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review 2018-09-20 23:25
Heavy metal horror masterpiece that is sure to become a cult classic; another hit from Grady Hendrix
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

‘We Sold Our Souls’ is one HELL of a ride. Grady Hendrix, King of horror at Quirk Books, has written a heavy metal masterpiece with a female lead guitarist, Kris Pulaski, as its star.
Less classic horror this time (his previous books are ‘Horrorstör’, and ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’), Hendrix has laden ‘Souls’ with conspiracy theory and real life horrors.

Kris Pulaski was in a heavy metal band called Dürt Würk two decades ago and they were on the brink of success when the lead singer Terry Hunt ripped the band apart and left to start his solo career. And it seems Terry’s rise to success was at the cost of selling the band’s souls.
That’s right, he sold their souls for rock’n’roll…or in this case, heavy metal.

 

Kris’ pitiful present day existence is working at the reception of a Best Western, and if you can stomach the ‘Welcome To Hell’ chapter (good horror always comes at the cost of reading things that make your stomach turn), then you can follow Kris on her journey as she gets whisked from Pennsylvania to a Satanic rehab center, and then across the country again to grimy Las Vegas. Years of grueling, crazy, exciting, challenging (to say the least), and often nasty experiences on the road with the band, were nothing compared to this trip, and it seems like all Kris’ heavy metal years were preparation and toughened her up. The journey to Las Vegas is overwhelming, but Kris has a mission she can’t ignore. There’s also a whole host of colorful characters along the way, but I do have to wonder if Hendrix has a thing against UPS (you will see what I mean when you read the book).

 

The greatest thing about this book is that Hendrix has chosen to write ‘Souls’ with a female protagonist. Not just that: a kickass, middle-aged (even though I hate that word, because that’s what I am now, I suppose), female as its lead. And she plays the guitar like a certain other Hendrix. She doesn’t take any bull from anyone and doesn’t stop fighting back once she starts on her new road trip.

 

While it seems as though she has given up with her hotel job, the revelation that she must stop her old bandmate Terry Hunt, lights a fire in Kris, and the book has that vibe of ‘don’t give up, don’t let the system win, don’t let the bullies push you’. That’s highly clear in the messages of conspiracy theory, our paranoia-laden country, and how culture is selling itself (its soul) particularly out to cell phones and shallow marketing. Reading the book will give you a greater sense of the way the conspiracy theory works in ‘Souls’ - I’m kind of at a loss as how to explain the genius behind how it’s woven in - but Hendrix has cleverly used snippets of radio and newspaper to show how ‘news’ travels and information spreads. This has always been the way conspiracy theories spread and this underbelly of the book is fascinating.

 

If you don’t know all the music in the book, this may be a little daunting, as there are a lot of heavy metal and music references, but I think if you have even the remote interest in or knowledge of decades old music such as Black Sabbath and Slayer, and remember the days when everyone thought that heavy metal listeners were devil worshipers, you will appreciate what Hendrix is doing here (and no you don’t have to actually like the music). Trigger warnings for sexual assault and creepy crawlies; this is definitely rated R.

 

Hendrix is an undeniable force in pop culture literature and has written an unforgettable book, one that’s not for everyone, but will be a cult classic, but not like any of the schlock he writes about in his awesome ‘Paperbacks from Hell’. No one writes like this guy; ‘We Sold Our Souls’ is funny, gross, complex, and a wonderful blend of horror, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and is infused with a heavy dose of music history. Only Grady Hendrix could have done that.

 

**I'm really lucky because this Friday I get to meet Grady here in Seattle at his book signing and I get to have my big stack of books signed. 

*Kudos to Doogie Horner again, for another excellent book cover design for Grady. It's worth noting that the hardcover of this book has beautiful black ink-sprayed pages. 

 

 

 

UPDATE:

What an amazing ‘signing’. To anyone who gets to go to one of the signings on this book tour: Grady will blow your mind with the presentation he has ready for you; I wish I’d been prepared and been able to record it or something, so I could listen to it again (you hear/see that, Grady?).
The whole ‘secret history’ behind heavy metal and how it has rotted so many young minds (aka the wonderful conspiracy theories that set WSOS in motion) is the basis for Grady’s brilliant ‘lecture’, along with a slideshow and I wish I’d at least taken notes, but I chuckled too much to do that. It was the most funny, inspiring, thoughtful signing I’ve been to yet.

 

THANK YOU TO GRADY for revealing the personal background behind writing this book in particular; I really appreciated your message at the end, you have so much heart, especially for a guy who writes some of my favorite books which are complete with things like people getting their scalps ripped off, beetles crawling down their shirts, and high schoolers needing exorcisms. Plus you will say ‘fuck’ a lot right near the children’s department in the bookstore and do the ‘voices’ of the members of KISS.
And I have NO idea how you have the energy that you do (you delivered about 20-25 pages at cutthroat speed), especially since I’m someone who has zero energy most of the time, thanks to MS.
Us Seattlites apologize for the death of metal circa 1991 when Nirvana et al burst onto the scene (I thought it was funny that you started your tour here*), but you must admit jeans are way more comfortable than leather pants, so that was a godsend. I’d love to hear your take on whether that was a conspiracy itself.

So, thank you for coming and signing my massive stack of books, for your presentation, and for your writing genius. Thank you to librarians for buying secret copies of books for kids like a certain one did for you.
You rock.

*We would like to reiterate that we did indeed have a very hot and sunny summer here this year (again) in Seattle, and now that  it’s raining we are actually all quite relieved. Sorry you had to experience it for your trip though. Make sure you come back for your next book.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/37715859-we-sold-our-souls
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review 2018-09-14 19:16
WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

 

 Hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal-it all dragged itself up out of the swamp called the blues. 

 

As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

 

WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate the good. But when the lead singer decides that this isn't enough for him, he investigates...other avenues. Will the band survive his efforts and appeals to be something greater? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I loved how the background of each band member was related, but I especially liked the lead character Kris, because she wasn't the stereotypical female protagonist that we so often see. (Well, let's face it-we don't see that many female leads of rock bands, in real life or especially as believable characters in books.) She was bad-ass but she didn't think so-maybe she didn't even realize it. But she was resilient and she kept on keeping on even when there was no chance of success. I think I have my first fictional girl crush.

 

As the tale progresses, several twists occurred that I didn't foresee at all. I will never look at a UPS truck in the same way again, (and I bet you won't either). I'm sure my mouth dropped a couple of times and it probably wasn't pretty, but hell, I don't care. (I won't even speak about how late last night my Kindle hit me in my face because I was so intent on finishing this story but I just couldn't say awake any longer.) The bruise was worth it!

 

At the end of each chapter you'll find little tidbits from radio or news broadcasts and some of them won't make sense until later on. I really liked them and they provided background at times, and foreshadowing at others.

 

Grady Hendrix blipped my radar with his beautiful book PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and since then I've been a big fan. This book, however, this one is truly something special. I rank it right up there with a few other books about bands that I've greatly enjoyed like Robert McCammon's THE FIVE.

 

At this point, if I haven't won you over I'm probably not going to. However, I will say, if you're a fan of well written, fast paced, dark fiction, and you love Rock & Roll, you will miss the boat by a wide, wide margin if you don't read this book.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere on Tuesday, September 18th, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2xdfoR5

 

*Thanks to Quirk Books via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-09-10 03:54
Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (audiobook)
Manners & Mutiny - Gail Carriger,Moira Quirk

Series: Finishing School #4

 

Sophronia is older here, now one of the more senior students, but she's still investigating a possible Picklemen plot (honestly that whole secret society with a pickle theme is just odd) and gets into lots of trouble. There was also a fun segment near the beginning of the book where the girls were tasked with acting like another girl as an exercise and thus confusing the other people they're interacting with.

 

Overall I'd say that this series was a light and amusing read, despite the general air of danger, and the audio was a good option. Because Sophronia is a student investigating what could be characterized as a crime (basically it is but it's not clear how without giving out spoilers), I'll be counting this one for the "Baker Street Irregulars" square for Halloween Bingo.

 

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review 2018-08-22 04:07
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (audiobook)
Waistcoats & Weaponry - Gail Carriger,Moira Quirk

Series: Finishing School #3

 

This one was fun like other ones. Sopronia is a little bit older and focusing just a little bit on her boy troubles, but it wasn't terribly annoying. A couple of werewolves did get called "hirsute interlopers", which I found amusing. Without giving anything away, things seem to have gotten quite shaken up by the end of the novel, so I'm curious to see how things are like in the next one. I'm not sure if she can top stealing a train, however.

 

I'm tempted to hold off listening to the fourth book until September, however, in case I can use it for one of my Halloween squares. I'm not sure whether I'd be able to use it for Baker Street Irregulars though, since although Sophronia is a teenager, I'm not sure if her "mysteries" would count. She's generally investigating and looking into something but it's not necessarily a "crime". Or not an obvious one, anyway.

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review 2018-08-19 03:23
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (audiobook)
Curtsies & Conspiracies - Gail Carriger,Moira Quirk

Series: Finishing School #2

 

This second installment of the finishing school series is still fun. There's an extension of the first plot where we discover what the prototype was ultimately supposed to be used for, and there's lots of stuff with vampires.

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