Literature by Randall Silvis               


In a Town Called Mundomuerto

"This beautiful, melancholy novella from Silvis (Doubly Dead) unfolds as a timeless Central American seaside fable from the shifting memories of an old man with only a 15-year-old boy as his tireless audience. The man, called Grandfather Alberto, recalls his passion for Lucia Luna, who once (when she was 17 and he was two years younger) thrilled the village men with her melodious voice and seductive beauty. Now a mad vieja (old woman), Lucia had fended off male attention until a visiting stranger named Arcadio Martín seduced her at a dance and vanished after impregnating her. The fishing villagers blame Lucia when their luck takes an extraordinary downturn, believing Arcadio to be a "dolphin-man" or shape-shifting "angel of the sea," and his tryst with Lucia to be the source of the town's misfortune. After the mysterious death of a jealous widow who tagged Lucia a bruja (witch), Alberto remains her only defender. His subsequent journey leads to a heartbreaking revelation. A masterful storyteller, Silvis doesn't waste a word in this tale about "the tart nectar of memory's flower."- Publishers Weekly



On Night's Shore

"Fans of Caleb Carr's historical mysteries will lap up this well-told tale of murder, mayhem, poetry, prose, and political corruption in mid-19th- century New York. The poetry and prose comes from Edgar Allan Poe, the mayhem from young Augie Dubbins, a street urchin befriended by Poe when he leads the writer to the body of a murdered girl trapped under a pier in the Hudson River. The unlikely duo join forces, visiting the darkest, dirtiest slums and opium dens of the city as well as its glittering mansions to track down the story behind the death of Mary Rogers, a shop girl whose connection with the power brokers of the city is at the heart of this literary mystery. Augie's love for Poe, who seems like the father he never had, drives the narrative as strongly as the inner demons that beset the struggling poet, encountered here a decade before his final descent into the darkness he so brilliantly depicted. Although Poe's death is foreshadowed here (the story is told from the perspective of an Augie grown old after his own career as a writer), it doesn't detract from the immediacy of the story or the emotional resonance of the relationship between an unlikely pair of heroes this reader strongly hopes to meet again". --Jane Adams, Amazon.com



Disquiet Heart
and Doubly Dead


Doubly Dead is the paperback re-issue of Disquiet Heart

Set in 1847, seven years after the events portrayed in the well-received
On Night's Shore (2000), this worthy follow-up again places Edgar Allan Poe in circumstances where his familiarity with the dark side of human nature comes in handy. Poe's wife has just died, and he and his protege, narrator Augie Dubbins, are visiting Pittsburgh at the invitation of a fan, Dr. Brunrichter, who takes an oddly intense interest in Poe's writings, ideas, and especially in his health. Poe seems more and more listless and vacant the longer he stays, and the doctor seems determined to take over as Poe's preferred companion. Meanwhile, young women are disappearing from the streets of Pittsburgh, but it is not until tragedy affects them directly that Augie and Poe begin to question the goodness of the good Dr. Brunrichter. Silvis sensitively depicts human emotion here, particularly Poe's grief and the deep bond between Poe and Augie. Careful historical details and appropriately nineteenth-century-style prose also help to bring this extremely creepy thriller to vivid life. -Carrie Bissey, Booklist


Heart So Hungry
and North of Unknown


North of Unknown is the American re-issue of Heart So Hungry  

A gripping cold weather, true-life adventure,
Heart So Hungry tells the story of a race across Labrador and one woman’s determination — inspired by grief and fed by outrage — to set the record straight.    A remarkable adventure, a love story and a thrilling race are all front and centre in this account of how one woman’s devotion to her late husband’s memory transformed Mina Hubbard from a rural Ontario nurse into the most celebrated female explorer of her time.    In 1903, following an ambitious expedition to map the interior of Labrador, Mina’s husband, Leonidas, dies of starvation in a cold, boggy, wind-scoured landscape. Allegations surface that the expedition failed because of Hubbard’s incompetence, so Dillon Wallace, Leonidas’ partner on the failed expedition, decides to honour a promise that he made to Hubbard to complete the route that they had been supposed to take. When Mina Hubbard discovers what Wallace has planned, she doubts his motives and decides to mount her own Labrador expedition and to beat Wallace to the finish line. Driven by her devotion, Mina wins the race, beating Wallace by a month and a half, and becomes in the process the first white woman to make contact with the elusive Naskapis Indians.    Using original, unpublished source material, as well as books written by the main actors in the drama, novelist Randall Silvis pieces together a narrative of the race between Wallace and Mina Hubbard, as well as the fateful first expedition of Wallace and Leonidas Hubbard. -Taken from the Hardcover Edition of Heart So Hungry


Mysticus

In 1949 Ronald Shepard, the son of servants to a millionaire playboy living on a private island off the coast of South Carolina, meets Marilyn Monroe. This begins the child's movement from innocence to the eventual experience that results in an obsession with sex, power, greed and ambition that shapes the rest of his life. In 2001 seventeen-year-old Cassandra DeRoy has been employed in the world's oldest profession for three years. A dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe, Cassie stands at a street corner one night when Ronald spots her. Remembering his encounter with Marilyn so many years ago, Ronald picks her up and takes her home. He proves to be the gentlest man she'd ever met. In 2018 sixteen-year-old Ginger Todd faces the ugliest elements of her society. Disgusted with her past, Ginger sees no hope of improvement for her future. Adopted to people who don't understand her, Ginger finds herself pregnant and seeking answers to her identity in the journals of her alcoholic mother. For a brief moment, she realizes she had actually been valued, that her existence had not always been an inconvenience and an annoyance. -Amazon.com



An Occasional Hell

Now a Major Motion Picture starring Tom Beringer and Valeria Golino

After a hail of bullets knocked him out of the P.I. game, Ernest DeWalt winds up teaching literature courses in a nearly comatose college town. But when a fellow faculty member--in the throes of a fling with the wife of a small-time rock singer--ends up with a musket ball in his brain, DeWalt is forced to crawl out of his shell and play his P.I. game one more time.
-MurderExpress.net



Dead Man Falling

False identities, the persistence of memory, and the refusal to admit that love can not save you, combine in a razor-edged crime novel that establishes Randall Silvis as one of the preeminent practitioners of the literary art. The hero of this novel, Mac Parris, isn't who he appears to be. A wildlife photographer living under an assumed name, he knows firsthand that the most dangerous animal of all is the one behind the camera. He has spent his adult life hiding from the FBI and his own past, while locked in a feverish pursuit of revenge. Although a master of self-denial, Parris has not learned to subdue the one quality that might prove his undoing: his compassion for the other wounded creatures with whom he shares this planet. So when a young woman with secrets of her own asks for help in finding her brother's killer, Parris puts his own safety at stake -- along with his freedom, and maybe even his soul. -Amazon.com



Under the Rainbow

Donald's friend Jerry dropped dead of a heart attack while parasailing on a honeymoon with wife number five. His friend Wright is in hiding, seeking to come to grips with the news that he (Wright, that is) is dying of prostate cancer. His son Travis repeatedly attempts to commit suicide; his mistress is a control freak; and his married life isn't so hot right now either. "The drum major of despair," Donald views life as "a novel of misfortune... accidents and errors, opportunities missed, dreams lost, faith as diffuse as the smog." Out of this bleak material, the author of An Occasional Hell (Permanent Pr., 1992) has molded a goofy, sly, poking novel that could be one of the funniest books of the year. It is about human resilience as much as human oddness, and its message is ultimately upbeat. Highly recommended.- David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus




Also by Randall Silvis...

The Luckiest Man in the World
Excelsior
Chasing the Boo: A Writer's Life
Blood and Ink
...and many more.