Pepper is a rambunctious big man, and, suddenly, the surprised inmate of a budget-strapped mental institution in Queens, New York. He's not mentally ill, but that doesn't seem to matter. On his first night, he's visited by a terrifying creature who nearly kills him before being hustled away by the hospital staff. It's no delusion: The other patients confirm that a hungry devil roams the hallways when the sun goes down.
Pepper rallies three other inmates in a plot to fight back: Dorry, an octogenarian schizophrenic; Coffee, an African immigrant with severe OCD; and Loochie, a bipolar teenage girl. Battling the pill-pushing staff, one another, and their own minds, they try to kill the monster that's stalking them. But can the Devil die?
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intriquing premise, so-so plotline
Certainly it's a challenge to write a book that takes place in one setting alone. I got a little bored in there.
Premise is compelling - guy gets arrested and thrown into a mental hospital even though it seems everyone, himself, cops, doctors, knows he's not sick.The main conflict flatlines - man/beast patient terrorizes other patients.
Yes, very much so. It's an interesting story how he drew his characters, which LaValle speaks to in his acknowledgments and also talked about to Terry Gross on NPR.