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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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review 2014-01-29 00:00
Radio Free Nowhere
Radio Free Nowhere - Todd Keisling This first story in Todd Keisling’s UGLY LITTLE THINGS collection is an ominous little tale that left me simultaneously shivering and salivating, wanting more.

Ashley and Conrad head out for a little spin through the wilds of West Virginia, but even though it all sounds sultry and romantic, they don’t just hear the dulcet sounds of Chorus Frogs and Hoot Owls. What they encounter is something forgotten, something submerged, something full of false promise.

Have you read “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” from Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes?

In it, King’s couple are driving down a country road, lost and when the husband finally asks for directions, stumbles upon a small town diner with a unique little secret.

In Radio Free Nowhere, the couple is not necessarily lost, but they do encounter something shrouded in those dark and winding roads, and Keisling uses the remoteness to his full advantage.

The thing I like about Radio Free Nowhere? Todd roots the story in reality, making it something any one of us can relate to and wonder..."What if that happened to me? Wait...that could happen to me!"

Subtle horror is at its best when it plants a seed and allows the reader not to be led but to imagine what would happen if put in the main character’s shoes. Keisling does this flawlessly, allowing true terror to slither up the back of your neck and make your skin prickle with the thrill of it.

Radio Free Nowhere is just a teaser of what Todd Keisling has in store for readers, and I can’t wait to read what other Ugly Little Things come next.
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review 2013-11-02 00:00
The Liminal Man
The Liminal Man - Todd Keisling Sequels can be difficult. As a reader, you want the 2nd book in a series to live up to the expectations you have after reading the 1st. As an author, you want to enhance the narrative of the 1st by adding, growing, or changing the lives of your characters and the world in which they live.

In The Liminal Man, author Todd Keisling manages to do both by going decidedly deeper into the Monochrome, the world in which title character Donovan Candle only managed a glimpse in book 1, A Life Transparent.

At the end of ALT, Donovan made the vow to change his life, not only for the better, but to prevent himself from “flickering” from existence. In TLM, Donovan finds himself working in a new job as a P.I. with older brother Mike and about to become a father with wife Donna.

But all is not peachy keen, especially when the dastardly Aleister Dullington, his henchman Albert Sparrow and their minions the Cretins and the Yawning are up to their old tricks again.

But TLM is not just a rehashing of the plot from book 1. It adds deeper shades of darkness when Donovan’s nephew Quinn goes missing. The return of Dullington and his hordes plunge Donovan into a world just as devoid of color yet teeming with something more sinister and darker than Donovan even realizes.

What he discovers in Dullington’s alternate underworld underlines the message of book 1, while forcing Donovan to realize that by only taking half-measures, he is still at risk of cheating himself out of the very things he desires, not to mention threatening his very existence, the futures of those he loves and the others who have fallen prey to the Monochrome and the creatures residing within.

alt_coverWhere A Life Transparent gave Donovan a glimpse at what his future could hold if he fails to live up to his full potential, The Liminal Man drags him across various thresholds he is too afraid to face and forces him to make a decision one way or another. The question for readers: how will Donovan react when the clock runs out and the time to make a decision is staring him in the face?

The Liminal Man is a thrilling, suspense-fueled ride with good and evil in a showdown, and the fate of one man inadvertently putting the lives of others in jeopardy. Add to that some evil little creatures, a bone-chilling underworld and forces that will stop at nothing until they get what they want, The Liminal Man kept me turning pages well into the night (and a little wary of taking the subway anymore, to be honest).
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