NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the author of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau and Mexican Gothic comes a fabulous meld of Mexican horror movies and Nazi occultism: a dark thriller about the curse that haunts a legendary lost film—and awakens one woman’s hidden powers.
“No one punctures the skin of reality to reveal the lurking, sinister magic beneath better than Silvia Moreno-Garcia.”—Kiersten White, author of Hide
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, BookPage, Book Riot
Montserrat has always been overlooked. She’s a talented sound editor, but she’s left out of the boys’ club running the film industry in ’90s Mexico City. And she’s all but invisible to her best friend, Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, though she’s been in love with him since childhood.
Then Tristán discovers his new neighbor is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he can change their lives—even if his tale of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.
Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse . . . but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her, and Tristán begins seeing the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.
As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristán may find that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Set in the early-’90s Mexican film industry, Silver Nitrate makes moviemaking feel like a dark art. The gripping story revolves around Montserrat, a film editor who’s bumping her head on the glass ceiling, and her friend Tristán, a former soap star trying to resurrect his acting career. When the two meet Abel Urueta, an aging horror director who believes he’s been cursed since his last film was left unfinished, they sign up to help him complete the ill-fated project—and arouse the powerful magic that’s embedded in the silver nitrate print. As usual, Silvia Moreno-Garcia creates a cinematic, haunting story steeped in a wonderfully creepy atmosphere. This is a perfect late-night read that’s scary but never horrifying.
Bestseller Moreno-Garcia (The Daughter of Doctor Moreau) takes readers behind the scenes of 1993 Mexico City's horror movie industry in this powerful and chilling thrill ride. Lifelong film buffs Montserrat and Tristán have remained best friends since childhood, though their lives take very different turns, with Montserrat going into the underpaid, male-dominated audio editing space and Tristán rising to and falling from soap opera stardom. Tristán finds a similarly fallen friend in his new neighbor, Abel Urueta, a once legendary director whose career was destroyed by the unfinished mess of his last film. Abel claims the screenplay was written by Nazi occultist Wilhelm Ewers, who meant to use the film to cast a luck spell, but following Ewers's sudden death the spell was inverted. Abel convinces Montserrat and Tristán that finishing the film with him will finish the original spell and bring them all luck—only for their endeavors to draw forth something very different from the dark. Combining real history with unsettling magic, Moreno-Garcia effortlessly ties explorations of misogyny, addiction, antisemitism, and racism into a plot that never falters from its breakneck pace. The narrative shifts effortlessly between fantasy, horror, and romance, helmed by a well-shaded cast. The complex female characters are particular standouts. This is a knockout.