Pepper is a rambunctious big man, minor-league troublemaker, working-class hero (in his own mind), and, suddenly, the surprised inmate of a budget-strapped mental institution in Queens, New York. He’s not mentally ill, but that doesn’t seem to matter. He is accused of a crime he can’t quite square with his memory. In the darkness of his room on his first night, he’s visited by a terrifying creature with the body of an old man and the head of a bison who nearly kills him before being hustled away by the hospital staff. It’s no delusion: The other patients confirm that a hungry devil roams the hallways when the sun goes down. Pepper rallies three other inmates in a plot to fight back: Dorry, an octogenarian schizophrenic who’s been on the ward for decades and knows all its secrets; Coffee, an African immigrant with severe OCD, who tries desperately to send alarms to the outside world; and Loochie, a bipolar teenage girl who acts as the group’s enforcer. Battling the pill-pushing staff, one another, and their own minds, they try to kill the monster that’s stalking them. But can the Devil die?
The Devil in Silver brilliantly brings together the compelling themes that spark all of Victor LaValle’s radiant fiction: faith, race, class, madness, and our relationship with the unseen and the uncanny. More than that, it’s a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror about friendship, love, and the courage to slay our own demons.
About Victor LaValle
Victor LaValle is the award-winning author of two previous novels, The Ecstatic and Big Machine, and a collection of short stories, Slapboxing with Jesus. Big Machine was the winner of an American Book Award and the Shirley Jackson Award in 2010, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, and Publishers Weekly. He teaches writing at Columbia University and lives in New York.
Pepper is a huge man who gets put in New Hyde Hospital in Queens for assaulting three undercover police officers he’s dubbed Huey, Dewey and Louie. Although he was originally supposed to stay no more than 72 hours, Pepper winds up getting put on a potent collection of psycho-sedative drugs and “wakes up” almost a month later, wondering what he’s doing there. The ward has the usual collection of oddities, misfits and eccentrics, and Pepper fairly quickly adapts to his new situation, perhaps a sign that life outside the walls is close to indistinguishable from life within. One new wrinkle in this relatively predictable scheme of things is that the devil—yes, Satan himself—seems to occasionally run loose at night, wreaking havoc on some of the inmates. Meanwhile, Pepper starts to adjust to life on the inside, attending book-group sessions, where he becomes enamored with the letters of Vincent van Gogh, and experiencing the irrational vagaries of his fellow inmates. He also begins a sexual relationship with Sue (or Xiu), who’s scheduled to be deported to China in a week, so Pepper takes upon himself the task of rescuing her from this fate. Seeing himself as a savior allows Dr. Anand, the head psychiatrist, the luxury of diagnosing Pepper as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder—and you know things have gotten out of hand when a psychiatrist tells a group of inmates, “You are terriblepeople…Sometimes I want to kill you.” – Kirkus Reviews
‘The Devil in Silver,’ by Victor LaValle
The Washington Post Book Review – September 3, 2012 (Excerpt)
Victor LaValle doesn’t shy away from Big Issues. In his previous novel, “Big Machine,” he confronted racism, religious fundamentalism and terrorism on the U.S. homefront, and had the chutzpah to toss in a few Lovecraftian demons, just in case anyone in the front row was nodding off. “The Devil in Silver,” LaValle’s newest offering, is another fearless exploration of America’s heart of darkness, set within the most terrifying landscape of our time: the American health-care system.
Pepper works for a moving company in Queens. He’s 42, single, with an occasional anger management problem, the kind of guy once termed a big galoot. “A big man but not a hard man. He’d probably do more damage falling on you than punching you.” In a spectacularly wrongheaded effort to impress an attractive neighbor, he beats up the woman’s ex. When the police are called in, he beats them up, too. [Read the full article...]
The Indigo Bird
An Erotic Novel by Max Markham
James Graveney, a young Major in a respectable regiment, is outwardly conventional. In private James is bisexual, with a strong urge for his own sex. Gay sex, however, is illegal in the Army, so he is discreet about this.
James’ world is turned upside-down when he meets Lieutenant Richard Finch. Richard is intelligent, charismatic and exceptionally handsome. He doesn’t mess around. He gets what he wants, and is completely unscrupulous about how he gets it. Richard will stop at nothing to achieve this, including Machiavellian deception and a cunning and brutal murder. James starts responding to Richard, cautiously at first, then gets swept along on the great love affair of his life.
The Indigo Bird is a rollercoaster of surprises set against backdrops varying from the jungles of Belize to London, the English countryside, and Ireland, and the scene is set for more shocks and adventures. [Read more...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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