Silver Nitrate

Del Rey: Ballantine. Jul. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780593355367. $28. HORROR
Montserrat is the only woman working as an audio editor in the old boys’ club of Mexico City’s B-film industry in the 1990s; her childhood friend Tristán is a former soap star whose life was turned upside down when he was disfigured in a car crash that killed his girlfriend and costar. Montserrat and Tristán are barely getting by when they meet Tristán’s neighbor, one of their favorite directors, whose career was ruined when he was unable to complete a film for a Nazi occultist who practiced eugenics. The director wants their help to finish the scene that holds the final spell that the occultist promised would bring them all great fortune. But once they agree, a dangerous magic is reawakened. Moreno-Garcia effortlessly delivers the details of place and Montserrat and Tristán’s complicated personal relationship without sacrificing the novel’s compelling pace and intriguing plot, one that contemplates racism and sexism.
VERDICT Moreno-Garcia (The Daughter of Doctor Moreau) has written a love letter to Mexico City’s film industry and an excellent entry into the popular horror subgenre of occult films. Suggest to fans of The Shoemaker’s Magician by Cynthia Pelayo, Experimental Film by Gemma Files, and The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman.
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