Shannon, a detective working for the Llewelyn Agency out of Chicago, is recruited to find missing money intended to purchase land in Texas for refugee Romanian Jews. It seems like a straightforward job for a straightforward man. Shannon is a methodical thinker who has family in Galveston. But while his thoughts are those of a careful, entirely rational man, his dreams are not. As he becomes involved in what he calls The Silverberg Business, the weird begins edging in, first in dreams, but does not confine itself to his hours of unconsciousness. Readers will experience a similar expansion. Robert Freeman Wexler’s novel The Silverberg Business is mind-boggling in content, and in its unique ability to entertainingly take reader places they’d never expect to go.
Wexler’s prose carefully matches the mindset of his narrator; he’s modest, unassuming and smart as hell. The latter proves to be helpful, as hell or portions adjacent appear to be encroaching on this world, particularly in the vicinity of Galveston. Pay attention to the evocative cover image of John Langford (from The Mekons), as this fellow and a few of his buddies show up early and often. There’s an otherworld journey that readers of Carlos Casteneda and H. P. Lovecraft will enjoy more than Shannon, as well as a poker game you’ll need to read to believe. Wexler’s brilliant writing makes all this utterly seamless, and seriously fun.
Wexler’s novel is heavily and enjoyably informed by the real and colorful history of Texas circa 1888-1900-something. He manages to get more than a few big thinks in but keeps the plot humming an oddly joyful tune. Even though a hefty portion of the novel unfolds in relatively realistic places and times, there’s no denying that this is likely the most delightfully weird novel you’re likely to have laid hands on in recent memory. Better still, it does not wear its weird on its sleeve. The Silverberg Business just does what the world it creates requires. It’s uniquely novelistic, and the effects it creates in readers’ minds are the province of the written word. Mystery, western, weird fiction, there’s no description that fits it better than The Silverberg Business. It’s an excellent investment of valuable reading time.
Robert Freeman Wexler calls himself The Laconic Writer, and when you hear him speak you can understand the veracity of this statement. He always chooses his words carefully, and you can download the evidence from this link, or listen to the unredacted audio evidence below.