Dead Silent

The Mortsafeman Trilogy Book Two

Fiction - New Adult
292 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Dead Silent: The Mortsafeman: Book 2 is a dark urban fantasy novel written by Ivan Blake. When Chris Chandler was finally released from the South Portland Detention Center, a juvenile reform school where he was serving a two-year sentence for malicious vandalism, the last place he wanted to move back to was the little Maine town of Bemishstock, where the toll of missing bodies was currently at twenty. Chandler had tried unsuccessfully to warn the people there about Doctor Ronald Meath, the man who was finally acknowledged to be the perpetrator. While most of the townspeople would not welcome Chandler’s return, considering him still, in some sense, at fault in the whole affair, his one friend there, Gillian, would have loved to see him come home. She knew full well, however, why he couldn’t. Mallory Dahlman had never forgiven Chandler for not saving her from her all-too-successful suicide stunt and her cursed spirit had not been laid to rest. Anyone who got too close to Chandler was likely to be subjected to horrific abuse, meaning Gillian and he could never get close without both of them ending up in deadly peril.

Ivan Blake’s dark urban fantasy novel, Dead Silent: The Mortsafeman: Book 2, is a monstrously good romp that places Chris Chandler in yet another town where the dead are in dire need of protection from the living. I loved how Blake immerses the reader in the history of the Cathars, a fascinating French Christian sect that was subjected to the unholy mercies of the Inquisition, and I vicariously enjoyed the splendid library Chandler finds in Rose’s cottage almost as much as he did. Blake introduces two marvelous characters in this second book: Bernard Monsegur and Rose DuCalice, and one frighteningly evil one: Gilbert Gurgoyne. Dead Silent continues on in grand form after Blake’s first book in the series, Dead Scared, and while it can be read on its own, I would most strongly recommend reading each of these books -- and in their proper order. This is one of the best horror/dark fantasy series I’ve come across in some time and it’s too good not to do it right. Dead Silent: The Mortsafeman: Book 2 is an awesomely dark and mind-expanding piece of thinking man’s horror; it’s most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Dead Silent is a work of horror, drama and supernatural action penned for young adults, and was written by author Ivan Blake. Forming the second novel in The Mortsafeman Trilogy, we return to the intrepid adventures of self-confessed creep Chris Chandler. After the proceedings from the last novel settle into a tense stage of investigation, Chris escapes the suspicious glares of the world by agreeing to take on a strange housesitting job in Vermont. Family history stretches back a long way here, so it’s only a matter of time before ancestors and graveyards start to become an all-too-familiar theme, and the town’s main festival takes on a macabre turn.

Having just read the first excellent book in The Mortsafeman Trilogy, I wasn’t expecting such a rapid change of scenery and pace, but it was certainly welcome once the plot got going. Author Ivan Blake works well with Chris’s character development following the events surrounding Mallory and the bodies in Bemishstock, and it’s wonderful to see Gillian come to the fore as a more solid and well-developed character this time around. With the initial conflict set, the new mystery of the Grand Guignol theater brings some exciting dark carnival vibes to the tale and further suitably stylish '80s trappings that only add to the creepy yet fun atmosphere of the story so far. Masterfully intriguing and fully amped up in its action and adventure stakes, Dead Silent makes an even grislier impact on the horror YA genre than its predecessor and is highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Dead Silent by Ivan Blake is the second novel in The Mortsafeman Trilogy. When 19-year-old Chris Chandler is released from the South Portland Detention Center, Chris knows that he will not be welcomed back in his hometown. So when he is given the opportunity to house-sit an estate in Lewis, Vermont, he takes it with both hands. However, things are not as they seem and he soon realizes that he is in a place where he will be tested beyond his limits. Something sinister is happening as the mayor of the town wants to improve the economy of the town by using some questionable methods. In the midst of that, someone is stealing and selling skeletons and somehow Chris is caught up in all of that. To make matters worse, a ghost from his past is still haunting him today. He now has to look for a way that not only helps him to keep the ghost away but also protect the people of his new town. Can he do all that? Will he even get a chance against these powerful men?

Wow, I was not expecting this novel to give me chills as it did. Although I have not read the previous novels in the series, I had zero issues connecting with Chris, becoming invested in his story and trying to find the courage to keep up with his life, because it was rather scary for me. The setting was spooky enough to make me think twice about everything and anything. I mean, the use of the cemetery, a grotesque theater, and certain ghosts just had me a tiny bit spooked. Chris’s journey is very entertaining. He is a reluctant hero, but still a hero who tries his best. I admired his grit and control, his development was amazing and I anticipated his reactions. Even though Dead Silent scared me a little bit, it was filled with enough action and intrigue to make me look forward to the next novel in the series.

Astrid Iustulin

Dead Silent is not Chris Chandler’s first adventure. Ivan Blake already described some of his escapades in the previous book of The Mortsafeman series, Dead Scared. However, even though this is the second installment, it can be read as a standalone book. In this well written and engaging horror tale, Chris finds himself in Lewis, Vermont, haunted by a spirit. A woman named Rose DuCalice asks him to keep an eye on her cemetery, from whence some bones were recently stolen. Add to this a family secret linked with the Cathar heresy, a mysterious treasure, and a Goth festival funded with money derived from selling bones, and you have the ingredients for an uncanny and yet amazing horror story.

Dead Silent is not for the faint of heart, but it will thrill those who enjoy the genre. The narrative stimulates the reader’s curiosity and I found it difficult to stop reading. Many mysteries have to be solved while the atmosphere becomes more and more gloomy. On the whole, there is an oppressive sense of darkness that I liked a lot. Not only the general picture but also minor details and names of characters remind you that this is a creepy story. Many scenes are frightening and, on the whole, the story is well developed and intriguing. I am sure that other readers will be as compelled as I was to discover the connections between the events and the ancient story about the Cathars. Blake is a fine writer and does not let the reader down. I hope I will have the chance to read other books written by him.

Christian Sia

Dead Silent is the second book in The Mortsafeman Trilogy by Ivan Blake and is an intelligently plotted and well-written blend of fantasy and thriller. With many corpses disappearing, Chris Chandler has the media following him and a conviction that is being reviewed by the state of Maine. He seeks refuge in the state of Lewis, Vermont, but in the mysterious family estate that has roots as far back as the thirteenth century and the Albigensian Crusade, he is embroiled in a plot that plunges him into battle with grave robbers and corrupt officials in government. Chris and Gillian must battle powerful forces - can an ancient amulet help them conquer vicious enemies and free Chris of Mallory Dahlman’s vengeful spirit?

The narrative is filled with drama and mystery and Ivan Blake does an incredible job in combining the art of great storytelling with magical realism to create a story that keeps the reader turning the pages. I was hooked from the very opening page of this narrative, thanks to the wonderful prose and the author's skill at connecting readers with the characters. The elements of the setting are skillfully captured and the reader has no difficulty imagining locales in which the story takes place. Historical references bring great relevance to the narrative and make it a story close to reality. Dead Silent is a captivating story with strong plot points, memorable characters, and a powerful conflict. It's a page-turner.

Dan M. Kalin

Dead Silent (The Mortsafemen #2) continues where Dead Scared (The Mortsafemen #1) left off. Chris Chandler is about to be released from juvenile offender prison and is at a loose end. Even though he has been largely exonerated for his role in bringing justice to the defilers of the dead, he's still unwelcome in Bemishstock, Maine. Luckily, an opportunity to lay low has presented itself in Lewis, Vermont. There, an ancient family needs a caretaker for a small estate and, most importantly, the graveyard on its grounds. The concerns of the Monsegur family prove to be valid, due to a return of one of Lewis' prodigal sons, Gilbert Burgoyne, who arrives to produce Grand Guignol plays in the ramshackle theatre inherited upon the death of his father. Gilbert wants access to the Monsegur cemetery and will stop at nothing to get it. This doubtless relates to the complete mystery surrounding Gilbert and how he is able to financially support the odd people who staff his Goth theatre company. Will Chris be able to avoid Mallory's attentions long enough to get to the bottom of the mysteries coming to a head in Lewis?

Ivan Blake has produced a worthy sequel in Dead Silent. While the corrupt mayor and his cronies are familiar evil characters, the addition of the Monsegur family heritage counterbalanced by the Grand Guignol theatre tradition of Paris is a very interesting combination of plot lines. The story gathers pace in each of the threads to the very end in a quite satisfying fashion. Mr. Blake thoroughly understands dying New England towns and conveys the sense of hopelessness which grasps at any chance to reverse fortune's verdict. There are still important plot points to be carried over into the final book of the series. Our hero is growing, becoming more capable, and is now in possession of the tools needed to fulfill his destiny as a Mortsafeman.