The Silent Brother

A Literary Thriller

Fiction - Literary
370 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2022
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Author Biography

Simon Van der Velde was born and educated in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he trained and practiced as a lawyer. Writing, however, was always the real passion, and Simon has now left the legal profession in order to concentrate on his writing.
Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) at University of Northumbria in 2011, Simon’s work has won and been short-listed for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal, The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Short Story Prize, The Writers’ and Artists’ Short Story Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition.
Simon is the founder and chair of Gosforth Writers Group and author of the widely acclaimed, Amazon bestseller, Backstories, ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’, in 2021. His literary crime novel, The Silent Brother was published on 16th June, 2022 by Northodox Press. Simon is currently working on both Backstories II and his follow-up crime novel, Dogwood.
Having travelled throughout Europe and South America, Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with his wife, labradoodle and two tyrannical children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The Silent Brother by Simon Van der Velde is a literary thriller. Tommy was just 5 when his little brother disappeared, leaving him to deal with his violent alcoholic parents. Tommy only believes one thing – it’s his fault. As he struggles through life, he tries to live up to his brother’s memory, but he believes he only has two choices if he wants to survive – poverty and crime. Poverty doesn’t pay – crime does. Or at least, that’s what Tommy believes. In his teenage years, he becomes a drug dealer, working for the Burns gang, and his life is spiraling downward into nothing. When he least expects it, he sees a face he never forgot, but things are about to get worse for Tommy. Can he pull himself out of the gutter? What happened to Benjy?

The Silent Brother by Simon Van der Velde is a harrowing tale of childhood abuse leading to a loss of identity and self-worth. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking, and, at times, tough to keep reading, this book will stay with you long after you’ve finished, Tommy and Benjy haunting your thoughts wherever you go. You can’t help but form connections with the main characters, and you’ll feel every emotion, every hurt, and every triumph. This isn’t a book for the young or the faint-hearted. It’s a story that could be playing out in front of you every day, whether you see it or not. It is set in the UK so non-British readers might struggle with some of the words but it is a story filled with emotional action, a story that holds nothing back but has an ending you won’t see coming. Simply fantastic, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.