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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Deepest Black

ISBN: 978-1728223612

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Publication Date: 08/02/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars (ARC)

A crime novel unlike any you've ever read—based on true events

Where does the line blur between fact and fiction?

Acclaimed author Randall Silvis is looking for a story—any story to follow up the series of gripping mystery novels that catapulted him to success. And then, out of nowhere, a story appears. A mysterious stranger named Thomas Kennaday tips Silvis off about a series of murders in a small Pennsylvania town, sending Silvis off on a tentative investigation in hopes of finding material for his next novel.

What Silvis discovers is much more than a typical small-town murder case, and it soon becomes clear that Kennaday, who seems to have disappeared into thin air, is somehow pulling the strings of the investigation from behind the scenes. Based on true events, The Deepest Black is a profoundly thoughtful, unsettling read, and a crime novel unlike any you've ever read before.

Based on true events, THE DEEPEST BLACK is unlike any crime novel you have ever read. It is the 25th book from internationally acclaimed author Randall Silvis.

My Review

International bestselling author Randall Silvis delivers his 25th novel, THE DEEPEST BLACK, inspired by true events—a mind-bending journey where the lines are blurred between fact and fiction.

The book starts out strong and intriguing with the narrator, Randall Silvis (yes, himself), a crime novelist at a Chinese buffet.

He is approached by Thomas Kennaday and begins to tell a wild story about connections between a triple murder and a discovery of an abandoned baby.

He wants Silvis to look into the case.

Silvis, who lives in Pennsylvania's rural Mercer County, is searching for a subject for his next book, and when this guy provides him with details, he is intrigued.

Kennaday does not provide clear answers. Silvis cannot locate him after the conversation. Who is this man, and how does he know these things?

He seems to know what Silvis will do. The other clues wind up being frustrating.

Also frustrating for the reader, as well.

From here on out, I was lost. The book took a wacky downward spiral into conspiracy theories, men in black, UFOs, hells angels, paranormal, men in black, secret agencies that use time travel, aliens, Dan Aykroyd, New Age, realities, and all sorts of outlandish wild events.

Even though this is a favorite author of mine and a big fan, and I enjoyed his Ryan DeMarco series, a talented writer—however, this novel was definitely NOT my cup of tea. I was so looking forward to this one.

I thought it was going to be a crime thriller. Not paranormal. The set up was good and went downhill from there. It is not a classic whodunnit or mystery. It is bizarre. I really do not have words to describe or try to review this novel adequately. I am being generous with the 3 star rating. My head is spinning, what is this? There are no words. Unfortunately, this one just did not work for me


There may be a market for this genre; however, I am not one of those readers. Many fans may be shaking their heads in wonder. Hopefully, Silvis will be back with his riveting crime/literary thrillers soon. I give him credit for being a risk taker. I look forward to picking up his next book. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this one.

Thank you to #PoisonedPenPress and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, enjoy, and review.

About the Author

Randall Silvis is the multi-genre author of nineteen critically acclaimed novels, three story collections, and two books of creative nonfiction. He was the first Pennsylvanian to win the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize (1984), and was chosen for that award by author Joyce Carol Oates. His work has been published in over a hundred editions in several languages.

Also a prize-winning playwright and produced screenwriter, Randall’s work has appeared on Best of the Year lists from the New York Times, the Toronto Globe & Mail,, Strand magazine, and the International Association of Crime Writers, and has been hailed as “masterful” not only by the New York Times Book Review but also by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Mystery Scene magazine, and several other review sources. His two novels from 2017, (Two Days Gone and Only the Rain) were Amazon #1 Bestsellers in Psychological Suspense.

Silvis has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, and was a two-time Hammett Prize finalist for literary excellence in the field of crime writing (for An Occasional Hell and Two Days Gone.) The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, and six writing fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and in 2001 received the same honor from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2007 IUP bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for “a sustained record of distinguished literary achievement.”

Check out an essay and interview with Randall Silvis

Guest Blog: "A Year of Magical Reading"

Elevator Q&A: "A Long Way Down"

Click on images to read

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