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The Devil of Echo Lake Paperback – October 19, 2012
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"Doug delivers the quiet, atmospheric horror that pervades the story with the deft touch of an experienced writer. I may not have heard of Douglas Wynne before I started reading The Devil of Echo Lake, but now that I have finished this excellent debut novel, I can honestly say that I'll be looking for more of his work in the future."
"The author's love of music adds another level to this atmospheric supernatural thriller, which should appeal to fans of Goth rock as well as horror aficionados."
"Ancient gods, haunted forests, the Devil, and Rock & Roll. What more do you need for a great story? The Devil of Echo Lake is a beautifully crafted book that puts a unique spin on the classic tale of Robert Johnson and the crossroads. In the first few pages, Douglas Wynne grabs hold and never lets go. You can't miss with this fantastic debut."
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At the same time a newly graduated young man named Jake Campbell is heading to the Echo Lake studio to begin an apprenticeship of sorts. Jake has studied to be a music engineer. He realizes that he will have to start at the bottom. That means long hours, low pay, hard work and, if he works very hard and is lucky, the sacrifices will lead to a career in the music industry. Of course he has no idea that long hours and low pay will be the least of his worries. Jake and Billy will be caught up in Trevor Rail's machinations and survival is definitely not guaranteed. Even worse, it turns out that Trevor Rail isn't the only (or even the most) dangerous thing up at Echo Lake.
To be honest, I wasn't sure at the beginning of this book that I would like it. I have never been terribly drawn to rock 'n roll stories although I do love music. But this story, while being set around the process of recording a new album, is really a ghost story of sorts. The studio Billy and Jake will be working in is an old chapel and like all good old chapels, this one has a ghost. Her name is Olivia and she was hanged for being a witch. Of course in this day and age we all love a good ghost story but don't necessarily believe them. But that disbelief doesn't matter in the slightest if it's true.
I ended up enjoying this story immensely. This is the story of a young man fighting for his soul. He is looking for a way out of the madness that his life has become and that can be difficult. He will have to own up to mistakes he has made and figure out how to set things right. At the same time, there are forces up here (one being an evil manager with his hooks in so deep they may never come out) that are ancient and powerful. Billy and Jake will ultimately be thrown together to resolve a situation that no one could have ever predicted- or even believed- and will sink or swim on their own merits as Trevor Rail becomes increasingly dangerous. In the end....well, that you will have to read for yourself.
Echo Lake Studios has a history of recording some of most iconic names in music and this is where Billy Moon will take the leap from great to iconic. That is, if the ghosts of the past and the demon in the studio have their way with him.
I really enjoyed this one from Douglas Wynne. Atmospheric and haunting with great characterization and a very entertaining story. Highly Recommended.
Douglas Wynne loves rock ‘n roll horror too, and you can feel his passion for music drip off every page of The Devil of Echo Lake. The novel has a retro grunge feel (there are no cell phones and the musicians still record on analog tape) and uses all the rock ‘n roll archetypes — the wicked producer, the brooding rock star, and the overtly sexual groupie.
The story focuses on rookie engineer Jake, who finds himself caught between sinister producer Trevor Rail and tortured artist Billy Moon. Toss in a haunted converted church/recording studio, a couple of savage murders, and a showdown with the Great God Pan, and Jake’s got his hands full. It’s no wonder his love life is falling apart.
Fortunately, love conquers all — with assistance from a ghost and a satyr — and The Devil of Echo Lake ends in perfect harmony, with Jake learning a valuable lesson about the music business.
“You may find that records are kind of like hot dogs. You enjoy them a lot more before you know how they’re made.”
Douglas Wynne has a great sense of character and pacing. Jake is a sympathetic hero, and Billy and Trevor (even grizzled engineer Eddie) are larger-than-life figures that avoid becoming stereotypes. The Devil of Echo Lake hums along nicely, building a nice rhythm of action sequences and suspenseful passages. Wynne’s got style — it’s no surprise The Devil of Echo Lake was named JournalStone Publishing’s First Place Horror Fiction for 2012. The honor is well earned, and I look forward to more musical explorations from Mr. Wynne.
(Unabashed Plug: My own contribution to musical fiction is a novel called Hangman’s Jam. H.P. Lovecraft meets Motley Crue!)