People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?
“LaValle cleverly subverts Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos by imbuing a black man with the power to summon the Old Ones, and creates genuine chills with his evocation of the monstrous Sleeping King, an echo of Lovecraft’s Dagon… [The Ballad of Black Tom] has a satisfying slingshot ending.” – Elizabeth Hand for Fantasy & ScienceFiction
"[LaValle] reinvents outmoded literary conventions, particularly the ghettos of genre and ethnicity that long divided serious literature from popular fiction."
--Praise for The Devil in Silver from Elizabeth Hand, author of Radiant Days
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The real-life horror of racism meets the terrible power of ancient gods in Victor LaValle’s genre mashup masterpiece, set amid the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Tommy Tester is a young Black man supporting his disabled father as a street hustler, procuring powerful occult books for anyone who’ll pay. But when a job goes sideways, Tommy ends up drawing the attention of both a supernatural evil and the bigoted police. Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s openly racist short story “The Horror at Red Hook,” this unsettling listen is deeply scary whether you know the source material or not. Narrator Kevin R. Free does a good job with the novella’s unexpected changes in POV, instilling a growing feeling of confusion and dread. If you read or watched Lovecraft Country, do not miss The Ballad of Black Tom.