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In Silent Graves

In Silent Graves

3.6 8
by Gary A. Braunbeck

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One moment, Robert Londrigan is a rising-star newscaster, devoted husband, and expectant father; the next, he's a widower in a morgue, staring at gaping holes in his daughter's body where surgeons have harvested every useful scrap of her organs and tissue. The rock-bottom falls out from under his life when a disfigured man knocks Robert out and steals what's left of


One moment, Robert Londrigan is a rising-star newscaster, devoted husband, and expectant father; the next, he's a widower in a morgue, staring at gaping holes in his daughter's body where surgeons have harvested every useful scrap of her organs and tissue. The rock-bottom falls out from under his life when a disfigured man knocks Robert out and steals what's left of her tiny corpse out from under his nose, and leaves a gruesome surprise waiting for him back home.

Robert's search for the disfigured man leads him through a rapidly-fragmenting reality into a chiaroscuro world and the discovery that neither his wife nor his daughter are who he thought they were.

Gary A. Braunbeck's work has earned, 7 Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, 3 Shocker Awards, a Black Quill Award, and a World Fantasy Award nomination.

Product Details

Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.14(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.13(d)

Read an Excerpt

In Silent Graves

By Gary A. Braunbeck

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2004

Gary A. Braunbeck

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8439-5329-2

Chapter One


... later-after the sirens died down and the area was cordoned
off, after the strobing visibar lights blinked out and
everyone was questioned, after shock and horror slowly
transformed into disgust and grief, after the crowd was
dispersed and the coroner's wagon pulled away with its
grotesque, grim cargo-one of the officers made a last sweep of
the scene and found a neatly folded sheet of stationery tucked
into a corner of the bureau's chipped and dingy mirror. This
discovery would lead detectives to search the ruins of the
motel room again, this time to find a thick envelope taped to
the underside of a drawer in the writing table. Inside this
envelope were hundreds of pages, both handwritten and typed,
which would answer all their questions-forget that the answers
did not fit neatly into the cubically contained prison of
their consensual reality. But, for the moment, there was only
this small, neatly folded piece of paper, taken from the
corner of the chipped and dingy mirror.

The script was delicate and exquisitely feminine, the spaces
between each word painstakingly exact, the angle of her slant
almost Elizabethan in its fluid grace, each letter a blossom,
each word a bouquet, the sentence itself a breathtaking
garland: Send me a pictureof the daughter we never had, the
bright little girl with chubby pink cheeks and wistful smile
and wide gray eyes that say, I used to feel lonely but it's
all better now.

Most of the world thinks that's where Robert Londrigan's story
came to its end, but we know better, don't we?

It's time now. The moon is full and high above; there are
sounds out there beyond this warm firelight, lonely and
semi-human; and around your feet swirls the fog, night-breath
of the river, come to hide you from the things making those
lonely sounds.

Don't be afraid. Remember the words you were taught? They'll
protect you, if in your heart you truly believe.

Do you remember?

Fine; all together, now:

Come forward, Robert Londrigan, and bring your memories and
the gods and heroes of your childhood with you; come forward
for the wonder of men and women cleaving to one another and
the children who spring forth from the coupling; step from the
shadows of the past and tell us what the good American man you
once were did that was so bad in the eyes of God and humankind
that you were forced to flee the company of people; come
forward eager to cast light all about in the dark corners of
the last thirty-seven days of your life and make clear to us
what happened once upon a time; you don't need a muse to tell
your story, you need a voice that stands in front of you like
a sign marking the end of your journey, one filled with
compassion and some touch of pity and hardened with anger to a
shine; come forward and give body and entitlement and boldness
to your tale before it falls victim to those who would make it
myth. Give it life with a voice that now takes it place in
front of you, ready to begin, to weave the strands together,
to paint your portrait in just detail, to reveal with Ih doll
the nesting set truly begins; come forward! Let us speak the
man you once were back into existence.

* * *

February 13

Cedar Hill Division of Police
Homicide Unit
Inter-Office Memo

From: Bill Emerson
To: Ben Littlejohn

Hey, Pard:

First of all, happy Valentine's Day. Sorry I don't have a box
of chocolates for you, but here's a little present,
nonetheless. Montrose homicide decided to overnight this to us
instead of faxing it piecemeal like they've been doing. I
guess they were sick of me calling them half-a-dozen times a
day (I can be a big pain in the you-know-what, no surprise to
you, I'm guessing). I have their guarantee that this is a
"full and complete copy" of the contents of the envelope they
found taped to the bottom of the desk drawer.

Tell you the truth, after reading this, I don't know what the
hell to think. I should also warn you that they had extra sets
of photographs made, and the Polaroids are even worse than the
few they made public right after it happened. Capt. Goldstein
informs me that after we all have ourselves a looksee, this
stuff is to be sealed and never opened again, case closed,

The investigation is now officially in limbo and, considering
what you're going to find in here, maybe it's best that some
cases be left alone. I don't know. Didn't sleep too well last
night after finishing it. The Polaroids in particular are
pretty gruesome. Considering that you and Cheryl just found
out about her being preggies (congratulations, by the way!) it
maybe wouldn't be the greatest idea for you to look at them.
But you're a big boy, you can make your own decisions.

Okay, that's it for me, pal; by the time you're reading this
tomorrow, Eunice and me will be on our way to London. She's
really looking forward to the trip and keeps reminding me that
I haven't had a vacation in four years. I hope I enjoy it;
from what I understand, they serve their beer room-temperature
over there. Oh joy.

You know what gets to me the most? I talked with this guy
maybe four, five times and not once did my yo-yo alarm go off.

Maybe, to quote Danny Glover from any of the Lethal Weapon
movies, I'm getting too old for this s-t.



Excerpted from In Silent Graves
by Gary A. Braunbeck
Copyright © 2004 by Gary A. Braunbeck.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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In Silent Graves 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is confusing at best. Being an avid reader, I expected great things to come from this. The story was wordy in its explainations in somenparts, and skipped through others so that it left parts of the story line confusing. By the end of the book, I was left disappointed.
ETrupkiewicz More than 1 year ago
Suppose you had the ideal life: loving spouse, dream career, well-kept house. It's so easy, in that situation, to become complacent and think that nothing will ever change. But, of course, something always does. Here's the real question. What if nothing was as it seemed? Author Gary A. Braunbeck explores just that situation, and that question, in his supernatural thriller, IN SILENT GRAVES, from his The Cedar Hills series. The work has garnered dozens of admiring reviews. What I can provide here is a degree of admiration cloaked in something like overwhelmed confusion ... not quite to the point of throwing the book across the room in frustration, but I have to say that that thought crossed my mind more than once as I read. The story is one of the most intricately woven and complicated I've ever read, and for maintaining all the plot threads and characters and keeping the timeline straight when it is far from chronological (or easily explained ...), I feel great admiration toward the author and his creative prowess. It takes a very gifted, precise mind to keep track of so much information. I nearly classified IN SILENT GRAVES as literary fiction, actually, rather than the commercial-sounding "thriller." Reading it is like reading a work by Dickens, or Austen, or Bronte (pick one). Instead of the usual "Plot Point A to Plot Point B with Subplot Point AA interwoven and here comes Plot Point C with Subplot Point BB attached ..." that is so typical of thrillers and suspense novels, Braunbeck's writing is rich in descriptors, almost archaic in sentence structure (if you cringe over run-on sentences or paragraphs that take up pages and pages at a time, you may want to look elsewhere for entertainment). At times, I felt thoroughly lost in all the lovely writing, perhaps wondering where the plot line had gone and how far back I'd have to retrace my steps until I picked it up again, and sometimes wondering whether all the literary "fluff" was really necessary for the story. Still, the style remains consistent throughout, and for that, I can express further admiration. The work is a long one. In many ways, the novel is a kind of frame ... a story within a story (within a story, within a story, sometimes). Think the sick kid in bed whose grandfather reads him THE PRINCESS BRIDE one afternoon; that situation is the frame for the story about Buttercup and Westley and all the others in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. There are a lot of stories related and pondered and withheld in IN SILENT GRAVES, making the feel of the work almost one of sitting around a campfire trading tale after tale with those around you. That the work remains consistent to its shocking conclusion in the face of so many components is, again, remarkable. I suppose it's more in my nature to prefer a linear story line, rather than one that wanders all over creation (albeit with aplomb and great attention to detail). In that regard, I cannot say that I would reread Braunbeck's novel at a later time. If, however, the idea of a complex, thickly woven and -written literary thriller with supernatural elements appeals to you, than I can recommend no one better. # # # Author: Gary A. Braunbeck Title: IN SILENT GRAVES Series: The Cedar Hills Series Publisher: JournalStone ASIN: B00Y5RCPRK Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Library Thing in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The
misspider More than 1 year ago
This was my first novel by the author and not at all what I expected. What I expected was a straight-forward horror story, but what I got was a multi-layered story that can't be pegged as only one genre. Sometimes I felt completely overwhelmed by the complexity of the plot, but the author amazingly managed to get back on track and keep everything in line. Graves was by no means a fast-paced read. The extensive plot demands a great deal of attention and the outstanding prose must be savored rather than devoured. But patience truly pays off with this novel. I have to admit that several times I started getting bored, but I always felt an overwhelming urge to continue reading, like a strong undercurrent that carries you away. Patience really pays off with this incredible story that will still occupy your mind for some time. I read the comparatively long after word contained in this version with great interest. It was extremely revealing and the therein provided short story felt like a tasty little refill. (I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
BrandiNyborg More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is one that really plays with your emotions. It's unimaginable the things Robert goes through in this novel, from his beloved wife dying to the even worse scenario of his daughter's corpse being stolen, during a brutal attack. It's a great combination of mystery and supernatural elements that keep you turning the pages to find out what's going to happen. Even though this was a longer read, I found myself tearing through the pages. The author is a great storyteller and I loved his writing style. I will definitely be checking out more his work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book I ever read. With every twist and turn the author instills every emotion into your being. Not for the faint of heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jseger9000 More than 1 year ago
Robert Londrigan is an up-and-coming newscaster in the town of Cedar Hill, Ohio. He has a wife he loves and a child on the way and life is good. Then suddenly everything takes an unexpected turn and Robert find his life shattered. His wife dies and the body of his unborn daughter is stolen from the morgue. The kidnapper attacks him and leaves him with the enigmatic message 'Do you despair?' In Silent Graves is much more than your average pulp horror novel. In the beginning things were so surreal that I almost gave up on the book. Luckily Gary's writing was good enough to keep me reading and he pulls off the neat trick of revealing his supernatural world one onion layer at a time, which gave me plenty of 'Aha!' moments, explaining things that had seemed so nonsensical or just bizarre earlier. This was one of the best executed genre books I've read in years. But... I don't know. It just didn't capture me. In my eyes, In Silent Graves is more dark fantasy than horror. It reminded me quite a bit of Clive Barker's early stuff (especially Weaveworld and Cabal). One of those stories where a regular guy makes a left instead of a right and winds up in a surreal nightmare world. I don't mean to say that Braunbeck is swiping from Barker. The story and its surrounding mythology is original and unique. Often there were bits of fairy tales woven into the story and he did a good job of capturing the fairy tale narrative style and it was an effective way of revealing his mythology. It's really quite good if that is what you are looking for. I might even call it an undiscovered classic of dark fantasy. But I never had a taste for that stuff myself. As a result though I enjoyed the time I spent reading it, I would close the cover for the day and I wouldn't be eagerly looking forward to my next chance to pick it up. My distaste for dark fantasy aside, one issue I had with the book is the lack of any sort of outside threat. Earlier I compared the novel to Weaveworld. But it didn't have anything equal to Weaveworld's Fugue. There is a sort of existential threat in the book, but it is a much more nebulous thing. I never got the feeling that the characters were in any sort of mortal danger. Gary Braunbeck really is a fantastic writer. Much better than the level of writing you will usually find in a horror novel. The characters had depth and genuinely made you feel for them. He's taken the time to build lives for his characters so that when bad things happen they have an emotional impact on the reader. He's really has managed to capture the main character's despair and misery at the loss of his wife and unborn child, which can make the book a genuinely unpleasant read. On the downside, his writing is sometimes too lyrical for its own good. Sometimes he got a little carried away with his writing. His characters had a tendency to speak in pages long soliloquies. Extended speeches full of nuance and detail. People in anguish don't speak that way outside of Shakespeare or soap operas. It wasn't my cup of tea, but if you love the early novels of Clive Barker or think that The Stand and The Dark Tower books are some of Stephen King's best work, I'd say you owe it to yourself to check out In Silent Graves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was alright, not anything great. I was a little confused about what was going on during some points in the book, but I just kept reading. It was a little spooky, but not anything extremely scary.