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July 18, 2023

Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ~ a Review

by MK French

Montserrat is a talented but overlooked sound editor left out of the boys’ club in ’90s Mexico City. Her best friend Tristán is a faded soap opera star that she's been in love with since childhood. Tristán discovers his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, who says his career was cursed by magic film created by a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock. Urueta wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him finish his film and lift the curse. Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend. The two now must figure out the truth of the film and the obscure occultist before it's too late.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of suspense novel Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
July 2023; Del Rey; 978-0593355367
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); suspense

Both Montserrat and Tristán are down on their luck in the beginning: she's low on money to help her sister and he just broke up with his girlfriend, necessitating the move. Both are old-time movie buffs, especially horror, so meeting Urueta and talking about the movie scene from the 1960s brings up the fact that Nazi occultists came to Mexico as well as South America, and one such occultist created a spell using three scenes that would be deliberately inserted into a movie Urueta made. It was never finished, and he feels that if Montserrat and Tristán help, they will get the good luck the movie was meant to give the original cast. It doesn't quite work out that way, of course, and that's when we really get down to business.

Once we hit the halfway point, the book begins to be as much mystery as it is occult, and it's next to impossible to put down. There's enough plausibility from history to make the foundation of the story feel real, then it's amplified by the creepy shenanigans and the fact that any graffiti could be runes of power scattered across Mexico City. Who's following Montserrat and Tristán? Who will get the film to complete the spell? And will our characters survive? The inevitable showdown is spectacular and like a movie, exactly as the book is structured and in keeping with their love of old movies. 

Buy Silver Nitrate at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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