Grady Hendrix, horror writer and author of Paperbacks from Hell and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is back with his most electrifying novel yet. 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 obscurity.
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 a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry sabotaged more than just the band.
Kris hits the road, hoping to 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 celebrity rehab center to a music festival from hell. 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, pill-popping, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul…where only a lone girl with a guitar can save us all.
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Kris sat in the basement, hunched over her guitar, trying to play the beginning of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Her mom had signed her up for guitar lessons with a guy her dad knew from the plant, but after six weeks of playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on a J.C. Penney acoustic, Kris wanted to scream. So she hid in the park when she was supposed to be at Mr. McNutt’s, pocketed the $50 fee for the two lessons she skipped, combined it with all her savings, and bought a scratched-to-hell Fender Musicmaster and a busted-out Radio Shack amp from Goldie Pawn for $160. Then she told her mom that McNutt had tried to watch her pee, so now instead of going to lessons Kris huddled in the freezing cold basement, failing to play power chords.
Excerpted from "We Sold Our Souls"
Copyright © 2018 Grady Hendrix.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I cant recommend this to anyone with intelegence
We Sold Our Souls does a clever spin on the Faustian ‘bargain with the devil’ premise by setting it in the world of heavy metal music. It’s like a mash-up of an old VH-1 Behind The Music and The Devil’s Advocate. There were some harrowing scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. The one that sticks out is when the heroine, Kris, is crawling through a tunnel that is gradually getting smaller and tighter. I’m not claustrophobic, but that scene made it hard to catch my breath! Though for all the scenes like that (and giving Grady Hendrix credit for finding a new take on this age-old tale), something was missing in it, something that made me want to flip the page excitedly to find out what was going to happen next. I found myself putting the book down for several days before picking it up again. All the ingredients were there, but for me the sum was not greater than the parts.
Hendrix Faustian tale based on The Devil and Daniel Webster with a heavy metal slant which is an interesting tale told in its own right. This is a cautionary tale which deals with the age old moral issues of be careful what you wish for. The book is a well written and totally absorbing tale written in the third person but told from Kris’s point of view. The action of the piece stays with Kris through her many fables and foibles and she is a heroine that is to be admired and adored through her vim and verve. She is a strong female character that really pushes her feminine role that shows a strong independent woman as she works out the mystery behind her lost past. The other characters are very well drawn and Hendrix is very strong on bringing them out without using cartoonish clichés. Even the most superficial characters are well written and he is able to encompass a three dimensional view of all the characters showing the good and the bad and being able to show the motivations to make them understandable. This is an incredible feat that most authors have difficulty putting together but Hendrix makes this look easy which shows what a remarkable writer he is. I have read Hendrix’s Paperbacks From Hell which was a testament to the 80’s horror pulp fiction which was well written and deeply researched. It was one of the excellent novels of 2017 and one that if you are a fan of horror, a book that should be included in everyone’s bookshelf. Although I digress, it is to show this is a man who loves his subject matter and genre and knows exactly what to do with this. The novel looks at the world through a 1980’s lens and although most of the action takes place in the present, it still has that horror pulp feel to it. Saying this, it does lifts its subject matter above these tropes to show a better written novel than some of the pulp fiction that it plays ode to. His use of heavy metal lyrics and looking at the subgenre in rock as a whole is very well done. This is a writer who understands his subject material and this is really highlighted when he compares music of today with the music of yesteryears and the differences. He even ties in corporate America buying out of the music industry that shows that music today is market studied before it is released to feed the population what they think is should be fed. This is a big bravo and one of the many reasons that lifts this well above the norm. The book has an uneven opening which takes it’s time setting up the premise but after about three chapters, the story picks up speed and never lets go until it’s final conclusion. It is a very involving tale that grips its audience with a knowing smirk that shows the circle of hell within the music industry. The one minor flaw which would be up to the audience who must read this outstanding novel is the ending which is left ambiguous. For myself, I thought it was the perfect ending building up a myth and legend in the world of rock. Overall, this is an outstanding novel that shows a master at full work creating a world that gives odes to the 80’s against a political backdrop of today. Also shows how the world may be too connected and the changes that have happen for the better or worse. A cautionary tale which true scares and horror mixed in with a deep rooted mystery that keeps the audience involved. This is a gem of the book from the increasingly fascinating talent of Grady Hendrix.
Grady Hendrix is basically the new voice of our Gen X generation. The man has given us a haunted Ikea in Horrorstör, then proceeded to take us back to our formative years with both My Best Friend's Exorcism, where he gives us an '80s tale worthy of an upside-down universe-John Hughes flick. Paperbacks from Hell brought me back to my family's bookshelves, with the best memories of those crazy horror paperback novel covers (remember die-cut covers? EVERY. V.C. ANDREWS. NOVEL) lining the walls of my home and my bookworm uncle's living room. So where is Grady taking us next? Welp, we've grown up and moved on - or have we? - so we're kinda sorta stuck between present and past with We Sold Our Souls. In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was a band on the verge of the breakthrough, and guitarist Kris Pulaski was ready for it. But lead singer Terry Hunt decided to go in a different direction, signing a solo contract and gaining huge success with Koffin, leaving his fellow band members to wallow in obscurity. Twenty years later, Kris is working as the night manager at a Best Western and still wondering what the hell happened that infamous night when everything went to hell. Literally. As Kris travels cross-country to reunite with her band members and find out what really happened on contract night, she starts uncovering the conspiracy to end all conspiracies, tin foil hat and everything. Did Terry sell their souls to get fame, fortune, and unlimited merchandising royalties? Real talk: This book needs to rocket to the top of your TBR, and that's not just because I will read anything that Grady Hendrix writes. He's aces at creating strong, smart female characters, for starters. Kris is not going down without a fight, and we are right there with her, including an escape scene that fed on every single nerve in my body. My chest was tight, my hands were clenched, and I had a cold sweat just envisioning the scene. That's how Grady Hendrix writes. Every chapter is named for a hard rock/heavy metal album, and the references to bands and songs are liberally sprinkled throughout the book. The main plot surrounds a concept album: Remember when Queensryche hit with Operation: Mindcrime? We were RAISED on concept albums, so this story? We've been preparing for this our whole adult lives. Let's go beyond the plot to the real horror story: we're living in a society that anesthetizes us. Got a bad feeling? We've got a pill for that. Don't like the news? Don't worry about it, go find something peaceful to watch and take your meds so you don't have to feel bad. We're living in dangerous times, where we're medicating ourselves just so we can cope with the world around us - but Hendrix points out how easy it is to just turn off and ignore everything, and how people with less than stellar intentions can use that against us. The key here: stay vigilant; just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you. We Sold Our Souls is everything good about horror and the '80s: it's an over-the-top, violent thrill ride where a chick with a guitar is the only thing standing in the way between us and total, soul-sucking destruction. Rent the 1986 flick Trick or Treat, dig into this book, and make yourself the greatest of playlists. Don't miss Grady Hendrix on tour! He's got a schedule up on his website. And sign up for his Book Reviews of the Damned. You'll thank me later. Check out We Sold Our Souls' starred review from Booklist!
I think any big fan of heavy metal and horror novels will find something to enjoy in this book. I didn't particularly relate to it and found the perspective a bit muddled. That may have been due in part to the formatting of the e-arc, and could improve in the finished copy. There are pages and pages of lyrics which do have meaning to the overall story, but some are repeated and I found myself skimming through those sections. I did feel like some of the gore was a bit unnecessary, but not really unexpected from a Grady Hendrix read. I am still really into his writing, and I'm looking forward to his next foray into horror.
We Sold Our Souls and all we got was this lousy band t-shirt. High concept but ultimately unsatisfying book about a fictional heavy metal band. Kris, Scottie, Tuck, Terry and first JD and then Bill started Durk Wurk, a heavy metal band, in high school. They were good but not great. Terry, the male lead singer, breaks up the band one night by stealing their music and going solo as The Blind King in his (new band) Koffin. Terry becomes rich and famous while the other band members stumble through life. Kris, the guitarist and song writer, decides to confront Terry during his final farewell tour show at Hellfest. As she contacts her other former band mates, she finds out more than just thievery may have happened the night the band broke up. Similar to what occurred with the author’s Horrorstor, We Sold Our Souls has an intriguing and high concept plot. Unfortunately, its promise is never fully realized. The conclusion was exactly what was seen only a few pages into the story. There are also some credibility issues. I don’t listen to metal. But I know the Dead Kennedys and the Plasmatics were punk—not metal. I found it hard to believe that a guitarist could stop playing for years and immediately be able to play at the same level when she is handed a guitar. Also, while there are illusions to Hell, there were absolutely no scary moments in this book. If you are into heavy metal, you might enjoy this book. However, for me it only rates 3 stars. Thanks to Quirk Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.