The Silverberg Business

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Cover art by Jon Langford.

“Certainly the strangest book I’ve ever read, and strangeness is a thing that I take to. The grotesque horrors, the impossibilities, the shifting scenes, Silverberg’s skull, the skull-heads, the wooden house that turns into a mansion without the detective finding it particularly odd. It is in fact a book not like anything I’ve ever read.” —John Crowley, author of Little, Big

In 1888, Shannon, a Chicago private detective, returns home to Galveston, Texas for a wedding. Galveston’s new rabbi asks Shannon to find Nathan Silverberg, gone missing along with a group of swindlers who claim to be soliciting money for a future colony of Romanian Jewish refugees.

What seems to be a simple job soon pushes Shannon into stranger territory. His investigations lead him to a malevolent white-haired gambler, monstrous sand dune totems, and a group of skull-headed poker players trapped in an endless loop of cards and alcohol, who may be his only means to survive the business.

With The Silverberg Business, Robert Freeman Wexler has delivered a gloriously strange hard-boiled tale that crosses genres and defies expectations.

Audio of me, reading with Victor LaValle at KGB, NYC, April 20, 2022.

Images from the making of The Silverberg Business.

Reviews and interviews.

Read the first chapter here.