Remember when you used to go to the neighborhood bookstore and browse the books? Some of you still do, but many don’t. It’s just the world we live in, right? If you really didn’t know anything about a book, how would you make a decision to buy it? You’d check out the cover. Some of you would even take a look at the author’s photo and give some weight to the his or her attractiveness while you were making your decision (don’t front: you know you did!). But mostly, you’d read a few pages to see if the story hooked you and made you want to take that book home.
So, similar to the way we’ve been posting musical tracks for you to hear, we’re going to start posting book excerpts for you to read. We’ll also give “Excerpts” its own subcategory under books: Over time, you’ll be able to jump directly to that area to see what we’ve highlighted. This way, you can decide for yourself if an author really grabs you, if the book really speaks to you. We’ll get started with Victor Lavalle’s The Devil In Silver, which one reviewer described as “part slapstick, part horror story.” The official description is as follows:
New Hyde Hospital’s psychiatric ward has a new resident. It also has a very, very old one.
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.
You can check out the first four chapters of the book here: