All The Lonely People HardcoverAll The Lonely People
David B. Silva

Signed, Limited Edition
Delirium Books, 2003, $45.00, 201 pp
Review by Wayne C. Rogers

This first paragraph is going to be embarrassing for me. You see, I’ve known of David B. Silva as a writer for twenty years; yet, I’m ashamed to say, I’d never read anything by him. Why? Hell if I know. I have dozens and dozens of books by other authors who I haven’t read as of yet. I buy books I intend to read and then never get around to them because I have so many to catch up on. One day, before I kick the bucket, I hope to read everything I own.

Okay, what made me decide to finally read All the Lonely People? That’s an easy question to answer. I tried starting a new novel last weekend by an author I’d never read before and couldn’t get more than five pages into the book. I hate that, especially when books cost so much money. It’s like throwing dollar bills into the wind. I wanted to like the novel, but there were simply too many adverbs and adjectives in each sentence. I felt as if the author was struggling too hard to sound like a writer, instead of being a writer.

I then picked up the limited edition of Silva’s All the Lonely People, read the first two pages and found myself hooked. The prose wasn’t in your face, but rather subtle and to the point. In other words, Silva was more interested in telling a damn good story, rather than sounding someone who writes literary fiction for a living. Another thing I loved about the book was its short chapters. I hate really long chapters because I read in short spurts and like to finish where a new chapter begins. You can’t do that with a long chapter.

Well, when I completed All the Lonely People, I had a pleasant, satisfied feeling of having discovered a new author I’d been missing for two decades. I immediately started looking on the Internet for other novels by David Silva. Let me tell you, they’re hard to find. I think people are hoarding them, and I can understand why. You’re going to have to bonk me on the head with a frying pan to pry All the Lonely People out of my hands.

So, what about the book? How is it?

The story centers around Chase Hanford, who owns a bar called The Last Stop. An elderly man carrying a box under his arm enters the bar one night. None of the locals recognize him. It isn’t long, however, before everyone wants to know what’s in the box. Chase is the only one suspicious of the guy. For some reason he doesn’t fully understand, Chase doesn’t trust the old man or what’s inside the box. In fact, Chase turns away when the box is finally opened and doesn’t receive the full effects of what’s inside of it. From that point on, everything begins to change in Chase’s world and in the worlds of the locals who viewed the contents of the box.

The next day, Chase finds himself wearing sunglasses to avoid the bright light he encounters during the daytime. He can’t seem to sleep or eat; yet, he zones out when least expected, then wakes up, and doesn’t know where he’s been. He’s gradually losing all of his memories and has to constantly place Post-its around the bar and in the car to help him remember things. His wife and ill daughter don’t have the slightest clue as to what’s happening, and he doesn’t know how to explain the transition to them. He can’t even explain it to himself.

Tracking down the other people who were in the bar on that night, Chase discovers they’re even crazier than he is. They think something is after them and don’t know how to escape. Of course, it isn’t long before he starts seeing strange, black shapes out the corner of his eye. That’s when he realizes he has to track down the man with the box and find out how to reverse things.

Storytelling is what it’s all about, and David B. Silva tells one dynamite story. I finished All the Lonely People in just four days, which is fast for me with my limited reading time. I found myself enjoying all the characters and felt like I knew them from somewhere in my past. I felt comfortable with them, especially Chase’s family. At no time could I guess where the story was heading, which is the sign of a very talented writer. He keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, but doesn’t allow the reader to outguess him. The prose was sharp, yet clean and simple so one didn’t stumble over the words or have to re-read a sentence. Best of all, the ending was wrapped up in a way that left me fully satisfied and not scratching my head in confusion.

Most of Silva’s fiction can found as an e-book, but finding the print format of his fiction is a lot harder. I’m a book person and like to read while sitting on the couch or having lunch at work. I like seeing the book up on my bookshelf. I have to tell you that a book looks much better than Kindle.

Anyway, if you haven’t read David B. Silva before, this is the time to start. You can go to his website and sign up to receive his free short stories. This is an author who needs to be writing again … to have his voice heard throughout the dark, quiet night, beckoning you to stop and listen because you instinctively know something good and utterly terrifying is coming.

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