we know she is on the run but not exactly why.
Kitty loses her job. She desperately needs a job. She has a roommate who is a nurse and she finds out about an opening for a nurse at a mental hospital in an isolated location. It is the kind of place where if the weather turns bad, you are unable to get there because the bridge from the mainland floods.
Portis House is dark and full of secrets. It is not a happy place for anyone. The patients want help and to be able to see their families. The staff is overworked and no matter what they do, they don’t feel like it is enough. The Matron is harsh and makes life unbearable for everyone with her strict rules.
Kitty gets the job and soon finds out that they are desperate for help. The staff is stretched to the limit. The matron discovers that Kitty may not be who she says she is. She knows Kitty is not a nurse, but Matron doesn’t say anything because Kitty was hired by the owner. Matron does test Kitty by giving her disgusting jobs and pushes her, in a way that feels like torture.
Kitty had thought this would be an easy job. Soldiers from the war, recuperating. How difficult could that be? She quickly learns that the men have varying degrees of madness. Some are almost catatonic while others are violent and are not her friends.
She gets to know them but is afraid to always trust them, and she learns that they all have similar nightmares. Like her own. After she has been there a while and experienced the night shift, in a mental hospital, in total darkness except for a small lamp she carries. Kitty starts seeing things she can’t explain. She wants to help the patients and she knows she needs to find out what exactly is happening to be able to do so.
Kitty, with the help of a handful of patients and staff that she can trust, makes it her duty to find out exactly what is going on. Are the patients insane, is she insane, are there ghosts?
I gave this book 4 stars. It is definitely a keeper. Another book I stayed up late to finish.
St. James feeds us the information slowly, a little at a time. She hooks you and doesn’t let you go.
I loved the story line. I collect haunted house books, so these are perfect for me.
Each of her stories are stand alone and she is adept at spooky. All of her stories have scared me but I need to know what is going on so I suck it up and keep reading. Her books are not gory. They create a psychological fear.
Nominee for Best Horror 2014.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with a ghost storyline.
Title: Silence for the Dead
Author: Simone St. James
Year Published: April 1, 2014
Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
Rating: Goodreads 3.92
Setting: Portis House – a mental hospital in England in 1919
About the Author:
Award Winning author Simone St James worked in Canadian television for many years before turning to writing full-time. She lives in Toronto with her husband.
I often find it difficult to give a good summary and review without telling too much information. There is a fine line between telling just enough and too much. I hope you enjoyed this review and if you’ve never read this author’s work, you will give it a try.
I hope you’re managing to enjoy a good book now and then. Let me know what you are reading.