BOOK REVIEW [AND Q&A]: The Devil’s Metal, by Karina Halle

I’m happy to be a part of The Devil’s Metal blog tour! This is the latest book by Karina Halle, who wrote the Experiment in Terror series (which looks totally awesome). There are TWO giveaways going on during this tour, just click on the links below to enter!

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Date(s) read: September 22 – 24, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

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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.

My Thoughts

Thank you to the author and the tour host for providing me with a review copy of this book!

You probably know this already, but I am a huge fan of music. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about genres like classic rock or metal, but I do know a good song when I hear one. I remember the days when I would collect magazine articles and pictures of my favourite musicians and I even had a fan page or two on the (new) internet dedicated to my favourite singers. I know exactly what it’s like to be a huge fan of someone.

So, when I started reading The Devil’s Metal, I was instantly hooked. Karina definitely knows her music and wrote something that was just so compelling to a person like me. The whole atmosphere of the live shows, the bands, the touring — EVERYTHING! — was spot on and I enjoyed the entire musical journey.

Of course, the entire book isn’t just music, there are also people — wonderful characters that I both loved and hated. The main character, Dawn, was fierce, strong, and determined and I loved seeing her get her feet wet as a music journalist. It was exciting to see her experience touring with the band and getting to experience the lifestyle of a touring musician. I also really liked all of the members of the band and thought the attitudes towards the members was portrayed very realistically.

But this book isn’t just about awesome characters and music — oh no! Karina Halle seems to be known as a wonderful indie horror writer, so the scares were plenty in this book! Though, I wouldn’t say that I felt scared while reading at any time. There were some definite creepy moments, but I wanted more horrors — more of that something that would make the hair on my arms raise and make me not want to turn out the lights. That being said, I’m not sure I would classify this as a horror read, but more like a paranormal mystery-thriller.

I would also have to include ROMANCE to that classification, as well, because there is PLENTY! And it was the perfect kind of romance and just what I was looking for. I felt antsy at certain parts of the story because the romance isn’t instant — there’s more of a slow build until that moment where I said to myself, “Finally!” But the slowness of the romance was just what I needed. While there was a focus on the romance, the main focus of the book was the music and the horrors that the band must encounter. I thought the whole thing was a perfect blend of all the genres Karina Halle planned to accomplish — my only complaint being the lack of scares.

Can I also comment on that gorgeous cover? When I first saw the cover I was absolutely in love with it — especially the orange and green colours. BUT when I started reading the book, I fell MORE in love with the cover. You’ll have to read the book to find out, but it is the perfect cover for the book, its main character, and the 70s feel.

I definitely plan on reading more of Karina Halle’s works. She’s a great writer and I really enjoyed this selection, the first in the Devils 2-part series — there wasn’t one moment where I felt bored or wanted to read something else and that’s pretty amazing. Oh, and I should mention that Karina is a Canadian author! Looks like we have another great Canadian author on our hands — one that I will be paying more attention to.

Q & A with Karina Halle

Why did you become a writer? What (or who) inspired you to do what you do?

I’m not really sure why I became a writer, other than the fact that I was constantly creating worlds and characters in my head. I was born with a slight physical disability so instead of playing sports, I was on the sidelines, dreaming of other lives. I was influenced a lot when I was younger by R.L Stine and Christopher Pike, later by Charlotte Bronte and Stephen King…a weird pairing but it works.

What is the atmosphere like when you write – completely silent, or do you listen to music? 

I can do silent but normally I listen to music, particularly if there’s an emotional scene. The right soundtrack can really drive the character’s feelings and interactions.

I’m a musician and I feel most inspired to write in the springtime. Is there a certain season when you feel most compelled to put pen to paper?

I’d have to say the fall and winter, just because I am so tuned into Halloween and everything dark and macabre. In the summer, I’m more of a lazy ass, though to be honest, when you’re like most self-published authors, you need to be writing five days a week, 365 days a year.

What book are you reading right now?

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione and an ARC of R.L Stine’s Red Rain.

Your main character in The Devil’s Metal is a music journalist – do you have a background in music?

Not in music per se, though I did try my hand at guitar when I was a teen (and I can play Come As You Are…that’s it!). But I do work as a music journalist, covering rock and metal bands in concert, interviewing musicians such as Chris Cornell, reviewing albums, festivals, etc. It’s a big part of my life and many of the experiences that happened to Dawn in The Devil’s Metal, happened to me.

When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time?

I think about writing lol. Being self-published, I spend most of my spare time marketing my books, formatting my books, editing my books, writing my books, hiring cover designers of the books and so on and so on. But when I’m not doing that, I read a lot. I travel. I go bike riding. Drink wine with my man and watch Fawlty Towers on Netflix.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t think. Just do. And to make it easier on yourself, write out an outline first. Know where you are going before you start. And follow through. You can find the time, so make the time, and you’ll get it done.

Can you share any details on what you might be working on next? Any exciting projects in the works? 

Next up is the sixth book in the Experiment in Terror Series, Into the Hollow. After that I have a contemporary romantic thriller called Sins & Needles. It’s about a relapsed con artist who attempts to scam the tattoo artist who used to be in love with her. When he clues into her scheme, he gives her a choice: he can turn her into the authorities or she can sleep with him.  But, like most of my books, there’s more than meets the eye here. I’m excited about this one, especially as it draws from a lot of personal issues. It reminds me a bit of Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad, in terms of atmosphere.


Tour Schedule

Oct. 1 – Sinfully Delicious Book Reviews
Oct. 2 – SupaGurl Books
Oct. 3 – Reading in WinterFor the Love of Films and Novels
Oct. 4 – Sinfully Delicious Book ReviewsGinger – Read Review
Oct. 5 – Little Read Riding Hood
Oct. 6 – Simply InfatuatedBookishly Devoted
Oct. 7 – The Cover (and Everything in Between)
Oct. 8 – YA Book Addict
Oct. 9 – Waiting on Sunday to Drown
Oct. 10 – Reader Girls
Oct. 11 – A Bibliophiles Thoughts on BooksEscapism from Reality
Oct. 12 – Whoopeeyoo 😀
Oct. 13 – Jenn’s Review Blog
Oct. 14 – My SerynitiA Dream Within a Dream
Oct. 15 – Unabridged Bookshelf

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


21 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW [AND Q&A]: The Devil’s Metal, by Karina Halle

  1. Oh, nice, a book that mixes in music and does it well! I’m having a similarly enjoyable experience with Seraphina right now. Also, yes, that cover is so pretty! It reminds me a little of Tori Amos. 🙂

  2. This sounds really good and sounds like it has a lot going on, The whole tour, band thing sound cool and like you I love the cover..thanks for introducing me to this one!

  3. I was in a chat with the author on Twitter one day and she mentioned that she knew Rob Zombie and I have been pining for this since. On another blog I saw it described as a paranormal Almost Famous, and anything like Almost Famous is an automatic WIN! Great review chick. This sounds like it has pretty much everything going for it.

  4. It’s always a big bonus when the romance in a book is beautifully built up. The tension, the waiting, the are-they-or-won’t-they feeling – I love it. Also, it’s pretty cool that this book features music and bands and touring. I, too, remember what it was like to be an adoring fangirl!

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