After the Silence by Louise O’Neill: Review

After the Silence by Lousie O'Neill

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill


After the Silence is the latest novel from journalist and multi-award-winning Irish author Louise O’Neill. Her debut novel, Only Ever Yours, was published in 2014 and won her The Bookseller‘s  YA Book Prize 2015. The Guardian has called Louise “the best YA fiction writer alive today”.



As the tenth anniversary of the Nessa Crowley’s death approaches, a pair of Australian documentarians visit the small island of Inisrun, off the coast of West Cork to investigate her unsolved murder.


Henry Kinsella, a wealthy ‘blow-in’ to the island, was initially arrested for her murder. But he was released when there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute him. Years later, he and his wife, Keelin, agree to be involved in the documentary in a desperate attempt to clear their names. After almost a decade of being shunned by the locals and even having their hotel burnt down, Henry sees it as his chance to be heard. However, there are only certain things both he and Keelin want to be said…


So who really killed Nessa Crowley and will the island ever see justice?




Inspired by the real-life murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, After the Silence is a gripping story of secrets and control. I was really excited to get my hands on a copy as I’ve devoured Louise O’Neill’s previous feminist focused fiction. This is her first venture into the murder mystery genre and I wasn’t disappointed.


Just like Louise, I listened to West Cork podcast last year and was very impressed at how investigative journalist, Sam Bungey, and documentarian, Jennifer Forde conveyed the impact that Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder had on the small community.


After the Silence alternates chapters between Keelin’s perspective and transcripts of the interviews by the filmmakers. While Keelin is obviously being controlled by Henry, she also blames herself for Nessa Crowley’s death – so what part did she really play? There’s also Keelin’s son, who was good friends with Nessa. Was he heartbroken by her murder, or was he attempting to cope with overwhelming guilt? Well, you’ll not get any spoilers from me!


After the Silence is a gripping novel, packed full of complex relationships. Although promoted as a murder mystery, this is as much a story about domestic abuse and control. Keelin is a great character; you’re left questioning her motives throughout the novel. You’re well aware there’s more to her than meets the eye, and it was great fun trying to guess her next moves.


Overall, Louise O’Neill has branched out into a new genre and absolutely smashed it. After the Silence is a spellbinding read – complex, dark and beautifully written.


If you enjoyed After the Silence by Louise O’Neill, you’d love Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


Read an extract of After the Silence now.



  1. September 6, 2020 / 10:47 am

    Great review! I actually didn’t realise it was based on a real-life murder mystery! Will have to give West Cork a listen.

    • The Tattooed Book
      September 6, 2020 / 11:40 am

      Thank you! The crime itself isn’t based on a true story but she was inspired by a true crime and how it was reported by a podcast. Both this and West Cork are great!

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