If you don’t like savage killing, descriptive sex acts and profanity, this isn’t for you. If you do like them, then please, enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a rough one.
– from Introduction, Billy Silver by Daniel J. Volpe
I am really into horror at the moment. It’s almost horrible. Almost. And the more extreme the better. I don’t know why, but I find it relaxing. This week we’re looking into another member of the Written in Red Podcast – the horror reader’s and the horror writer’s podcast – Daniel J. Volpe and his book Billy Silver.
I enjoy listening to the podcast while playing Stardew Valley, so I do name my animals after these authors. I named one of my pigs after Volpe.
This is Trigger Warning Wednesday, so if you’re squeamish, skip this blog post 🙂
Trigger warnings: Violence, murder, self-mutilation, drug abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Title: Billy Silver
Author: Daniel J. Volpe
Genre: Horror | Splatterpunkt
Published: 17th of November 2020
Length: 143 pages
ABOUT THE BOOK
Billy Silver, a low-life, self-downtrodden junkie, needs some cash to get his next fix. After getting kicked out of his own band, losing his girlfriend, and left with no other options, he decides to sell his flesh to the ink of a needle at a newly opening tattoo shop.
The mysterious artist, Talia, tattoos a cryptic design he’s never seen.
Shortly after getting inked, compulsions burn underneath his skin. His need to satisfy a newly arisen addiction to self-mutilation begins a descent into darker places than his miserable life never dared go.
Eventually, violence against himself is no longer enough to satisfy his cravings. The urge to commit the grotesque brings his brutal tendencies to others… To strangers, to acquaintances, to his prostitute ex-girlfriend…
When Billy finds out his band replaced him, with a new vocalist singing his lyrics on stage, Billy’s desires reach their peak, and Talia, behind the fire of his rage, bears witness to all.
My thoughts about the book
For me, there are three key characters in the book: Billy Silver, the perhaps soon to be ex-lead singer of the band Shit Fist (if he doesn’t get his act together); his girl, Jeannie, a young woman who has lost herself to her addiction; and lastly, Talia, the tattoo artist – who is an important part for the story, but we don’t get to know her the same way as we do Billy and Jeanine, so I won’t get too much into her character in this review. That’s why I have to read another Volpe title named “Talia” ;P
With the title of the book being “Billy Silver” I thought we were only getting Billy Silver, however, I was pleasantly surprised with the extra attention Jeannie gets. When we get someone as unlikable as Billy, it’s nice to take a break from his shittiness. We get to take a break from an asshole in the lovely depressing arms of Jeanine.
Volpe knows how to write a character to hate. Billy Silver is a properly unlikable dude. From the first few pages, I was like “girl! What are you doing with that asshole?! You can do so much better!”😭 I felt so sorry for Jeannie, the sort-of girlfriend of Billy. He doesn’t even consider her his girlfriend. She’s as dependent on him as she’s dependent on her addiction. And this is something that I think Volpe does extremely well. The way he writes his characters can be so infuriating and that is how I know it’s written well – because he very much does it on purpose! Billy is not supposed to be a character we care for. Jeanine, however, is someone we care for – at least I do. These are two different people, both are self-destructive in their own ways, and for both, it is out of their control.
Now, you might ask me “but, Avi, why have you only given this book 3.5 stars if you love the way the characters are written?” And I’ll tell you why. The ending of the book. For me, it is not a satisfying ending. The ending left me with a feeling of “…okay?” During this part of the review, I’ll try not to spoil too much, but I just did not get the feeling that Billy got what he deserved. Or rather, it wasn’t as extreme as I wanted it to be. But, it’s not only the ending for Billy I find dissatisfying but the ending for Jeanine as well. I am very well aware, that this opinion might be more personal. So, for my own sanity’s sake, I would have liked a different ending for her, but I understand and appreciate Volpe’s ability to make me experience this. If Volpe wanted to, I bet he could drag this feeling out and hit us all with a tonne of bricks of depression, like Shindo L did with Metamorphosis. But I think this also speaks to why I haven’t bumped this up to a proper 4-star review. I care more about the ending of Jeannie than I do about the ending of Billy.
My favourite part
The writing. Even though I am not totally in love with the story, I do enjoy the way that Volpe writes.
When Shit Fist auditions a new lead singer there’s just this awesome feeling between the band members. An amazing optimism, before shit, hits the fan.
My least favourite part
The ending. The ending was unsatisfying and I would have loved to see the main character suffer some more. I’d love to have seen Billy suffer and see something better for Jeanine. That last one is more for my own personal reasons.
Who’d enjoy this?
Perverts and sick fuckers who aren’t in a headspace where they might get affected by subjects like depression, self-loathing and addiction. If either of these triggers you, then this is not a read for you.
About the author: Daniel J. Volpe
Daniel J. Volpe is an author of extreme horror and splatterpunk. His love for horror started at a young age when his grandfather unwittingly rented him, “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Daniel has published with D&T publishing, Potter’s Grove, The Evil Cookie Publishing, and self-published. He can be found on Facebook @ Daniel Volpe, Instagram @ dj_volpe_horror and Twitter @DJVolpeHorror.
Apparently, he’s short but buff and author Aron Beauregard finds him fine as fuck when he carries around boxes of books.