Voice

Voice - Joseph Garraty Rock and roll and horror should be a natural combination. Yet I can think of only a few authors who have the ability to blend the two worlds together; Skipp and Spector, David Schow and to a lesser extent, George R.R. Martin, S. P. Somtow, and Joe Hill. Less serious efforts has been made by schlockmaster musicians like Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper whose shows are more of a kiddie spectacular with little real terror.

Enter new author Joseph Garraty. His debut novel Voice is a realistic blend of both rock and horror. Garraty is a musician and writer and his description of seedy venues and one night stands reveals an intimacy with the musician life. His novel is also a riveting horror tale that combines two overdone sub-genres; ordinary kid becomes rock star with disastrous results and that old war horse, the deal-with-the-devil tale. But the author finds something new in both and gives us a story that puts us on notice that he is biting at the heels of those authors I mentioned above.

But there are a few issues that often accompanies new writers. He slows at the middle and loses the pace. However it quickly picks up when main protagonist Johnny Tango and his band goes on the road. Also I was sometimes disengaged by the change in perspective of the band members and felt it may have been better to stick to the two main characters, Johnny and Case.

However, the strengths far exceed the weaknesses. Both Case and Johnny are strong character who the reader can care for even when they aren't on the best behavior. The rock performance scenes are exquisite and superbly catches the sense of excitement from the performers' perspective. Also, Garraty's ability to evoke dread and horror is quite good. Look for a "crossroads" scene that is loyal to the classic definition but also subtly hints that something else is going on.

The bottom line is that the author wrote a very above average debut novel that manages to blend the realistic travails of the rock music life with a scary and haunting horror story. If you are looking for new horror writers eager to creep you out, try Joseph Garraty. Personally, I am hoping eagerly for another creep-you-out rock and roller novel from this promising writer.