Silent Voices By Gary McMahon
Twenty years ago three young boys staggered out of an old building, tired and dirty yet otherwise unharmed. Missing for a weekend, the boys had no idea of where they’d been. But they all shared the same vague memory of a shadowed woodland grove…and they swore they’d been gone for only an hour. When Simon returns to the Concrete Grove to see his old friends and unearth painful memories from his childhood, things once buried begin to claw their way back to the surface. The hummingbirds are flying again, bringing a warning of something terrible. Bad dreams take on physical form and walk the streets of the estate. A dark, hideously patient entity is calling once again from the shadows, reaching out towards three terrified boys who have now grown into emotionally damaged men. And the past is about to catch up with them all, staining their lives with a darkness they could never truly escape. Welcome back to the Concrete Grove. The place you can never really leave…
Silent Voices is the second part of Gary McMahon’s loosely teird together Concrete Grove Trilogy. Those of you who are familiar with my blog will know that Gary is held in the highest regard here at Ginger Nut Central, and The Concrete Grove, was one of, if not my favourite read of last year. Those of you not familiar with Gary’s writing, you really are missing out on one the best horror writers of our generation. His novels and short stories are never easy reads, they will grab your heart mind and soul and proceed to kick seven shades of hell out of them. When you turn the last page of a McMahon novel, you may well be battered and bruised but you will also realise that you have just read a damn fine piece of fiction.
Silent Voices, reads like an extremely personal novel Gary has written some very moving passages on childhood friendship, parents and the feelings of regret, loss and what if. Linking these themes together is a brilliantly plotted story that combines terrific other worldly horror with that of the horror of modern life. The Concrete Grove and the area is a wonderful creation, I love how the horror and despair of the town has been ingrained in the lives of those who populate the area. it almost feels as though the citizens themselves have been possessed by the evil and transformed in soulless demons prowling the streets praying on the helpless and feeding on their misery.
The three main characters of this novel are all brilliant creations, they are so well formed you begin to wonder which is based on Gary and who exactly Gary based the other two on. They are all deeply flawed, the psychological scars they carry run deep, and have shaped their lives ever since that fateful night. From Simon the ultra successful business man scared of emotional commitment, to Marty the bare knuckle fighter, who is determined to turn his body and mind into an unfeeling thing of iron.
A few characters from The Concrete Grove make a welcome reappearance in this novel, and they help to ground this novel into the overall mythology of the series. I have to say though that while this is the second part of a trilogy, you can read this as a standalone novel, and it will still be a first class read, but I urge you to pick up the first part of the trilogy, as it will only add to your enjoyment of this stunning book.
Gary’s writing will grip you on the first page and will lead on on a wonderfully crafted story that will keep you hooked right to the heart breaking conclusion. We are only a quarter of the the way through the year, but it looks as though we have already found the book of the year as far as I am concerned.
9.5 out of 10