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Theresa R. (Sierra Madre, CA)
Started strong, finished slowly
When I started reading this book, I got right into it and was excited to read it. I liked some of the characters and was interested to find out what was going to happen. However, about halfway through the book, I almost didn't care anymore. I made myself finish the book to see what "The Devil in Silver" was and was not impressed! Overall, this book was just ok.
Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)
Will the Real Devil Stand Up
For a novel labeled as literary horror is was an absorbing yet strangely tender read raising questions through the wit, humor and dignity of the fascinating characters. The author gives voices to an invisible often misunderstood population. How Pepper became a resident in a psychiatric ward is totally believable and scary as who does not have some behavior in our pasts that could not be interpreted as a sign of mental illness. During his first night, Pepper is attacked by a hideous creature whose presence seems normal to both staff and patients. But, as Pepper is schooled on the protocols by the other residents – learning the creature is ‘the devil behind the silver door” is the visible demon as the more deadly demons are often the ones within the mind. Challenged by their restricted environment – the residents dig deep within themselves to slay the devil. It is the touching resident’s stories that will linger long after the last page.
Kelly H. (Martinsville, IN)
The Devil In Silver
Hmmm...I think this book could have been called The Daily Lives of Patients at New Hyde. I kept turning the pages excited for the big takedown of the Devil, and nothing happened. And then, I kept turning the pages excited for the next big thing to happen, and...nothing much did. It was entertaining at times, and more kooky than creepy and yucky. I was happy for that, not being a fan of mental hospital imagery. Who is, right? I don't think I'll pass this one on to my friends.
Shaun (Woodridge, IL)
The Devil in Silver
The tag-line for this book reads "New Hyde Hospital's psychiatric ward has a new resident. It also has a very very old one." Sounds intriguing, right? It's not and neither is anything in this book. I don't think it would spoil the yawn of an ending to say that there isn't in fact anything supernatural going on at New Hyde. And the 'scary' resident referred to in the tag line isnt "very very" old - he's just old. And not in a suspenseful kind of way - more like in a (hold tight now) crazy-guy-in-a-mental-hospital-who-is-more-crazy-than-scary. The story plods and the least interesting character is unfortunately the main one. A man who insists on being called Pepper "because he's spicy". Huh? It's downhill from there. Some, and only some, of the other residents are interesting and it's detrimental to the story that the least amount of time is spent with them. The most is spent with our hero Pepper who is one of the dullest protagonists I've ever encountered. The story is way longer than it needs to be. The book felt like what could've been a serviceable short story stretched out a few hundred pages too long. Not much happens at New Hyde so in that respect the story would also have worked if it had been more character-driven. But instead you only get a few snippets of the truly interesting patients and far too much of Pepper.
Elaine G. (West Lafayette, IN)
The Devil in Silver
Difficult for me to properly review as I am not one who likes books involving mental hospitals. I do think those who like such will enjoy this book as it is well written and has a novel twist to the subject matter.
Christie K. (Hobbs, New Mexico)
The Devil in Silver
I must admit I didn't care for this book. The storyline seemed compelling at first, but over time, I got lost in the stereotypical behaviors of some of the characters, and in the way the book was written. I haven't read anything else Lavalle has done, but it seems, being a writer myself, he submitted an unfinished draft and had it published. Too many cheeky lines, exclamation points, and cliches that got in the way of the story. And, while it reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, I think it was modeled TOO much after it to be really interesting. I kept thinking of the movie instead of focusing on the plot. This book was disappointing to me. On a good note, I think the idea of the story was awesome.
Bob S. (Lawrenceburg, IN)
If you want to connect gentle humor with biting satire, wonderful insight into human character with a psychological thriller, then Victor LaValle's "The Devil in Silver" is your book. Even through the scenes of Gothic horror runs a affirmation of the goodness of human nature when we are free and able to make choice in the most difficult places--as Frankl points out, our lives have meaning as we give them meaning. Wonderful plot writing, fascinating characters, and the wacky bunch that make up this worthy successor to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Here you'll find the joy, despair, and hope of those in mental hospitals, but without the dark pessimism that pervades so much of the literature.
Monica G. (San Antonio, TX)
Is there any such thing as an "intellectual" horror story? Before I read, The Devil In Silver, I probably would have said, "Yes, but you don't see it often enough."
Don't think that because the bulk of this story occurs in a mental hospital, that you're going to read the typical "mental hospital" type story. And don't think because the Devil (yes, THAT devil) is a main character that you're going to read a typical horror story.
You will be reading an intelligent, witty, original story about a man who is committed to a 72 hour stay in a hospital psych ward that turns into a much longer stay than expected. You will be reading about a microcosm of life that is influenced by the people that inhabit the psych ward and the devil that influences them.
The dialogue is snappy. The characters are interesting. The storyline is engrossing. It is definitely worth the read.