“It’s the summer of 1974 and 21-year old Dawn Emerson has only three things she wants to do: compete one last time in the Ellensburg Rodeo, win back her ex-boyfriend Ryan, and become the best damn music journalist at Central Washington University. But all her plans are left in the dust when she’s contacted by Creem magazine to go on the road with one of her favorite groups, the up-and-coming metal band, Hybrid.
At first the assignment reads like a dream come true. Not only will Dawn land some much-needed credibility as a female music journalist, but she’ll finally get to experience life from the other side of the stage, and maybe crack the drunken, enigmatic code that is guitarist Sage Knightly. Instead, Dawn finds herself on an aging tour bus filled with ego-maniacs, band politics and a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. When monsters start showing up in dressing rooms and some of Sage’s groupies become increasingly strange and dangerous, Dawn discovers the band is not only going places – they’re going straight to Hell.
And Dawn has a backstage pass.
The Devil’s Metal is the first book in a two-part New Adult Horror/Paranormal Romance and very (very!) loosely based on the author’s exploits as a music journalist. Hell comes in different forms.” (description from Good Reads)
Karina Halle is known for her ever-growing series, Experiment in Terror. While Halle is still writing more books for EIT, she has also had time to write this very different novel. She has shown me as a reader that Perry and Dex aren’t the only characters I wish to follow along with.
I seem to always be drawn to a well written book that involves music in such a prominent way that The Devil’s Metal does. I feel that the way Halle has written the experience of touring with a metal band, written the shows, and the views of outsiders looking in on a 70’s band is very consistent with books I’ve read on similar topics. At first I wasn’t sure how a book set back a few decades would work, when the author herself wasn’t around to experience it first hand. She proved me wrong with that and I feel this novel had to take place in that decade. It fit perfectly.
Another aspect of the writing I greatly enjoyed was the characters. Sometimes in books there are a few well written, deep characters. You get to know them well and secondary characters seem to fall short in some way or another. That’s not the case here. There weren’t any characters in this book that seemed flat in the least. Even characters the reader might only see for a scene or two feel like they are very real. The reader’s able to get to know and enjoy everyone. Nothing seemed glossed over and this also helped in sympathizing for the characters, no matter how small their role was.
So, you get that this is about a rock band and a journalist. You can get that from reading the description. But what sets this book apart from some other book about touring with a band? I’ll make it simple. Think about the movie Almost Famous. It’s similar in the sense that a young aspiring journalist is touring with a band in the same era. Now act as if it were written by someone like Stephen King. Yea, fucked up right? The horror element of this story set it apart from anything else similar I’ve read. What I liked about it was that it seemed less on the paranormal side (as far as I’m used to in paranormal books) and more straight up horror. There’s a very real world feel to the novel. I never really expected anything abnormal to pop up. Then it did. But did it really? Were the characters just delusional or on drugs? Then it happens again, but I still was questioning it. I enjoy that. Sometimes I need a break from just accepting the fact that something paranormal or supernatural is common place for characters. Karina Halle KNOWS how to write horror into the real world expertly.
This is the first book in a two-part “series.” In ways I’d be happy having this as a stand alone, one book only story line. But I fell in love with the characters and will need to pick up the next book as soon as it comes out. I have a feeling the next book will knock me on my ass with more intensity. Things can only get even better from here!
If you’d like to start Halle’s Experiment in Terror series, you can grab Darkhouse (book #1) for FREE at the following stores:
For more on Karina Halle: