Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Devil of Echo Lake - by Douglas Wynne - Subtle horror with the devil, a ghost and a god

5 of 5 Stars

Back in June, I got to read The Void by Brett J. Tally, a very good mash-up of Science Fiction and Horror.  I gave it 5  of 5 Stars.  This week, I got to read The Devil of Echo Lake by Douglas Wynne, which I'm also giving 5 of 5 Stars.  What, pray tell, might these two books have in common (other than the fact that they both delivered the goods)?  It's their publisher JournalStone Books.  They really seem to be putting out some great material.  I received both of these as ARC's from, a great way to get free books.  But let's get back to today's read.

Billy Moon did not recall when he had sold his soul, it might have been the night he met Travor Rail.  That was the same night Billy was prepared to step off the Tobin Bridge.  Rail pulls up in a black limo, introduces himself as a record producer and asks Billy to get his guitar and step into the car.  Of course a deal is struck and Billy has to leave everything from his past behind, but since that time he's pretty much had all that he ever dreamed of.

It's several years later and Billy and his band are just coming off his successful "Lunatic" tour.  Now he is contractually obligated to prepare his next album.  Echo Lake is home to the recording studio where Billy will do just that under the guidance of Trevor Rail.  This is also where we meet Jake Campbell, brought on as an Engineering Assistant on the project and we meet the ghost that lives in the church converted to a studio.  There is a whole back story for the ghost which I won't get into here, but I love the notes repeated on the studio's baby grand.  Pretty creepy. 

Wynne does an excellent job in describing the recording sessions.  Driven, long, intense, crazy.  There are a lot of nice moments and inspired prose.  The primary engineer on the project is Kevin Brickhouse and Douglas Wynnn writes, "What Kevin Brickhouse saw next, he would not understand for the rest of his life, which was now the length of a song."  I'm a sucker for a good line.  The bit with the Ouija board tatoo is inspired and although I didn't follow it all there's the god in the woods that Billy discovers and communicates with.

Near the end, Wynne sums up the recording experience pretty well with, "You may find records are kind of like hot dogs.  You enjoy them a lot more before you know how they are made."

Douglas Wynne has been a writer, a musician and has returned to writing in a big way with The Devil of Echo Lake.  One of the better books of read in 2012 and one I won't soon forget.  Highly recommended.

There is a limited edition, signed, hard cover due out on October 12th, 2012.  Also to be available in paperback and e-book formats from JournalStone Books.  BTW, you can get a FREE e-book with your purchase of the hardcover or paperback versions. Something I think more publishers should consider doing.

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