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A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor, My Best Friend's Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor, My Best Friend's Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry's meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris's very soul. This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It's a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that's darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul...where only a girl with a guitar can save us all.


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A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor, My Best Friend's Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades A new novel of supernatural horror (and pop culture) from the author of Horrorstor, My Best Friend's Exorcism, and Paperbacks from Hell. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry's meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris's very soul. This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It's a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that's darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul...where only a girl with a guitar can save us all.

30 review for We Sold Our Souls

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything. i’ve read all three of grady hendrix’s novels, and while none of them have scared me, they’ve all entertained me. this is the least fun of his books. there are occasional smiles, like when you notice that all the chapter titles are the names of metal albums, or when he sneaks something cheeky in, like citing nick sharman as a rock journalist from Kerrang! magazine when we all know that nick sharman is this guy: and this guy. it’s a loving po A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything. i’ve read all three of grady hendrix’s novels, and while none of them have scared me, they’ve all entertained me. this is the least fun of his books. there are occasional smiles, like when you notice that all the chapter titles are the names of metal albums, or when he sneaks something cheeky in, like citing nick sharman as a rock journalist from Kerrang! magazine when we all know that nick sharman is this guy: and this guy. it’s a loving power chord tribute to metal, full of utterly anthemic lines: Metal never dies. Metal never retreats. Metal never surrenders. and a deep appreciation for the music and culture of RAWK. actually, i take back what i said about this not being funny, because the concept is hilarious, it involves a concept album and it’s so SO inventive and clever in its use, it’s worth a giggle or two. but it’s much sadder overall; the regret of the “almost-was,” and the cost of fame and the answers to the question, “whatever happened to…” i loved the residual affection between kris and her former bandmates (two of them, anyway), all of those scenes were really moving. and AAAAHHHH, scottie rocket!!! dammit. there are also two excellent scenes of horror perfection - one in a car and one underground. the underground one taught me that under certain circumstances, i would be claustrophobic. i read and reread all of those pages because that situation was completely harrowing. dammit2. but this book is also what happens when grit lit meets horror. its focus is on the same segment of struggling, disenfranchised america; one of the characters lives in west virginia, having seen thirteen people from her graduating class die from opioid overdoses, while she waitresses at a place that encourages waitress-groping all to pay back her student loans and maybe someday get out of her dead end life. this sounds pulled right up out of any of my beloved grit lit novels: Every song was the same song. These were songs for people who were scared to open their mailboxes, whose phone call never brought good news. These were songs for people standing at the crossroads waiting for the bus. People who bounced between debt collectors and dollar stores, collection agencies and housing offices, family court and emergency rooms waiting for a check that never came, waiting for a court date, waiting for a call back, waiting for a break, crushed beneath the wheel. but this one’s also got monsters, so WIN. keep up the great work, grady hendrix! ROCKTOBER IS SPOOKY!! come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Char

    " 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 " 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.*

  3. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I’d been meaning to read something by Grady Hendrix for ages, so I jumped at the chance to review We Sold Our Souls. I’d heard so many of my friends rave about his writing in general, but as a metalhead, I was especially sold on the idea of an entire horror story revolving around this washed-up former metal star and her old bandmate’s essential deal with the devil to gain his fame. She had nothing. Except her music. First, let’s talk about Kris Pulaski, our former guitarist protagonist who’s i I’d been meaning to read something by Grady Hendrix for ages, so I jumped at the chance to review We Sold Our Souls. I’d heard so many of my friends rave about his writing in general, but as a metalhead, I was especially sold on the idea of an entire horror story revolving around this washed-up former metal star and her old bandmate’s essential deal with the devil to gain his fame. She had nothing. Except her music. First, let’s talk about Kris Pulaski, our former guitarist protagonist who’s in her forties now, working the night shift at a hotel, miserable, empty, and alone. And let’s talk about how much I freaking love her. Kris is an absolute badass, full of flames and rage and a need for vengeance and justice; she’s tough, a total fighter, and frankly, she’s sick and tired of being held down by the men in her life. She’s incredibly aware of how warped the metal community’s treatment of women can be, much less how society at large treats powerful and self-confident women, but she refuses to let anyone get in her way for even a second. She’s constantly plotting her next move, and she’s just brilliant. If Kris Pulaski were a real person, I’d want to be her best friend. Kris had been alive long enough to know it was dangerous when men accused you of being better than them. Kris isn’t the only enjoyable character, though—even some of the bad guys are pretty likable in their own way, and everyone, good or bad, feels flawed and authentic. I loved cycling through Kris’ former bandmates as she met up with each one, and learning about her memories of them, especially when she would couple in band-specific relations (things like, “like every guitar duo in metal, they were a little bit in love and a little bit in hate all at the same time”). It’s also incredibly fascinating to watch Kris piece together her broken memories as the story slowly reveals what drove apart the members of Dürt Würk, and why Kris has been an outsider ever since. She played for the losers. While We Sold Our Souls absolutely has horror elements and a wonderful plot that kept me engaged from start to finish, what I loved most about it was the fact that, at its core, it reads like a love song to metalheads and music lovers everywhere. So much of what happens revolves around the music scene, the power of metal (and the darker sides of the community, too), and the ways that music can teach us and guide us to the light. There are loads of pop culture references (don’t be offended if a few of your faves get insulted—it happened to me twice, and all I could do was laugh), feminist undertones for days, and a few incredibly creepy (and/or disgusting) mental images that have followed me in the days since finishing this story. Altogether, I adored every single page of this book, and see it as the kind of story I would happily read over and over again in the future. If you enjoy horror with a touch of weirdness to it, and especially if you’re a fellow metalhead, I can’t urge you strongly enough to pick up a copy of We Sold Our Souls right away. There’s not a single negative thing I have to say about it, and I can’t wait to read everything else Grady Hendrix has to offer. Thank you so much to Quirk Books for providing me with a stunning finished copy in exchange for an honest review!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bark

    Everybody has been raving about this book. I haven’t read one negative thing and that’s rare in blogland. We like to complain and pick things apart. Or at least I know I do. I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone else. But I think that’s what makes us (or me) so fantastic, haha. Now that I’ve finally read it, (sorry Netgalley, I am late again but you really should know this about me by now) I totally understand why this book is being treated like horror gold. Author Grady Hendrix knows the horr Everybody has been raving about this book. I haven’t read one negative thing and that’s rare in blogland. We like to complain and pick things apart. Or at least I know I do. I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone else. But I think that’s what makes us (or me) so fantastic, haha. Now that I’ve finally read it, (sorry Netgalley, I am late again but you really should know this about me by now) I totally understand why this book is being treated like horror gold. Author Grady Hendrix knows the horror scene and he’s created a modern day classic that gives the old “sold our soul to the devil” trope a fresh new spin. It’s firmly earned its place in a future Paperbacks From Hell volume. This story is a lovingly written present to all heavy metal loving horror fans. If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s listening to that stuff you need to buy yourself the beautiful physical copy of this book with the black binding. I’m going to do so as soon as I can. It’s seriously that good. Kris is having a “what the hell happened to my life” moment. She’s 47 and works the front desk at a Best Western when a customer decides to piss all over the front desk. She was once a guitarist in an almost famous metal band when it all when to shit and she was forced into abandoning her dreams. When she sees a billboard with her nemesis’s face on it that declares he’s going back on tour, she decides to track down her old bandmates in order to stop the man who ruined them all. Nothing goes as planned. And that’s what I enjoyed so much about this book. It takes turns and twists and I predicted none of them. Not a single one. It is filled with dark and disturbing surprises. I loved that the lead guitarist and main character is a strong, kick-butt kind of woman. I adored this character. “Kris wasn’t a hugger. She had a body like a bag of knives.” She’s also very sympathetic and determined. “Kris wanted to press her fist to the planet and leave a mark.” And she thinks some very funny thoughts: “Men never know when to shut up.” Sorry, guys, but sometimes it’s true (though the same can be said about me, I suppose!). Music plays an enormous part in the story. It’s not a little set piece or an afterthought. This book would not exist without the music and the end is simply magical. I don’t know what else to say without giving too much away. I’m no good at writing 5 star reviews. I guess I’ll leave you with a drop everything and READ THIS BOOK RIGHT THIS MINUTE! If you hate it, you can always send your copy to me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    4.5* WE SOLD OUR SOULS, by Grady Hendrix, is a psychologically intense novel involving a one-time metal band and the power inherent in their music and lyrics. Years ago, five people formed a band called "Durt Wurk"--a band that was good, and had the potential to be great. Then came the day that their lead singer, Terry Hunt, decided he wanted more . . . Kris Pulaski--now nothing more than a motel clerk--clearly remembers her triumphant struggle to where she knew they had something special. Her me 4.5* WE SOLD OUR SOULS, by Grady Hendrix, is a psychologically intense novel involving a one-time metal band and the power inherent in their music and lyrics. Years ago, five people formed a band called "Durt Wurk"--a band that was good, and had the potential to be great. Then came the day that their lead singer, Terry Hunt, decided he wanted more . . . Kris Pulaski--now nothing more than a motel clerk--clearly remembers her triumphant struggle to where she knew they had something special. Her memories of after Terry are more fuzzy. ". . . Once upon a time, Kris Pulaski had beaten entire rooms into submission . . ." Her meaningful guitar riffs had a power she worked years to cultivate into that perfection. They were not entirely forgotten, but clearly pushed aside for a mundane job she had no passion for. ". . . the riff that said they all underestimated her, they didn't know what she had inside, they didn't know that she could destroy them all." After a particularly depressing work night, Kris notices a billboard on her way home, proclaiming the farewell tour of Koffin--The Blind King. The band Terry Hunt left them to start up on his own. Suddenly, half-remembered images of their final night together start coming back to her. Although missing some crucial elements, Kris has an inexplicable feeling that something larger than all of them--and much worse--was about to happen. ". . . I don't believe in coincidence. The universe always has a plan. It's our job to perceive it . . . " Grady Hendrix weaves this tale of a heavy metal group--before and after its heyday--with such accurate descriptions that you'll feel you were with them all along. His characters are real, complex individuals that make the story come alive. The urgency and pacing increase perfectly as the novel keeps going, bringing crucial revelations and scenes from the past to complete the picture in our minds. ". . . Nothing is ever really good or bad, it's all about your perspective." As Kris rallies herself and sets off on a journey she never anticipated, the gaps in her memory take form as much for the reader as for her mission. Although completely from Hendrix's imagination, I couldn't help but get a "Lovecraftian" vibe from this novel--I mean that as the highest compliment. ". . . you fought with the weapons you had, not with the ones you wished for . . . " The music--both tone and lyrics--play an integral role here. Anyone who's ever felt the "power" or "emotion" of a song can relate to this. The dynamics of the band, their roles and talents, made them seem more like a family in their early days. "A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything." This story worked so well on an emotional level, as well as the terror, fear, psychological, and physical horrors that are portrayed. The feelings evoked become real to us, and I think that many will be able to identify with some of the more "universal" themes brought up here. ". . . She'd found her best friend, and he was broken." As the novel progressed further into "unknown territory", I still felt as though it was the "natural" way this story had to unfold. ". . . it is possible to be crazy and paranoid and totally insane and still be right . . . " Overall, I loved Hendrix's style and the way he incorporated the band's beginning, end, and things that occurred in between, in such a manner that it all felt right--that this was the only way it could have happened. There was never a point where I felt that too much information was being thrown at me just to get it out there. Rather, the pacing was set so well that we are able to glean just as much information as we need, when we need it. ". . . Metal never dies. Metal never retreats. Metal never surrenders . . . " Personally, I'd love to visit this world of Hendrix's again in the future. Highly recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    I needed something undemanding to read over a couple of train journeys, and We Sold Our Souls fitted the bill. I haven't got on with Grady Hendrix's work previously (had to give up on Horrorstör because it was too gory; just couldn't get into My Best Friend's Exorcism) so I wasn't necessarily expecting much here, but for whatever reason it worked brilliantly. The story's about Kris, who used to be the guitarist in a metal band called Dürt Würk. In the 90s, just as they were about to get big, le I needed something undemanding to read over a couple of train journeys, and We Sold Our Souls fitted the bill. I haven't got on with Grady Hendrix's work previously (had to give up on Horrorstör because it was too gory; just couldn't get into My Best Friend's Exorcism) so I wasn't necessarily expecting much here, but for whatever reason it worked brilliantly. The story's about Kris, who used to be the guitarist in a metal band called Dürt Würk. In the 90s, just as they were about to get big, lead singer Terry Hunt ditched the band (stealing some of Kris's best material in the process) and achieved global stardom with his nu-metal outfit Koffin. Kris is now a hotel receptionist with next to no money, and hasn't played in years. When a Koffin 'farewell' tour is announced, it serves as the catalyst for her to track down her former bandmates and ultimately confront Terry. Along the way, things start getting seriously strange, and Kris begins to suspect that Terry's fame may have come at the cost of... well, the clue's in the title. We Sold Our Souls is a confidently written and always-enjoyable ride in which our heroine and the supporting characters are incredibly likeable, and the villains are, in more than one way, the stuff of nightmares. It's also a love letter to heavy metal, and Hendrix's appreciation of the genre is obvious in everything he writes about Dürt Würk, Koffin, and Kris's own passion for playing music. My one complaint is that Melanie should be in it more – she appears so seldom that I forgot about her for at least 100 pages. She appears to Kris as a saviour ex machina, and feels too much like her whole persona has been reverse-engineered to fit the scene in which they meet. This is definitely in the Stephen King tradition of horror, which is not always to my taste, but it's a great example of the type. Dark, gruesome, fast-paced fun. I received an advance review copy of We Sold Our Souls from the publisher through NetGalley. TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Every song was the same song. These were songs for people who were scared to open their mailboxes, whose phone call never brought good news. These were songs for people standing at the crossroads waiting for the bus. People who bounced between debt collectors and dollar stores, collection agencies and housing offices, family court and emergency rooms waiting for a check that never came, waiting for a court date, waiting for a call back, waiting for a break, crushed beneath the wheel. Grady Hendri Every song was the same song. These were songs for people who were scared to open their mailboxes, whose phone call never brought good news. These were songs for people standing at the crossroads waiting for the bus. People who bounced between debt collectors and dollar stores, collection agencies and housing offices, family court and emergency rooms waiting for a check that never came, waiting for a court date, waiting for a call back, waiting for a break, crushed beneath the wheel. Grady Hendrix is quickly making his name, not just as a connoisseur of horror but as one of it's leading architects. He's not just producing great books, he's shaping horror and it's future - We Sold Our Souls is an achievement and a shout into the future. Kris Pulaski works a dead end job in a dead end motel, in a dead end town. Her days are filled with biting down fear, anger, and the resentful knowledge that a better life is out there and should have been hers. She's lost control of her life, and now just moves from day to day, her problems sleeping in the back of her mind until one day she sees a billboard and is shocked back into life. The Blind King is back, and it's not long before every safe wall she's built between herself and life is forcibly torn away. We Sold Our Souls is at times brutal, terrifying, funny, and exhilarating. Grady Hendrix always knows what he's talking about, and with this music it's no different - he points out the roots of metal in both classical and blues, and righteously calls out the more commercial nu-metal. The attitude is all there, brought to life in Kris Pulaski, a woman larger than her physical self once she gets a guitar in her hands. The horror ebbs and flows but never entirely leaves - there's one sequence in a cave that actually had me holding my breath. I'm still not ok, that one is going to live on in my head for a long, long time. (view spoiler)[The big bad is excellently done. The Blind King himself is so sad and small and petty, and ultimately chasing everything he threw away himself. The bigger bad, if you like, is terrifyingly plausible, and I'm not entirely convinced that Grady Hendrix hasn't been on some caving expeditions himself, perhaps stumbling on forbidden knowledge along the way... (hide spoiler)] This book is excellent. Grady Hendrix deserves every bit of praise he's getting and more; his trajectory is positively exponential at this point, and I will be eagerly awaiting whatever he sets his pen to next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars Once again, Grady Hendrix is back with another fantastic, self-aware horror novel. Playing with the classics tropes of the genre, this novel was smart and well written. The narrative was very fast paced and action packed, bringing along the reader for an entertaining adventure. This novel will particularly appeal to readers with a background in music, specifically heavy metal. This is book was still accessible to less musically-inclined people, like myself, but I know I was the perfect 3.5 Stars Once again, Grady Hendrix is back with another fantastic, self-aware horror novel. Playing with the classics tropes of the genre, this novel was smart and well written. The narrative was very fast paced and action packed, bringing along the reader for an entertaining adventure. This novel will particularly appeal to readers with a background in music, specifically heavy metal. This is book was still accessible to less musically-inclined people, like myself, but I know I was the perfect target audience for the book. If you enjoy Grady Hendrix's novels, heavy metal or deals with the devil, I definitely recommend checking out this one! I received a copy from Penguin Random House Canada.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    We Sold Our Souls is such a fun read. It's an addicting story, and I think I tore through it within 24 hours. I want to say up front that I am not a metal fan, and this is the second metal horror book I've read this year. I ended up loving both. So if you are not a metal fan, either, and are avoiding this one, please go for it. This is a story you don't want to miss. I feel like this book loses some steam at the end. It seemed like it was ramping up to something more sinister, and I guess it was We Sold Our Souls is such a fun read. It's an addicting story, and I think I tore through it within 24 hours. I want to say up front that I am not a metal fan, and this is the second metal horror book I've read this year. I ended up loving both. So if you are not a metal fan, either, and are avoiding this one, please go for it. This is a story you don't want to miss. I feel like this book loses some steam at the end. It seemed like it was ramping up to something more sinister, and I guess it was a bit anti-climactic. I still enjoyed it very much as a whole, though. I don't think that this book is necessarily scary, but it deals with a lot of horror elements. I think it hits closer to horror comedy at some points like My Best Friend's Exorcism. I liked the characters in this book. Quite a few of them are fleshed out pretty well, and I really enjoyed hearing their stories. We Sold Our Souls has a good feminist message, and some things that came up in the book hit a little close to home. This book went deeper than I expected it to, and it has a lot of heart.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    This book was sent to the Night Worms review group by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have been a fan of Hendrix ever since I discovered Horrorstör when it was released. When this book showed up at my house I just stared at it and pawed it for a while. It's so gorgeous and metal AF. Needless to say I couldn't wait to read this one. The first night I picked it up I made it to the 38% point. Last night I finished it. That's how much I was caught up in this story. Hendrix turns thi This book was sent to the Night Worms review group by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have been a fan of Hendrix ever since I discovered Horrorstör when it was released. When this book showed up at my house I just stared at it and pawed it for a while. It's so gorgeous and metal AF. Needless to say I couldn't wait to read this one. The first night I picked it up I made it to the 38% point. Last night I finished it. That's how much I was caught up in this story. Hendrix turns this one up to 11 and then breaks the knob off. Indie rock has always sort of been my thing, but I went to my share of metal concerts, and I can honestly say that metal fans are some of the nicest people. You may get knocked over in the pit, but every single time some big dude with a beard and face tattoos would help me up and make sure I was OK. Metal fans are diehard and loyal, so I could relate to a lot of this book, especially the festival ending. And I got a kick out of Hendrix putting GWAR on the lineup. I saw them twice in college, and both times it was an absolute blast. Kris Pulaski is a fantastic protagonist. She's a badass who loves metal and refuses to let the shady frontman for their band Dürt Würk get away with selling them out. Years ago Terry Hunt caused a falling out between the band members, and now he's rich and successful with his new band Koffin because of the deal he made. Kris is barely making ends meet, and when she finds out that Terry is having a farewell tour, she knows she needs to get the band back together to confront him once and for all about that night when Terry left Dürt Würk. None of the other band members remember that night clearly, and that bothers Kris. She knows something shady went down, but she just can't remember it all. She also doesn't yet realize that Terry has a power over the old band that will force him to do anything necessary to keep them from ruining his tour. I had so much fun with this novel. Music is universal, no matter what genre you listen to. There's a part in this book where two people bond over Dolly Parton, and I loved that so much! Everyone loves music, and a story about an aging female rocker who has to save the world with music speaks directly to my soul. This is a story about a girl with a guitar who rises to her potential and rocks out while capturing the reader's heart. I absolutely loved it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Chaney

    You can see my full video review HERE... Kris's days of underground metal fame are over. She is now in her late forties and dealing with creeps from the front desk of a hotel, barely getting by as she reminisces about the days before she and her band split. Before her fellow band-member Terry Hunt rocketed to stardom and left the others in the dust. Soon, Kris becomes convinced that Terry sold all their souls in exchange for fame. And so begins a road trip to track Terry down and confront him. We You can see my full video review HERE... Kris's days of underground metal fame are over. She is now in her late forties and dealing with creeps from the front desk of a hotel, barely getting by as she reminisces about the days before she and her band split. Before her fellow band-member Terry Hunt rocketed to stardom and left the others in the dust. Soon, Kris becomes convinced that Terry sold all their souls in exchange for fame. And so begins a road trip to track Terry down and confront him. We Sold Our Souls is the latest horror novel from Grady Hendrix, author of the award-winning Paperbacks from Hell which came out Fall of last year. While his previous book was nonfiction, We Sold Our Souls is actually very similar in that it is aware of itself and knows what it is saying. This novel is heavily steeped in rock/metal culture and references it frequently. Therefore, it might be a little hard to follow if the reader is not up to speed on all things rock-and-roll. Yours truly has never been into the rock-music scene since the lifestyle is somewhat lost on me, but it is a lifestyle that exists and this little tome strives to represent what it stands for. I feel We Sold Our Souls represents it well, and metal fans should appreciate that. Aside from that though, We Sold Our Souls is a fast-paced story that wants nothing more than to entertain its audience, metal-fan or not. It is funny, heartfelt, and gives horror fans a splash of gore when necessary. Also, Kris is a tough but vulnerable character that anyone can stand behind. She feels real, which is all you can really ask for in a character. While I couldn't get into the metal-aspects of this book (which is the main focus), there was enough adventure to keep me reading. We Sold Our Souls isn't a perfect book and isn't my favorite by Mr. Hendrix, but I liked it enough and I think you will too. Unless you are a metal fan, in which case you might have a new favorite book in your hands. OVERALL, 3.5 STARS.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ☼

    First of all, I love horror books centered around music. Books like Robert McCammon's The Five and Todd Keisling's The Final Reconciliation are among my favorite books. I could not have been more excited when I heard Grady Hendrix had written a metal horror book. I'm such a fan of Grady Hendrix. Paperbacks from Hell was a stunning book, but My Best Friend's Exorcism is what placed him on my must read author list. It was a very unexpected read (in a great way). We Sold Our Souls was an unexpected First of all, I love horror books centered around music. Books like Robert McCammon's The Five and Todd Keisling's The Final Reconciliation are among my favorite books. I could not have been more excited when I heard Grady Hendrix had written a metal horror book. I'm such a fan of Grady Hendrix. Paperbacks from Hell was a stunning book, but My Best Friend's Exorcism is what placed him on my must read author list. It was a very unexpected read (in a great way). We Sold Our Souls was an unexpected read as well, but for more traditional reasons. A lot of scenes in We Sold Our Souls took me by surprise. Some were unpredictable and some were just downright brutal. (Barb, I'm pretty sure no dogs were harmed in the making of this one!) Grady Hendrix's writing is so much fun. It immediately puts me in a great place as a reader. The music references and Hendrix's personal interjections in We Sold Our Souls were a big bonus, too. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Gaarder

    Read my reviews on http://www.jenchaosreviews.com We Sold Our Souls: A NovelBy Grady Hendrix(Amazon Buy) Quirk Books, September 18, 2018 335 Pages, Hardcover Edition "In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, b Read my reviews on http://www.jenchaosreviews.com We Sold Our Souls: A NovelBy Grady Hendrix(Amazon Buy) Quirk Books, September 18, 2018 335 Pages, Hardcover Edition "In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success -- but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in rural Pennsylvania. Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western - she's tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when she discovers a shocking secret from her heavy metal past: Turns out that Terry's meteoric rise to success may have come at the price of Kris's very soul. This revelation prompts Kris to hit the road, reunite with the rest of her bandmates, and confront the man who ruined her life. It's a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a Satanic rehab center and finally to a Las Vegas music festival that's darker than any Mordor Tolkien could imagine. A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds. We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul...where only a girl with a guitar can save us all." Goodreads Rating: 4.09/My Rating: 5.0 Review: "Metal Never Retreats, Metal Never Surrenders, Metal Never Dies!" YES! Finally! A book about the music that I love. Heavy metal music. Beyond that, this is a book about a female guitarist that is not only down on her luck but a strong female character at that. Kris Pulaski started playing guitar young, in her basement struggling to play Iron Man by Black Sabbath when Terry Hunt showed interest in her. They became fast friends and decided at one point to start a band. Collecting bandmates wasn't a problem. Tuck, J.D., Scottie, they were a great band that became Durt Wurk. J.D. the drummer was volatile and was replaced by Bill so on they went. They never did make it big, but Kris didn't care enough because she felt they were doing well. She was having a good time as were the rest of the band. However, little did she realize that one of the bandmates would pull the rug out from under their feet. Signing the contracts should have been the most natural thing in the world. Fame, fortune, comfortable life and no more sleeping in vans and cars. However, the music would change, they would be owned.  Refusing, Kris left the contracts to the rest of the bandmates without realizing the repercussions of her decisions. 34 years later, she is a washed up guitarist. She hasn't written a song since the day she left the band. Since contract night. The night she cannot remember. The bandmate that betrayed her is doing a farewell tour and has made it so big that he is sweating money. She doesn't know what to do other than find out what happened on contract night. Visiting old band members, she starts seeing a conspiracy unfold. Tragedies and confinement lead her to paranoia and to the home of someone she never thought she would ever want to see again. Crossing the country to see the betrayer should have been easy, but obstacles keep getting in her way. What should she do when or if she gets there? Will she even make it? Why is UPS also involved? This book was so unreal. I loved the music references. Either the author is a true metalhead, or he did severe research because he knew some old metal songs and bands that I have not thought about since 1992. ( I was much pleased that he referenced some of the newer groups as nu-metal and not true-metal because there is a difference. That is neither here or there. ) The conspiracy was a little predictable. I have to say, by the 75% mark, I was pretty sure I knew where the story would go. The alternating storylines between Kris and someone else made me pretty aware of the fact that Kris would do something and this other person would do something about that. This propelled the plot as I saw it. However, though I did know how she would get to her destination, I did not know the journey. This is why this is a good book. It was unpredictable in that respect. The villain was a jerk. That was on purpose of course. There were two villains. The first one was the betrayer, the ex-bandmate. The pretend-to-be-your-friend-because-I-need-you-for-something kind of a friend. That was the gist I got. The second villain was the contract guy. The businessman. He was always smiling always fast-talking because he was still trying to get people to sell their most precious commodity. If he were the devil, I didn't know. He may have been a minion, who knows, the book did not indicate. Writing: The writing was excellent. Casual enough for anyone to read, but literary sufficient to call it an exceptional novel. The flow was consistent and accessible to get along with. The story was woven so well I was able to read it in a day and a half. This was not written with much symbolism, however. There was symbolism, but the characters explained it. I was delighted or else I would have been confused. Plot: The plot was solid and sturdy and I was able to ascertain the ending; however by the three-quarter mark which was a little disappointing. Although, I did not know how it would get to that point. Some subplots needed some resolve to get there, and I needed to find out what would happen to those. Everything seemed to tie in together towards the end about 95% in and by the epilogue they were all tied in together nicely. This was a well-constructed book. What I liked: I loved the music of course, aside from that I really enjoyed seeing a strong female lead. Not only that, I saw a strong female lead guitarist. To me, that is a classic Lita Ford icon in my mind. She was unstoppable. It was almost like reading Koontz's Jane Hawk books. I was very happy with the way it went. No matter what happened, no matter how bad it got, she never gave up. She wasn't a classic damsel in distress, she was a warrior and I loved it. What I Didn't Like: I didn't like that I was able to discern the ending so easily. Hendrix made the book a little too predictable. though the journey was not as predictable as the ending, I would have liked a little more of a surprise. Overall Impression: This is a great book, especially for readers who love metal! Especially metal from the old days (70's, 80's and 90's). I'm not saying that Nu-metal is bad, because I like that too, admittedly. I do like Korn and Slipknot, but my heart rests with the old guys really. But back to the book. The book is really just a great read. It has all the elements of action, suspense, twists, and conspiracy. It will keep you guessing (as long as you don't figure out the ending as I did).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    As a fan of Grady, heavy metal and horror I was really looking forward to this book and I’m glad to say that is was absolutely fantastic. We Sold Our Souls takes you on a thrilling adventure that follows Kris Pulaski, the former guitarist of Dürt Würk - a band that was never huge but loved by those fortunate enough to hear them. The reasons for the dissolution of her band are not what she believes them to be and the evils she wrote about are far more real than she realises. Kris is a great protag As a fan of Grady, heavy metal and horror I was really looking forward to this book and I’m glad to say that is was absolutely fantastic. We Sold Our Souls takes you on a thrilling adventure that follows Kris Pulaski, the former guitarist of Dürt Würk - a band that was never huge but loved by those fortunate enough to hear them. The reasons for the dissolution of her band are not what she believes them to be and the evils she wrote about are far more real than she realises. Kris is a great protagonist who pulls you in to the story with ease; she’s likeable, badass and tenacious. The story is fast, fun and ridiculously addictive, I got through this book in a couple of days… and after sacrificing some sleep! I was also impressed by the heavy metal knowledge displayed throughout and the care put in to the story as heavy metal if often misunderstood. I’m giving this my highest recommendation!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I have also included a few quotes from the eARC- I couldn’t help myself- so, please note, the quotes are subject to change in the published version We Sold Our Souls in a word? Epic! In three words? Epic, epic, epic! I mean- it’s about heavy metal- how can it not be epic, right? Am I saying ‘epic’ too much? 😀 Anywhoo, what a satanic ride this one was… I mean, not only was the plot utterly devilish and filled with dark, sinister agendas and death and gore and other horror-y stuff, I also- seriously I have also included a few quotes from the eARC- I couldn’t help myself- so, please note, the quotes are subject to change in the published version We Sold Our Souls in a word? Epic! In three words? Epic, epic, epic! I mean- it’s about heavy metal- how can it not be epic, right? Am I saying ‘epic’ too much? 😀 Anywhoo, what a satanic ride this one was… I mean, not only was the plot utterly devilish and filled with dark, sinister agendas and death and gore and other horror-y stuff, I also- seriously- laughed at some scenes… Like the piss-scene in a Best Western lobby. It was disgusting and horrible but I laughed. So hard. Sue me. The book starts off by filling the reader the detail of the background, of the beginning of it all slowly, but surely… and epically, naturlich! We get to know the beginnings of Dürt Würk and the members of the band. Ambitious group of young ones with individuality in spades, wanting to take over the world with heavy metal one location, one club at a time. They didn’t agree on anything except the most important thing: heavy metal was their religion. It tore the happy face off the world. It told the truth. It kicked down doors. But it’s tough going for them… and just as Dürt Würk are certain they’re going to have a breakthrough, everything flops, like a limp, wet sock. Not only did Terry break up the band but he went and started his own- Koffin- and it’s freaking nu metal! Sacrilege of the highest order! Now, 20 years later, most Dürt Würk members have settled in to their lovely suburban mansions with a partner and kids. But not Kris. She’s just a Best Western worker and, rightly so, bitter. The light of her life- music- has been taken from her. Nothing stays hidden behind closed doors, though, especially in a horror novel. Behind the doors- this is where the monster is! Or escape… You know how it goes- they always open the door and go looking for trouble! Kris can no longer sit back and as Terry, who left all of the Dürt Würk members coughing up the dust as he took off towards his stardom, makes his comeback on stage, Kris knows that it’s time to dig up the bones of the past. Thus begins the incredible unravelling of the plot as Kris insists on going head first into that one night 20 years ago that changed everything. What ensues is truly quite difficult to describe. It’s fast-paced, hard-core and totally gripping. But it’s also covered in conspiracy, madness and death. And betrayal and escapes. But, tap into metal, and you can do anything… Metal never dies. Metal never retreats. Metal never surrenders. And then… We Sold Our Souls is about more than just revenge by ex-band mates. It’s an example of a heavy metal way of life, it’s a case study of the value of music and a piss-take on the mainstream auto-tuned radio waves. It’s a shout out to calloused fingers and aching necks and certain kind of passion… No excuses made for what matters most in this book… Have you noticed how soulless this world has become? How empty and prefabricated? Soulless lives are hollow. We fill the earth with soulless cities, pollute ourselves with soulless albums. … and it’s made good with that added bit of craziness… Kris is a helluva woman. She’s heavy metal down to her very core and her stamina and willpower alone are the driving force of this novel. She finds herself in situations that would break a person mentally in half, but Kris? She’s no quitter and she will see things through to the very bitter end against the most powerful evil. To the bitter end, I said… well, that is actually open for debate… 😉 We Sold Our Souls is a novel of strong beginnings, unbelievable realities, claustrophobic crescendos, gruesome deaths and unimaginable prophecies looking for heroes… Oh! And the chapters are named after the best albums- Bathory, Manowar, Mötley Crüe, Megadeth and so on… ! Thoroughly enjoyable, much recommended!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Moore

    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 t 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: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction’. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).

    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... We Sold Our Souls is a most excellent read and with my devil horns raised Grady Hendrix, I salute you!🤘 Kris Pulaski was the lead guitarist in the heavy metal band Dürt Würk but music and happiness are in her past. It has been years since she picked up her guitar, shredded her axe and made her six-string sing. These days Kris is back in her hometown living paycheck to paycheck and st As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress... We Sold Our Souls is a most excellent read and with my devil horns raised Grady Hendrix, I salute you!🤘 Kris Pulaski was the lead guitarist in the heavy metal band Dürt Würk but music and happiness are in her past. It has been years since she picked up her guitar, shredded her axe and made her six-string sing. These days Kris is back in her hometown living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to get by dealing with boredom, monotony and unruly arseholes/customers working as the Night Manager at a Best Western hotel. When she was a kid all Kris had was music. An outcast, she learnt to play the guitar by playing until her fingers bled and then she played some more finding solace in the riffs and the music. Teaching herself in the basement of her family home repeating the riff to Iron Man by Black Sabbath until it was second nature. Then, one day, there was a tapping on the basement window and Kris was asked if she was playing Sabbath. The kid that tapped on the window, Terry Hunt. The pair bonded over music and formed a friendship over their mutual love of heavy metal. Due to this, they decided to start a band, add in some other misfits who become their bandmates and Dürt Würk (which is a cool name for a band) was born. After ten years of playing to mid-sized audiences and paying their dues but failing to achieve any real success, with two albums released, a new album (Troglodyte) already written in the hopes of a scoring big contract and thanks to their new manager Rob Anthony Dürt Würk got their big break as the opening act for the metal titan’s Slayer. Unfortunately, things went wrong, Terry bad-mouthed Slayer, got the band kicked off the tour, trashed his hotel room and then disappeared leaving the rest of the band to be told that they’d been sacked from the tour before a show. Due to his behaviour and fucking up their shot at the big time the rest of the band decided that they would fire him. They drove back to the Witch House (the place where they wrote and practised their songs and recorded their albums) only to find Terry waiting for them with Rob and a cooler full of champagne. Along with Terry, Rob and the champagne there were contracts laid out on a table and waiting for the rest of the band to sign. A multi-album, multi-year record deal but it’s not for Dürt Würk. Dürt Würk are dead and Terry has masterminded a new creation, going forward he will be known as The Blind King and they will now be known as Koffin. That’s not all though, their album Troglodyte will be discarded without ever being officially released. Terry will have sole ownership and rights to the lyrics, music, songs and publishing and the rest of the band will just be session musicians who play with him. But, perhaps the worst thing for the true metalhead members of the band, the genre and style of the band would change. Under the Koffin name they will no longer be a heavy metal band but a nu metal band, the sacrilege and the horror! This, of course, doesn’t go down well with the other band members who don’t really want to rap, sell out and play like Korn, Limp Bizket or Slipknot! – they sure don’t like Slipknot so remember maggots it’s just a book!👍 Enraged by Terry and the contract offer Kris goes off into the woods to blow off some steam and calm down. On that fateful night, however, there is an unaccounted for gap, a span of missing hours and a hole in Kris’s memory. It is also the night when tragedy strikes and the band split up. That was twenty years ago and in the intervening years, Terry has become a multi-millionaire metal megastar and Koffin a hugely successful brand with legions of adoring fans and millions upon millions in the bank. Now, after a period of inactivity and years since their last album release Koffin and Terry return to play a farewell tour. Named ‘Farewell to the King‘ the tour will be the final five shows by Koffin. However, at the last concert and due to the popularity of the tour Terry announces that he is holding a huge music festival in the Las Vegas desert called Hellstock ’19. Taking place over three days and featuring fifty bands over three stages Hellstock will now be Koffin’s swan song and final ever show. Dürt Würk was Kris’s life, the band and the music meant everything to her and it was all taken away from her by Terry and Koffin. Fuelled by years of anger, frustration, hurt and rage Kris wants answers from Terry, to right the wrongs of her past, redemption for herself and decides that it is finally time to uncover the truth behind what really happened on contract night all those years ago. Setting out on an epic cross-country journey that will bring her into contact with her former bandmates, hellish creatures and murderous UPS delivery drivers (yes, really) there is only one way it will all end, with her confronting Terry. Kris is one woman with a guitar against many and the only help she has on the way to her confrontation with the Blind King is the unreleased Dürt Würk album, her masterpiece Troglodyte and its created mythology. In Troglodyte Kris must believe, placing her trust in the songs and the lyrics that she once wrote and allowing the album to guide her. Troglodyte tells a story that forms the backdrop of her journey helping her endure the shit that she has to face and keeping her moving forward. Interspersed with Kris’s story are the occasional chapters focusing on Melanie, a die-hard Koffin fan with a dead-end job who wants more from her life. Melanie sees Hellstock as the ideal opportunity for a fresh start, to move away to a new state, start over and to see Terry and his band who have given her so much and whose music saved her life (many of us have bands/songs/lyrics that we find meaning in, can relate too and have found comfort in during hard times and that is what Koffin and their songs mean to Melanie) one last time. I really liked the Melanie chapters, she’s slightly naive but an all-around good sort and a likeable character. Each chapter is titled after a classic music album, Appetite for Destruction, Diary of a Madman, Master of Puppets, etc and whilst only a small thing, it’s a really nice touch and shows thought on the part of the author. At the start of each chapter, there are snippets from magazine articles, interviews and radio shows. Some old and some new mentioning Dürt Würk, the state of the world, conspiracy theories, Koffin’s farewell tour and the Hellstock festival. Again, like with the naming of the chapter titles, it’s only a small thing but the snippets are another nice touch and are used to add additional insight and depth to the story. Dürt Würk feels like a real band that derailed, imploded and split-up, not just a group of people written on pages in a book but band-mates from a real band with a real history. The backstory of the band, the individual band-mates and the relationships between them all throughout the course of We Sold Our Souls from their bygone days as a band to the present day and the animosity that the others feel towards Kris, the admittance of fault, the attempting building of bridges, the betrayals and, of course, the loathing that Kris feels towards Terry, it is all exceptional and makes for a compelling narrative. All of the characters featured are different with their own personalities and none more so than Kris who is a terrific main character. Kris is beaten, damaged, frayed and tough with no quit in her. She is ‘metal4life‘ and raises a middle finger to conformity. She is someone to root for, to get behind, to cheer on in her quest, she is heavy metal through and through, music runs in her veins and she is badass. We Sold Our Souls is a crazy train of a book that is loaded with soaring cleans, guttural growls, harsh screaming, breakdowns, acoustic interludes, duelling guitar solos and excess riffage. C’mon, you knew I’d get some musical references into the review so I might as well have stuck them all together!😂 But, if you prefer the non-musical version. We Sold Our Souls is a hellish thrill ride of a book that is loaded with emotion, humour, redemption, craziness, action and heart. Part horror, part homage to heavy metal, part road trip and all awesome We Sold Our Souls is pure unadulterated fun and a metal lover’s paradise. It is a totally bodacious book, it is going on my books of the year list and I fucking loved it!🤘

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (That's What She Read)

    4.0 Stars Kris was in a heavy metal band called Durt Wurk, but right before they were about to hit it big, the band fell apart. Twenty years later, she's the night manager at a Best Western and her life has been miserable since the split. Her former bandmate has skyrocketed to Stardom as Koffin. Kris learns that her and her bandmates souls may have been the price for Koffin's success. She embarks on a journey and will stop at NOTHING until she confronts him. This was a fun, fast-paced story. I pe 4.0 Stars Kris was in a heavy metal band called Durt Wurk, but right before they were about to hit it big, the band fell apart. Twenty years later, she's the night manager at a Best Western and her life has been miserable since the split. Her former bandmate has skyrocketed to Stardom as Koffin. Kris learns that her and her bandmates souls may have been the price for Koffin's success. She embarks on a journey and will stop at NOTHING until she confronts him. This was a fun, fast-paced story. I personally, don't have a relationship with heavy metal specifcally, but that did not keep me from connecting with the story. There were some great brutal scenes in there that really made the story. Grady Hendrix also took the Faustian bargain device and wrote a story for modern audiences. It left me thinking about the state of our "soul".

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    Thanks to Quirk Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is it. What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said by all my book blogger friends? We Sold Our Souls is a rocking good time filled with well-developed characters and shocking twists, all told in Grady Hendrix’s assured, witty voice. Hendrix is quickly becoming a superstar in the dark fiction field, and rightfully so. What is most impressive about this book, to me, is the cha Thanks to Quirk Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is it. What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said by all my book blogger friends? We Sold Our Souls is a rocking good time filled with well-developed characters and shocking twists, all told in Grady Hendrix’s assured, witty voice. Hendrix is quickly becoming a superstar in the dark fiction field, and rightfully so. What is most impressive about this book, to me, is the character. As seen in 2016’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Hendrix is one of the best at character development, and this story’s main protagonist, Kris — former lead guitarist for Dürt Würk and all-around badass — has one of the most satisfying arcs I’ve read in some time. She’s an important character for the times in which we live, and she is sure to leave any reader feeling empowered. Once begun this novel is hard to stop, with thrilling scenes of action and many moments of societal reflection. Highly recommended for all you rock ‘n’ rollers (and the pop kids).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Humphrey

    Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever had so many thoughts about something that you couldn't pick through them to properly articulate them all? This is exactly how I've been feeling about We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. What I feel is this was a total love letter to metal music and the fans who love it; We Sold Our Souls roped me in and took me on an unexpected journey that reminded me of some sort of epic Lord of the Rings / 80's met Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever had so many thoughts about something that you couldn't pick through them to properly articulate them all? This is exactly how I've been feeling about We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix. What I feel is this was a total love letter to metal music and the fans who love it; We Sold Our Souls roped me in and took me on an unexpected journey that reminded me of some sort of epic Lord of the Rings / 80's metal mashup full of references to music I grew up with, as well as the ever so popular nu metal (you love it or you hate it, and it was made perfectly clear how our characters felt about this particular genre of music throughout the book) We follow the journey of Kris Pulaski, once so close to fame and fortune with her band Dürt Würk she could almost touch it, who now-- decades later-- works in a motel lobby cleaning up the occasional puddle of urine from an unruly guest or two after being sold out years prior by the bands lead singer. This all changes when she's driving home from a particularly nasty days worth of work and spots a billboard with said lead singer on it, advertising his farewell tour. Memories start flooding in, but it's the things she CAN'T remember that lead her on a journey to figure out what happened on the night when all hopes of success were destroyed. This is my first experience reading anything by Grady Hendrix. I'd say my favorite thing about this book was his ability to so accurately depict the struggles of a woman with all odds against her. I also love the way of which he handled a certain younger female characters storyline. He didn't make her out to be some completely airheaded, helpless damsel in distress and I really enjoyed and appreciated that. If I'm being perfectly honest, I felt like this was the perfect book for me. Like all my previously useless knowledge of rock and metal finally paid off in a story where I actually understood all the references. I would absolutely recommend it to fans of the genre, and also anyone who enjoys quality strong female characters in literature. Words can't describe how amazing and in a way even empowering it was to get to follow Kris on her journey, and to watch her overcome some truly horrific people and events, yet nothing was going to stop her from doing what she felt was right. Not without a fight, anyway. I look forward to reading more from the author, both his upcoming and previous works.

  21. 4 out of 5

    La La

    4.5 on the blog. "A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything." If you want to read a book that will give you an authentic feel for the Metal music scene, and really the music business as a whole, wrapped up in an excellent Horror/Psychological Thriller story, grab this book as quick as you can. Oh, and the MC is a woman... a woman Metal guitarist! The story brought up so many points about the current state of affairs in the music industry that I almost put on pants (trousers for you f 4.5 on the blog. "A girl with a guitar never has to apologize for anything." If you want to read a book that will give you an authentic feel for the Metal music scene, and really the music business as a whole, wrapped up in an excellent Horror/Psychological Thriller story, grab this book as quick as you can. Oh, and the MC is a woman... a woman Metal guitarist! The story brought up so many points about the current state of affairs in the music industry that I almost put on pants (trousers for you folks in the UK) at this late hour to hop over to my friend's recording studio for some rousing conversation with whomever happened to be hanging out. In person discussion... there's nothing better. The .5 star deduction came from a few cliche stereotypes which I'm not completely sure weren't thrown in the mix for good reason, but come on, a fat lesbian sound tech? I'd love to interview and pick the brain of this author. It is a book I will read again and take notes on to do a proper full blog review. I'm going to also promo and mini review it in a Facebook women's gear group of which I am a member. I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was nearly a breakout success, but the lead singer Terry went solo and became a superstar as Koffin, leaving the rest of the band in the dust. Now, former guitarist Kris is miserable as a night manager at Best Western. Then one day she learns a horrific secret about Terry's meteoric success -it may have come at the price of Kris's soul. With this information, Kris plans to confront the man I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was nearly a breakout success, but the lead singer Terry went solo and became a superstar as Koffin, leaving the rest of the band in the dust. Now, former guitarist Kris is miserable as a night manager at Best Western. Then one day she learns a horrific secret about Terry's meteoric success -it may have come at the price of Kris's soul. With this information, Kris plans to confront the man who ruined her life, but first she's going have to get the rest of Dürt Würk back together again and travel across the country to a monster of a music festival where Koffin is playing his final show. I was so excited when I realized I had been approved for this ARC via NetGalley because Grady Hendrix has quickly become one of my favorite new horror writers. His brand of horror is right up my alley - I loved Horrorstor and My Best Friend's Excorcism was pretty fantastic. Needless to say, I had really high hopes and was expecting to be thoroughly creeped out by his newest novel. Luckily for me, We Sold Our Souls totally delivers in all the ways that matter. I'm not a guitarist and heavy metal isn't one of my favorite genres, but as a musician I forgot how much I like reading about fellow musicians. I especially like seeing it in genre fiction which doesn't happen often enough, and I love how key Kris's music (and love of music) plays such a central role in this horror story. Kris herself is a fascinating lead character. Even though she's quite flawed, a bit rough around the edges, and doesn't always make the best decisions, I couldn't help but root for her throughout. In fact, all of the characters in this novel are complex and well-drawn. Finally, I just need to mention just how well this novel works as a psychological horror story. I was on the edge of my seat and there are plenty of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Plus, if you're into conspiracy theories this will probably get you going as well. Overall, We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix is a thrilling new Lovecraft-esque horror novel that focuses on music and its cast. If you've enjoyed this author's previous works, I have a feeling that you'll love this too. I can't wait to see what he's going to do next. One thing's for sure, though, I will never look at UPS in the same way! Thanks again, NetGalley!

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Yoon

    Kris Pulaski loved to play guitar and her heavy metal band Durt Wurk put in the work, hit the road and played every backwoods dive, seedy bar and smoky venue with their big break surely just around the corner. But that was 20 years ago. Now she works nights at a Best Western contending with urinating guests while her band mate Terry Hunt has gone off on his own to wealth and acclaim. A solo metal phenomenon rebranded as Koffin. He's back for one last set of shows and it spurs Kris to try and unra Kris Pulaski loved to play guitar and her heavy metal band Durt Wurk put in the work, hit the road and played every backwoods dive, seedy bar and smoky venue with their big break surely just around the corner. But that was 20 years ago. Now she works nights at a Best Western contending with urinating guests while her band mate Terry Hunt has gone off on his own to wealth and acclaim. A solo metal phenomenon rebranded as Koffin. He's back for one last set of shows and it spurs Kris to try and unravel why they all broke up in the first place. Hendrix captures the in-fighting and brothers in arms duality of being in a band. He also drops a ton of lovely metal morsels throughout the book that had me reaching for classic Black Sabbath. (I love that an intrepid fan has already created a comprehensive playlist of every song referenced in the book on Spotify) A couple of grisy horror set pieces and man, what did UPS ever do to Grady Hendrix anyways? A fun diversion but a bit of a wash for me at the end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    While missing some of the sly humor of his previous books, We Sold Our Souls is a hard and fast rager of a horror novel. Mixing light gore, hard living characters, and scenes so vibrant you can hear the scream of the music and feel the bleeding fingertips of our guitarist, Hendrix gives us a truly epic horror journey! This is the kind of book you'll read at a fever's pace and, at the end, no matter the terror and heartbreak of our characters, you'll want to be legendary yourself. After all...it on While missing some of the sly humor of his previous books, We Sold Our Souls is a hard and fast rager of a horror novel. Mixing light gore, hard living characters, and scenes so vibrant you can hear the scream of the music and feel the bleeding fingertips of our guitarist, Hendrix gives us a truly epic horror journey! This is the kind of book you'll read at a fever's pace and, at the end, no matter the terror and heartbreak of our characters, you'll want to be legendary yourself. After all...it only costs a soul or two (or thousands and thousands). Dark, twisted, and kind of made me want to take up guitar (maybe without destroying my soul, though).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Timy

    This review with a picked song was posted on my blog! It’s not really a secret that I’m pretty much into rock and roll. Metal not so much, but I recognised all the bands who were referenced, so yay me! Well, all the bands mentioned namely in the story anyway. When I started to read this book, a friend of mine who is into metal leafed through the pages and was like: “Hey! The chapter titles are album titles!” I just stood there, staring, feeling like an idiot. Of course! How I never realised this? This review with a picked song was posted on my blog! It’s not really a secret that I’m pretty much into rock and roll. Metal not so much, but I recognised all the bands who were referenced, so yay me! Well, all the bands mentioned namely in the story anyway. When I started to read this book, a friend of mine who is into metal leafed through the pages and was like: “Hey! The chapter titles are album titles!” I just stood there, staring, feeling like an idiot. Of course! How I never realised this? Well, maybe because I don’t listen to these bands… In my defense, there were two albums I knew! One of them were Master of Puppets and the other Toxicity. Okay, let’s move on to more important things. You can read my full review but the gist of it is: READ THIS BOOK if you a) like horror stories or books with dark atmosphere and b) you love music (preferably rock or metal) and as like me are in a desperate need for a good book featuring this form of art. Kris Pulaski’s life is mediocre and that’s being put kindly. She works as a receptionist, has to put up with crazy guests and his brother who decides to sell their mother’s house over her head. She has 6 weeks to move out. This is far from the life she wanted for herself, worked hard for in all those years she spent on the road with her metal band called Dürt Würk. But on the threshold of success, their leader/singer fucked up their lives, got themselves kicked out of the Slayer tour and on top of it, announced a new contract everyone was reluctant to accept, most of all Kris. And that night changed their lives forever. Many years later Kris finally decides to confront Terry (who just announced his farewell tour with a few dates) and get what she deserves: payment for her songs, for all the pain he caused and the mess he left them in. She digs out her old guitar and leather jacket going back to the old, ruthless Kris who didn’t let anyone to screw with her and goes to gather her old band: Scottie, Tuck, Bill and JD. “When she used to go on tour, Kris loved the feeling of being on the road, because she knew that every tour was a circle and you always wound up back home. Not this time. She didn’t belong anywhere. It felt terrifying.” But the road is much longer and complicated than she expected. Soon she finds herself on the run from the police, lies spreading about her like wildfire, not a single sane person to help her and death following in her wake. Despite all the circumstances there is not a moment where she considers giving up, turning her back and say “Fuck it, it’s not worth the trouble”. Even when it seems impossible to reach Terry in time – and at one point she straight up looses 3 months in an institute ran by the former Dürt Würk drummer Bill. I also have to mention Melanie, the one other character who got her own POV chapters. I could really connect with her: the girl from a town in nowhere, working hard to finally see her most favorite band, Koffin on their final tour. And when she finally gets to meet her hero, she realises not everything is as she imagined. I liked her courage and bravery and the way she bonded with Kris over music. But no matter how hard things might be, the only thing that helps her through this mad journey is music. “Kris’s hands could barely keep up with the music, but she rode it forward and it carried her, and all the songs were in the language of the cardboard signs she saw everywhere she went. Please Help. Need Help. Help me. Trying to get home. Lost everything. Signs written in want, need, must, hungry, sick, lonely, scared. Songs for people who couldn’t escape the weight that pressed down on their backs like a mountain, crushed them to the ground, who couldn’t walk because they were too tired, who couldn’t run away because their feet were in chains, who couldn’t think of a solution because they were too hungry to think past their next meal.” I loved that music had such a significant role in this book. Not just because most of the characters were musicians or fans, but because it was a character itself in a way. A sidekick, which kept Kris sane, but also mocked and saved her. It also got its own story, its mythology through lyrics. Metal and mythology tends to have a strong bond in any case and Hendrix used this to his own (okay, the story’s) advantage. But this book wouldn’t be the masterpiece it is without the source of all of Kris’ problems: Black Iron Mountain. It is a mythical place, but it also embodies everything that’s wrong in the world: greed, dishonesty, lust, lies, blackmail, etc. It uses people’s naivety and their needs and greed to chain them, to suck them dry and steal their dreams while making them believe that’s what they desired. „Souls are the best part of us,” JD said from the shadows. „Our passions, our dreams. We sell them and lose our creativity, our songs, our spark. We can no longer imagine anything bigger than what’s in front of our faces, we can no longer dream of a better world than Black Iron Mountain. We Sold Our Souls holds a mirror to our world, exaggerating the worst qualities of our society: paranoia, greed, the power of the media and what a group of people is able to do if encouraged and manipulated the right way. The thin line between humanity and animal instincts. The real horror in this book is what people are capable of if we push the right buttons, how easily we can disregard those we think are wrong and make them an outcast. As JD says: „Kris,” he said, „it is possible to be crazy and paranoid and totally insane and still be right. Maybe the problem with everyone is that the world has become so insane they’re not out of their minds enough to comprehend it.” This book has everything you might wish for: a dark tale, gritty scenes, a crazy road trip, monsters, relatable characters and metal. We Sold Our Souls is the perfect bland of prose, characters, the darker side of the world and so many great quotes that I had to restrain myself to use them all. This is one of those books I would like to shout about to anyone who listens to me, because I loved the ideas, the atmosphere, the details Hendrix crammed into this one. If I didn’t have any other obligations I probably would have reread it right after finishing it. I’m sure as hell will check out Grady Hendrix’s other books. I advise you do the same!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    “Have you ever noticed how soulless this world has become? How empty and prefabricated? Soulless lives are hollow. We fill the earth with soulless cities, pollute ourselves with soulless albums.” We Sold Our Souls is like the book version of a movie directed by some strange Frankenstein’s monster mash-up of Edgar Wright’s musical genius and Sam Raimi’s weird, gory humor. And I loved every single second. At its core, this is an empowering story, one where a woman who once followed her passion has b “Have you ever noticed how soulless this world has become? How empty and prefabricated? Soulless lives are hollow. We fill the earth with soulless cities, pollute ourselves with soulless albums.” We Sold Our Souls is like the book version of a movie directed by some strange Frankenstein’s monster mash-up of Edgar Wright’s musical genius and Sam Raimi’s weird, gory humor. And I loved every single second. At its core, this is an empowering story, one where a woman who once followed her passion has been beaten down at every turn life has given her. She decides to stop taking the shit being shoveled at her and stands up, saying, no more—even if there is a mountain standing against me, I’m going to fight. And that’s a message that a lot of us can probably get behind right about now. Yes, this is a book about heavy metal, something that I know little about (despite my brief foray as a teenage punk rock guitarist—it was short-lived, I sucked), have never listened to, and can’t really relate to. But everyone can relate to the angst, depression, and frustration Kris feels as someone who has made mistakes, fallen into a job she hates, and given up on a part of herself that is intrinsic to who she is, who she sees in the mirror raging behind her eyes. Haven’t we all been there? There is probably a moment we all can remember from our teen years when we did something that truly sparked us inside. Maybe we’ve lost that childlike joy, that incandescent wonder, that feeling of true boundlessness and infinitude and invincibility that really rocking something and going after it fully—damn the consequences—can bring. But why? Why do we go through our days not really living, not chasing—full-on sprinting—after whatever it is that we find fulfilling, whatever it is that makes us feel we are more than just a sack of organs and skin and barely-working brain matter? I might not have the answer to that question, but I can say that this book fired me up. Grady Hendrix has come a long way from Horrorstor, a book I found unique in style but sorely lacking in editorial execution. While Souls doesn’t have the developed character relationships or nostalgic friendship journey that My Best Friend’s Exorcism (to my infinite delight) offered, it is an emotional roller coaster all the same, and one that is perfectly tailored to where we are as a society right now. This wham-bam-in-your-face book just demands to be read, screams it, in that death metal-y demon screeching way, and I couldn’t get enough. My thanks to Quirk Books for sending a copy of this one for the Night Worms to read and review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ley

    I think Grady Hendrix has quickly climbed up the list of favorite authors. If you haven't read my review of My Best Friend's Exorcism, pause right now and go read that to give you an idea of what you're about to dive into here. What I absolutely love about Hendrix is that he writes such believable women. Like, women and teen girls who have been through the ringer and still come out strong. Kris is no different. The opening of the book made my heart absolutely ache for my own reasons, but that coul I think Grady Hendrix has quickly climbed up the list of favorite authors. If you haven't read my review of My Best Friend's Exorcism, pause right now and go read that to give you an idea of what you're about to dive into here. What I absolutely love about Hendrix is that he writes such believable women. Like, women and teen girls who have been through the ringer and still come out strong. Kris is no different. The opening of the book made my heart absolutely ache for my own reasons, but that could be just me. Teenage Kris trying so hard to teach herself Black Sabbath songs in a freezing basement is a familiar image to me. True, I grew up when metal was dying out and nü-metal was on its way in, but god only knows how many times I've wanted to live the life Kris had. It's not a Grady Hendrix book without some MAJORLY FUCKED UP STUFF. In this case, it's the storyline of the Troglodyte album, the Dürt Würk album that lead to the band falling apart and Terry rocketing to the top with Koffin. The reason he rose to fame while the others had to rejoin the real world? Well. It's in the title. There's some brutal body horror in this one, much like in MBFE. But it does serve a point. I won't spoil it, but just know, you will regret eating your dinner while reading! There are also some MAJORLY creepy creatures, too! As another warning, there is a small scene of sexual assault. Not a rape, but some major unwanted groping. Perfectly creepy and in a way touching, Grady Hendrix's We Sold Our Souls is the perfect read to prepare you for spookyseason. I give it 5 out of 5 sparrows. (But don't let Black Iron Mountain know.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Elizabeth

    This book revived my soul and left my mind buzzing. I am beyond thankful for receiving We Sold Our Souls as an advance reading copy as well as given this opportunity to review it before it’s release date. Hendrix has been such an important author to me within the past year or so. His book, My Best Friend’s Exorcism turned me into the horror guru I am today (as well as horror movie director James Wan. Wan + Hendrix are the high quality creators that I dream to be.). I had very little idea of what t This book revived my soul and left my mind buzzing. I am beyond thankful for receiving We Sold Our Souls as an advance reading copy as well as given this opportunity to review it before it’s release date. Hendrix has been such an important author to me within the past year or so. His book, My Best Friend’s Exorcism turned me into the horror guru I am today (as well as horror movie director James Wan. Wan + Hendrix are the high quality creators that I dream to be.). I had very little idea of what to expect from We Sold Our Souls and as the blurb didn’t give much information, I went into this book blind. We Sold Our Souls follows Kris Pulaski, former guitarist of the heavy metal band Dürt Würk. The breakup of the band is still fresh in her mind two decades later as she is struggling with her mental health, with finances as she goes into debt, and acceptance of the past. She blames her misfortune on former band member, Terry Hunt, as he was the one to rise to fame as ‘The Blind King”, leader singer of Koffin. Kris knows that something went down that night of the Dürt Würk breakup, yet it is completely missing from her mind. She remembers the contracts to join Koffin, the violent breakup, and the car crash, yet it doesn’t add up. It isn’t until Kris reunites with her other bandmates two decades later that she realizes that Terry Hunt didn’t get his success with luck, but possibly something much darker. Something satanic went down that night of the contacts. Now, a road trip to remember as Kris puts that last of her energy into seeking out Terry Hunt as he does everything he can to stop Kris from getting her revenge. Author Grady Hendrix went all out with this book. How heavy metal music, satanic cults, conspiracy theories, and pop culture references tie into We Sold Our Souls so smoothly. Hendrix has a way with writing and creating these thoughts provoking situations that are unlike any other authors’ work. I can’t simply state this without providing evidence, such as when Kris completely destroys a demon by beating it with her guitar. When she gets physically stuck in a metal pipe far underground (so many details of this scene that I am dying to mention, but I will not spoil it). The satanic musical festival and everything that goes down. These situations are signature Grady Hendrix moves. His way of writing has a build to it that leads up to such heartstopping moments that have me completely captivated. Along with his epic pop culture references, Grady Hendrix delves deep when he correlates current day society and how technology plays a role in our lives into his book. He brought up many important topics in We Sold Our Souls as he relates these to his overall message on music and our souls. The open-ended ending of the book left my mind buzzing. It is so easy for me to say that We Sold Our Souls is one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2018. I give it a rating of five out of five. I have to say it one last time- This book revived my soul. Publication date of We Sold Our Souls: September 18, 2018

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shane Douglas Keene

    Easy five star read for me. This brilliantly brutal cosmic horror novel from one of our best authors is a must read for all fans of the macabre. Full review coming soon.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    4-1/2 stars Twenty years ago, Kris was the lead guitarist and songwriter for a semi-successful metal band called Dürt Würk. But when the lead singer left, the band broke up. Some members have done well for themselves, but not Kris. She’s barely scraping by, working the night shift at a Best Western run by her brother. But when Terry/the Blind King starts posting billboards everywhere to advertise his farewell tour, Kris realizes it’s time to figure out what really happened to Dürt Würk the night 4-1/2 stars Twenty years ago, Kris was the lead guitarist and songwriter for a semi-successful metal band called Dürt Würk. But when the lead singer left, the band broke up. Some members have done well for themselves, but not Kris. She’s barely scraping by, working the night shift at a Best Western run by her brother. But when Terry/the Blind King starts posting billboards everywhere to advertise his farewell tour, Kris realizes it’s time to figure out what really happened to Dürt Würk the night they were supposed to sign contracts with a major label, and heads out on a road trip from Western Pennsylvania to Las Vegas, via some terrifying detours. I had no idea what to expect from this book. The cover caught my eye and hooked me. The title seemed to promise supernatural horror, but when I read the jacket flap (not what I wrote above), it sounded more like Hillbilly Elegy: The Novel than like a genre novel. I had to check GR to determine that there is indeed a supernatural element. And when I saw the mostly very positive reviews, I knew I had to read it. This is the book I was hoping for with Meddling Kids: Straightforward, breathless action with decent emotional depth, and without all the irritating screenplay formatting and distracting wordplay. I zoomed through this book in about two days, because it’s fast-paced and exciting. Once Kris set out on her journey, I needed answers to her existing, and newly developing, questions just as badly as she did. The twists are shocking, and the surprises are numerous. This is a clever, very darkly humorous, plot which maybe doesn’t entirely hold together, but is so enjoyable I didn’t care. It made enough sense as the story progressed, and I really loved and was completely impressed by how Dürt Würk’s final album tied into the present action, so I’m disinclined to nitpick anything. I also loved that the characters are mostly pushing 50, which seems like a bit of an unusual age group for this kind of story. There’s a subplot featuring a 20-something named Melanie, but she only gets a few chapters. While the chapter names are all titles of heavy metal albums, mostly by bands I never heard of (I recognized exactly four chapter titles), and I suspect there are some metal references in the story that I didn’t get at all, not being a fan of or intimately familiar with heavy metal music does not detract from enjoying or appreciating this book. Since this is a horror novel, there are several disturbing scenes, although fewer than I was afraid there would be. Warning: One is extremely gruesome and I tried very hard not to imagine it too clearly, but it’s still haunting me. (view spoiler)[The scene with JD getting pulled out of the truck and mutilated, for anyone else who’s read this book. (hide spoiler)] Weirdly, in addition to Meddling Kids, this book made me think of Stranger in a Strange Land, which had, to me, a deeply flawed and failing social parody element. We Sold Our Souls felt like a modern, actually enjoyable answer to SiaSL (which I hated with a passion). I was really positively surprised by this book.

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