Customer Reviews for

The Devil in Silver

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

I love being surprised, and this may be one of the most surprisi

I love being surprised, and this may be one of the most surprising books
I’ve ever read. When I picked up The Devil in Silver, I was expecting a
traditional horror story set in a mental institution. Technically that’s
what this is, but not in the ways you might be think...
I love being surprised, and this may be one of the most surprising books
I’ve ever read. When I picked up The Devil in Silver, I was expecting a
traditional horror story set in a mental institution. Technically that’s
what this is, but not in the ways you might be thinking. The Devil in
Silver has horror elements for sure, but there are so many touching
human moments in the story that a reader might easily be fooled into
believing this is literary fiction. But it's so much more than that.
LaValle has created something special by blending complex character
studies and a horrific presence that may or may not be human into one
seamless and engaging story. Pepper is having a bad day. He’s just been
arrested for punching a cop, but instead of being taken to the police
station, the three cops from the altercation bring him to the New Hyde
mental hospital. Once he’s checked in and told he must remain there for
a 72-hour waiting period, Pepper grudgingly accepts his fate and goes
about settling in. But due to some highly potent pills that he is forced
to take three times a day, the 72 hours stretches into months, and
Pepper realizes that in order to get out of the loony bin, he’s going to
have to try to break out. His long days and nights in New Hyde are
filled with getting to know his quirky inmates, including his roommate
Coffee, an older woman named Dorry who greets Pepper when he arrives,
and a young teenaged girl named Loochie who is full of unfocused rage
but hides a vulnerable spirit. The four become partners in crime as they
try again and again to escape the high barbed-wire walls of the
hospital, sometimes with tragic results. But lurking somewhere on the
second floor is a creature who might be the devil, a monstrous man-beast
with cloven hooves and the head of a bison, at least that’s what it
looks like to Pepper. Dorry, Coffee and Loochie have all seen the beast
as well, and whatever it is, it’s dangerous. Pepper and his friends
devise a drug-addled plan to not only escape New Hyde, but possibly kill
the devil before they go. One of my favorite scenes happens late in the
book after a suicide. In order for the police to complete their
investigation, the patients must leave the facility temporarily, so the
orderlies take them on a walk to a nearby pizza parlor. The absurdity of
this scene, where the inmates focus not on the opportunity to run away,
but on the anticipation of eating pizza in a restaurant outside, is a
great example of the irony-filled moments that LaValle scatters
throughout his book. The book is filled with memorable scenes that
really have nothing to do with the “devil” of the title, surprisingly
enough, and are the things I’ll remember most about The Devil in Silver.
At first I thought the introduction of a new character half-way through
was a bad idea, but when Pepper gets together with a Chinese woman named
Sue, LaValle sets up one of the book’s most poignant moments. I won’t
tell you how the story ends, but believe me when I say the ending is
perfect, as the author uses The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh as a
catalyst for Pepper’s redemption. Even the final revelation of the
meaning behind the book’s title gave me goose bumps, and not the scary
kind. My only worry for The Devil in Silver is that it won’t find its
audience. This book deserves all kinds of attention, and I hope the
label of “horror” does not scare off potential readers. Many thanks to
Random House Publishing Group for supplying a review copy.

posted by tamsparks on August 21, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Juliet

Her eyes twinkle. "Dont know. Anything in mind?"

posted by Anonymous on September 12, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    Good read

    Interesting character development

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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