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Search tags: Todd-Keisling
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review 2017-08-10 00:00
Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors
Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors - ... Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors - Todd Keisling Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors by Todd Keisling is a collection of stories that explore what happens when people are pushed to their limits.The first story called A Man In Your Garden sets up the anthology perfectly. It’s about a man who believes a stranger is standing on his lawn. The man is scared but is there, someone, really out there or does he have an overactive imagination. I love how this story shows that sometimes we are our worst enemy.

Another good story here is Saving Granny From The Devil, this is a coming of age story where a young kid name Todd gets help from the devil. Flash forward a few years and the devil is coming for Todd’s Granny and Todd makes a deal to save her. The problem is that while Todd’s heart is in the right place, he may have made the wrong decision. We then see how his actions affected his life and his Granny’s. What I like about this story is the idea presented that love lasts forever and maybe the devil isn’t such a bad guy. Todd Keisling shows that he has a gift for creating deep characters that you can’t help but care for even when they do wrong.

My favorite story in this collection is When Karen Met Her Mountain. Karen comes from a religious father who recently died and not too long ago she had a miscarriage that she hasn’t mentally recovered from. Tragedy strikes when a religious cult shows up and kidnaps her husband. The Cult is messing with the wrong woman and Karen is going to make them pay. I liked how you see Karen’s personality change as she hunts down her victims and then towards the end we find out that her therapist believed something like this would happen if the wrong trigger was pulled. The ending of this one really surprised me, this is a woman pushed to the edge and comes out stronger and more vicious.

The last story in the collection is a novella called The Final Reconciliation. It’s about a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings, four kids with big dreams set out on their first tour. Little did they know that their first album would only be heard once and would cause the death of nearly 200 people. This story is a twist on an old mythology and a story of four kids achieving their dreams and worst nightmares at the same time.This is another coming of age story as the kids are working to leave the rough backgrounds that they come from.

Ugly Little Things is a book about the human spirit but the human spirit doesn’t always triumph. Even when you get what you want there is a dark side to it and that’s what Ugly Little Things is about. This is a book that’s shocking and disturbing but most of all it’s a look at what happens to people when they can’t handle the horror of life.
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review 2017-04-20 00:00
The Final Reconciliation
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling Thirty years ago a new progressive rock band exploded onto the music scene called The Yellow Kings. The band was made up of 4 teenagers with big dreams who released an ep and toured America, eventually landing a record contract. Along the way, they meet a young woman named Camilla who has an odd influence on the band. After their first tour, The Yellow Kings went out to Los Angeles to record their first album, a concept album called The Final Reconciliation. Little did they know it would be their last album and very few people would ever hear it.

The album was shelved after The Yellow Kings put on an album release party in an L.A. nightclub where they planned to play the full album for the first time. The concert ended in a disaster which killed almost 200 people and left only one band member alive. For the first time since that fatal night, The Yellow Kings lead guitarist and sole survivor Aiden Cross has agreed to be interviewed about the events leading up to that tragic night.

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling is inspired by Robert W. Chamber’s “The King in Yellow.” Written in 1895 it was also the inspiration behind some of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. In the 1895 story, it was a play that if read brings madness to the people reading it. In this story if you listen to the full album it creates chaos. I wasn’t familiar with the source material but loved how it was presented in this book. The idea of a heavy metal album opening a portal to another world and making people go crazy is a great concept.

This cosmic horror novella is more than just a new twist on old mythology, though, it’s also the story of kids from a working class background achieving their dreams and worst nightmares at the same time. One of my favorite parts of this book was when three members of the band return to their hometown from their first tour and you see the background they come from. They don’t get a warm welcome, their parents don’t understand the bands need to follow their passion instead of working a blue collar job. In a short time, The Yellow Kings achieve a high level of success before it all comes crashing down. You know early on that it’s all going to end in disaster, which leads me to what I didn’t like about the story. You knew what was going to happen from the beginning, it’s just a question of how we’re going to get to the final result.

The Final Reconciliation is a great little horror tale that mixes music, mythology and a coming of age story all into one. The description of The Yellow Kings kingdom comes to life brilliantly and the final scenes in the Nightclub disaster were wonderfully grotesque. Todd Keisling does an excellent job of setting a mood of dread and keeping it going throughout the book. I think most of all I loved the concept of a progressive rock album being the key to a world of terror. If you are familiar with the Cthulhu mythos you shouldn’t pass up this book.
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review 2017-03-26 00:00
The Final Reconciliation
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling 4 young rock and rollers from Southeastern Kentucky get in a little bit over their heads, when Johnny the lead singer, takes on a new groupie. The beautiful and mysterious Camilla. She immediately asserts her will over Johnny and the band as they prepare for the release of their groundbreaking first album, The Final Reconciliation. Her influence is undeniable and with her help, “The Yellow Kings” first show is going to be a killer. Literally. It may also be the end of world as we know it. Now that’s rock and roll!!

For whatever reason, I couldn’t get Megadeth’s “The Conjuring”, out of my head while listening to this one on audio. (Not a bad thing either, btw.)

“Welcome to our sanguinary sect of worship
Feel at home in our black conventicle
As we anathematize
All of those who oppose us
Don't summon the devil, Don't call the priests
If you need the strength, The conjuring. Obey”


Fits. Maybe a wee bit of Venom in there too. Merciful Fate? Definitely. Those were some crazy fun shows back in the day…from what I can remember, anyway. Long hair, Slayer t-shirt, beer-bonging Yukon Jack and waaay too many chemicals. Gee, I wonder why the late 80’s were such a fog. Good times, man. Good times.

An excellent novella from Todd Keisling and a very well done audiobook from Joe Hemple. The story moved fast. No fluff required. Joe’s narration really gelled with the story and definitely enhanced the experience. Well done all the way around and highly recommended.

*I received a copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review. This was it.
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review 2017-01-30 03:26
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling
The Final Reconciliation - Todd Keisling

So, as a fellow metal-head, I feel a kindred spirit with Todd as he unfurls The Final Reconciliation, a story about a journalist who is interviewing Aidan Cross. Cross is an aging guitarist who is institutionalized for going off his nut over the tragic show his band played 30 years ago. Aidan was the guitarist of the prog-metal band, The Yellow Kings. After hardcore touring in support of their EP, the band lands a two-album deal and head to Los Angeles to record their official first record. After a show in Texas, they pick up a groupie named Camille, who was waiting behind the club for the band. She immediately takes a shine to their lead singer, Johnny. Soon, the band learns that Camille is not your ordinary groupie trying to sponge off the band in hopes that they'll be famous. No, she has a different agenda and the band are simply pawns in her evil plan.

 

The Final Reconciliation pulls out it's inner Lovecraft and marries it with story about a heavy metal band. Metal bands have been influenced by all things macabre and Lovecraft is a favorite of many, i.e. Metallica. Keisling has done his homework. As someone who knows a thing or two, not much more, but a thing or two about metal bands, touring, and recording, he executes the story flawlessly. This is where so many writers can go astray - writing about something that they don't know enough about and the cracks show. This isn't the case here. Kudos to Keisling. Not only did he get his facts right, but he delivered one hell of a story, in the process.

 

 

 

5 Guitar Solos out of 5

 


This ARC was provided by Crystal Lake Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2014-04-09 00:00
The Harbinger
The Harbinger - Todd Keisling With the release of the 4th story in his Ugly Little Things series, Todd Keisling doesn’t shy away from getting even uglier...and nastier...and decidedly creepier.

The premise sounds innocent enough. Reporter Felix Proust is sent on assignment to Dalton, WV, famous for its line of life-like dolls which have become the town’s bread and butter since the mine closed down in the ‘70’s.

Soon after arriving, Felix begins to see cracks in the sleepy little town’s facade. The adults in town are solemn and joyless, and the children are strangely hostile toward Felix. Even the town drunk warns Felix that he should get out before it’s too late...but what fun would that be?

Horror story or not, it’s obvious Keisling had a fun time writing this one and readers are in for a tale that is reminiscent of all the best parts of a classic horror story - it scares, it thrills and it may even sicken you a little but that’s a good thing, believe it or not.

This latest tale in Keisling’s Ugly Little Things series shows the author has a firm grasp on what it takes to keep readers entranced until, just like Felix Proust, it’s too late to prevent the inevitable.

Luckily for readers, that means finding your new favorite horror author. Considering what happens to Felix Proust, you’re getting off easy!
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