The following review is part of my being in the author’s review team, which ensures that you can read it the moment the book comes out.
First of all, my apologies for being a little late. That new routine came with a Friday night epic sleeping crash, which made me late for finishing the book. It is in absolutely no way because Jason Kasper’s latest release, Her Dark Silence, was not good; all the contrary! I think it is his best book to date and since I loved all of his books that I’ve read, it is pretty telling in itself.
Then again, I will start with a warning: if you don’t like graphic violence scenes, or descriptions of horror, this thriller is not for you. If you need a comparison, Her Dark Silence is in the likes of a Stephen King novel, insofar as horror, there is. Furthermore, the graphic description of the horrors of war will leave you silent for a time, especially if you know what the military reality is or if, like me, you have a high empathetic capacity.
In other words: I felt. A lot. I might not relate to Clara Swanner when it comes to living the horrors of war, but this does not mean that I couldn’t feel her pain at a very acute level. After all, we all have our PTS somewhere, no matter where it comes from, and an ability for empathy will make us dive into her mind and hurt for her, with her.
So there goes for the warning.
Do you sleep?
As I mentioned, the book is the story of Clara Swanner, a military veteran who is now a USA Today bestselling author, thanks to a series of thrillers (yes, a female version of the author for that!). Suffering from acute PTSD, unable to sleep for weeks, her work on her most recent novel suffers, as does her relationship with her husband and her son.
This is when she finds out about this doctor, who has a “miracle treatment” for PTSD: a psychedelic drug, the cetraphaline. Out of sorts and out of resources, Clara decides to go and meet with Dr. Jannesson and his treatment.
Yes, Clara sleeps at last, but with it come dreams in the form of flashbacks from the battle in which she took part in Afghanistan, and all the horrors that she lived in Pantalay.
After a while, not only does she relive those events, she also starts hallucinating violently, seeing those from her platoon who have, subsequently, committed suicide, a mysterious series of self-inflited deaths which happened in a short interval. A mystery which she will try to uncover, so long as she does not start hallucinating again.
The harsh reality of the military
For those who don’t know, Jason Kasper is a veteran from the US military, a topic which he used in his David Rivers series, albeit in a totally different way. For those who have read his first series, if you think those novels were hard (and they were), they are small potatoes compared to Her Dark Silence, one of the hardest books I’ve read in a long time.
The harshness of battle, the consequences of the war for the soldiers, PTSD and the way to try and treat it, everything goes in this gripping thriller. Add to that a shady scientist, and you have a masterpiece of a horror thriller.
Some might know that I am not a horror person at all when it comes to books or TV. However, if Her Dark Silence is horror (and it is), it was not nightmare inducing for me (thank the Maker!) and it kept me glued to the pages and ruing the fact that there is this pesky thing called real life to keep me from reading it all in one go.
To be frank, this standalone thriller is probably Jason Kasper’s best book to date, well worth the time you will spend reading it. If you want to try it (or any of Jason’s books) before buying it, it is currently available on Kindle Unlimited. Again, if you do not like graphic violence and horror, this book is not for you. It is not like the “family friendly” (Jason’s words, not mine) The Spider Heist books.
Still, I have no reservations in giving this book full marks, because it is an absolutely fantastic read.
A more than deserved five stars! ✰✰✰✰✰