Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: September 21st 2012
My rating: 4 stars
It’s the summer of 1974 and 21-year old Dawn Emerson has only three things she wants to do: compete one last time in the Ellensburg Rodeo, win back her ex-boyfriend Ryan, and become the best damn music journalist at Central Washington University. But all her plans are left in the dust when she’s contacted by Creem magazine to go on the road with one of her favorite groups, the up-and-coming metal band, Hybrid.
At first the assignment reads like a dream come true. Not only will Dawn land some much-needed credibility as a female music journalist, but she’ll finally get to experience life from the other side of the stage, and maybe crack the drunken, enigmatic code that is guitarist Sage Knightly. Instead, Dawn finds herself on an aging tour bus filled with ego-maniacs, band politics and a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. When monsters start showing up in dressing rooms and some of Sage’s groupies become increasingly strange and dangerous, Dawn discovers the band is not only going places – they’re going straight to Hell.
And Dawn has a backstage pass.
Karina Halle managed to suck me into another story with this creepy, and captivating tale.
Dawn is a college student looking to make it in journalism, more specifically as a journalist covering and reviewing rock music bands. When an offer to tag along with Hybrid, one of her favorite rock bands, and chronicle their tour, Dawn is thrilled, because she’s passionate about Hybrid and their brand of rock. She’s a bit star-struck at first, but keeps a level head determined to be professional. Hybrid is on the cusp of all-out success, but things are unraveling behind the scenes quickly, whether it be from the relationships between band mates or from more sinister threats. It soon becomes apparent that something evil is a work and sabotaging them at every turn. Dawn’s dream opportunity is turning into a dangerous nightmare, one she’s not sure she’ll survive.
Right from the beginning of this seemingly “normal” story there is air of danger present. Sort of like a movie playing out with nothing really scary happening but the creepy, unsettling background music has you on edge over what may come. Strange occurrences and flashes of horror start to plague Dawn after she agrees to do the story, and let me tell you, some of them gave me goose bumps!
While the romance wasn’t a huge part of the story, Dawn is drawn to the mysterious and magnetic, Sage:
“a 6’3” powerhouse of pure talent, the driving force behind the band, and the one code the press couldn’t crack.”
Seeing the man on stage was like watching a lion prowl along the crest of his kingdom.
He’s not happy with her tagging along at first, but they soon become confidants with a simmering attraction boiling under the surface. Hot, broody rocker? I’m so there!
Without the supernatural aspect of this felt like a realistic peek behind the scenes of a rock ‘n roll tour. Set in the 70’s gave it an original and nostalgic feel, reminding us of a time before cell phones, and internet, and taking us back to bands that made rock ‘n roll what it is today. The Devil’s Metal does wrap up, but the story continues in The Devil’s Reprise which comes out in just a couple of weeks. Can’t wait to see how things turn out!