RogerBW's Blog

The Devil of Echo Lake, Douglas Wynne 31 August 2018

2012 modern horror. Billy Moon is a goth rock idol, but he's starting to think his producer Trevor Rail might be the Devil. Isolated in a rural studio in upstate New York, he knows he's got to make his third hit record… if it kills him.

The thing that's really wrong with this is its predictability. For too much of the book, it's a cycle of something weird happening, and Billy (or Jake, the junior sound engineer who's the other viewpoint character) wondering whether there ain't some kinda Weird Shit going down. And then it all starts again, often with mentions of Robert Johnson.

That's interspersed with recording studio technicalities from the dying days of tape (the book's set in 1996, and Wynne had worked as an engineer before writing this), and everyone getting increasingly off-base. Rail is pushing everybody, Billy in particular, to be on edge in order to get the sound he wants, but is he orchestrating the spooky stuff too?

That's answered at about the three-quarters mark, and (alas that it's so late) that's when the book gets really good and starts to have the courage of its convictions. There's an obvious debt to Machen here, but Wynne has thought through the implications and possibilities, and woven the bits that fit together into a consistent mythology.

Female characters are distinctly lacking both in presence and in agency, which I suppose may be considered part of the nineties rock-and-roll mindset of the protagonists, though it's still a pity.

Not a game-changing book, but decently written even if the pace is slack at times.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo-nebula reread humour in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux lovecraftiana mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1