Book Review: “Silver Nitrate” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Full Disclosure I was provided a NetGalley copy of this book, however, have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Silver Nitrate is scheduled for a July 18, 2023 release.

A Suspenseful Slow Burner

Montserrat is a sound mixer and is quite good at what she does, but in a mostly male dominated profession she is finding it harder and harder to get ahead. Her lifelong friend and unrequited love Tristan is a struggling actor. Once the darling of the telenovela industry, he has fallen from grace after a horrific car crash killed his costar girlfriend and left his face altered. Together the pair make an odd combination, but with both being outcasts to an extent they have always watched out for each other. When Tristan moves to new apartment building he discovers that his upstairs neighbor is none other than Abel Urueta a horror movie icon from the past and one of Montserrat’s biggest idols. Together the two befriend the semi reclusive man and are treated to stories of the silver screen. But when the talk turns to Urueta’s enigmatic unfinished film, the intrigue mounts. Urueta weaves a tale of the occult, and a time approximately 30 years prior when charismatic Nazi sympathizer Wilhelm Ewers fled to Mexico and insinuated himself in the film making industry. Gathering rich and influential followers, Ewers believed that the silver nitrate film could be used as a medium to cast an elaborate spell.  With Urueta and his circle of friends following Ewer’s lead they were promised fame, wealth, and good fortune once the spell was complete. But when Ewers met an untimely death the film remained unfinished with several of the prints either destroyed or lost. Urueta feels that as a result of this unfinished spell he is living under a curse, but being in possession of one of the lost film’s reels he enlists Montserrat and Tristan’s help in completing the final scene of the film to close the circle and restore his luck. But once finished, strange things start to happen. As Montserrat and Tristan dig deeper they discover that Ewers’ inner circle is still thriving, and his followers are more numerous than ever. They want the finished film for their own purposes and will stop at nothing to obtain it.  

Silver Nitrate is the newest book by author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Once again calling upon her roots she has crafted a suspenseful slow burner that is sure to captivate. The main narrative follows Montserrat, a talented sound editor and horror movie buff and her best friend Tristan. The duo is used to living a normal life where nothing exciting happens to them and everything is exactly as it seems or can be explained away by camera angles and special effects. When the two are thrust into a world of the occult, strange rituals, and magic they cannot believe that all of this exists just under the surface. The duo must adapt quickly and think on their feet if they are going to survive and for Montserrat, that is fighting fire with fire. Silver Nitrate is a classic suspenseful slow burner leading up to an explosive conclusion that will have the reader staying up late in the night to finish.

This is the third book I have read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia having first been introduced to her work by her noir thriller Velvet Was the Night and then last year’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. One thing that I have noticed as a general theme in her books aside from all being set in her home country of Mexico is that there is always at least one strong willed female character to drive the plot and is usually the focus. This for me is very refreshing to see and I hope that this is an ongoing theme as I plan on reading as many of Moreno-Garcia’s books that I can get my hands on. If you like suspenseful thrillers and the nostalgia of old school horror movies Silver Nitrate is the perfect read to get your heart pumping and have you looking over your shoulder for at least a few days after you have finished.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s