Beautiful, Frightening and Silent
An exhilarating story packed with magnificently complex characters, psychological intrigue, and horror...
Gordon brilliantly integrates psychological depth into a chilling horror plot in this mind-boggling debut which tells the story of three broken souls trying to come to terms with their painful pasts. Adam, a high school English teacher with a traumatic past, is struggling to find solace in alcohol after tragic death of his wife and son when he learns about the notorious Dagger Island, a place presumed to carry the sinister power of ghost-whispering. Trying to find closure, Adam decides to go to the island and lands at a crumbling old boarding house, a place haunted by the ghost of a mysterious woman. The boarding house is run by 82-year old recluse Anthony who is grappling with his own trauma and guilt. Haunted by their past memories, the trio try to come to terms with their very existence. The emotionally powered, indulgent narrative moves at a quick pace, and the tension between the three protagonists fuels the intrigue. Gordon delivers a suspenseful, tense horror that gets in with the novel's Gothic island atmosphere and "Menage-a-Guilt" central theme. Gordon's deeply moving prose ("She is stained-glass. She is a church on a quiet morning before the saints and sinners tarnish it for the mere mortals." Writes Gordon) is an absolute treat for the fans of fine Gothic literature. This deeply affecting novel characterizes the thrills that readers seek out in a finely-constructed psychological horror story. It should easily rank with the best of its genre. A stunner!
- Prairies Book Review
Dark, twisted, and lyrical. This book destroyed me, and I couldn't put it down.
"Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent by Jennifer Anne Gordon follows a man named Adam who lost his wife and four-year-old son in a car accident nearly a year ago. Struggling with his grief by way of alcoholism, this story starts in a dark place. We also meet Anthony, an old man who is haunted by his past quite literally. These two meet in a way that is written in their destinies far before the story begins.
This book is dark, twisted, and lyrical. This story starts with grief. I felt so deeply for Adam and what he has experienced through the loss of his family and the guilt that follows him since the accident. This book is painful to read, but it also continuously gave me the feeling of running towards something. The story kept me on my toes sitting right between the real world and fantasy paranormal so that I was never sure where we would go next. There are twists and turns throughout that left me surprised each time while at the same time feeling like there was nowhere else for the story to go.
I absolutely loved the writing. Be ready, it is extremely poetic, flowery, and lyrical. Gordon's storytelling felt like a caress while still giving you the creepy crawlies all at once. With that said, I don't think Gordon's writing will mesh with everyone's preferences. It's such a beautiful but specific way of writing and I think some will be put off by it. With that said, I'm a sucker for the flowery writing. It's why Laini Taylor is a favorite author of mine.
To end with a few quick comments on the formatting rather than the story itself, there were some grammatical issues I noticed throughout the story. In some places, periods were missing or switched to commas. I was able to easily ignore and move on, but I wanted to make sure readers are aware of that as well."
- Kassie Romo (Reedsy)
Gordon’s lyrical words flow invoking vivid imagery that comes alive making you feel and taste them. This is a haunting tale of love, hate and fate with characters that are both broken and beautiful, and that you may both love and hate. Gordon’s use of time added a level of suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat determining who and what was real and alive. The twist at the end made me wonder if we will get more to this story. I highly recommend this beautifully written haunting tale!
-Book Review Crew (Authors on the Air)
Adam, a young alcoholic, slowly descends into madness while dealing with the psychological scars of childhood trauma which are reawakened when his son and wife die in a car accident that he feels he is responsible for. After a failed suicide attempt, and more group meetings that he can mention. Adam hears a rumor of a Haunted Island off the Coast of Maine, where “if someone wants it bad enough” they could be reunited with a lost loved one. In his desperate attempt to connect with the ghost of his four-and-a half year old son, he decides to go there, to Dagger Island, desperate to apologize to, or be condemned by, his young son. Adam is not sure what he deserves or even which of these he wants more. While staying in a crumbling old boarding house, he becomes involved with a beautiful and manipulative ghost who has spent 60 years tormenting the now elderly man who was her lover, and ultimately her murderer. The three of them create a “Menage-a-Guilt" as they all come to terms with what it is that ties them so emotionally to their memories and their very “existence”.Beautiful, Frightening, and Silent is a poetic fever dream of grief, love, and the terrifying ways that obsession can change who we are.
5 Star Amazon and Goodreads Review
"Harrowing, heartbreaking, emotional, romantic and fantastical. If you have ever lost someone or regretted something in your life that cannot be fixed, you will feel this story in your gut. And it takes place on the coast of Maine, a place both suitably beautiful and suitably eerie for this story of a haunted and brooding—yea, even tortured—man. The author gets everything right, from the emotions and self-castigation to the quality of the light and the wonderful and frightening isolation. No wonder even the ghosts feel free to speak and own their stories." - David Pratt. Author of Wallaçonia, and Bob the Book.