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The Devil and Preston Black (Murder Ballads and Whiskey Book 1) by [Miller, Jason Jack]
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The Devil and Preston Black (Murder Ballads and Whiskey Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Length: 415 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Miller clearly has confidence in his voice and style, and in the story he came to tell. He cuts no corners and makes no compromises, resulting in a thoughtful book that requires - and rewards - your patience."-Blu Gilland, FEARNET
 
"Certainly Miller isn't the first writer to move from independent publishing to the more traditional. If fact, he's probably not even the first good writer to make the switch (or the first good writer to publish independently). But his attitudes toward the publishing process and his willingness to state, rather loudly, that "No matter how you are published, or who publishes you, you ARE an independent writer" seem to make him just as original as the book itself."-Catherine Ramsdell POPMATTERS

From the Author

About the cover:
 
"If you follow music, art, and culture of the American South, sooner or later you're bound to run into the letters, images, and unmistakable "look" of Hatch Show Print. We're one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, and over the years our posters have featured a host of country music performers, ranging from Country Music Hall of Famers Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash to contemporary stars such as Garth Brooks and Wynonna."-Hatch Show Print, Nashville, Tennessee.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1511 KB
  • Print Length: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press; 1 edition (January 20, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 20, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SURM0O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,527 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't like to rehash plot in Amazon reviews--that's the job of the book description, but in brief, THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK (D&PB) is a story that will be familiar to anyone who has ever faced the choice between pursuing their passion and creativity and the need for buckle-down practicality (i.e., a real job).

Black is a likeable character with the best of intentions. He has a dream but he also has family problems, lack-of-family problems, friendship problems, and of course, problems with the women in his life. All of these relationships and problems are woven seamlessly into the plot. (There's a wonderful push-pull in his love life that reminded me of the agonizing Holly Golightly situation in Capote's BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S--male readers will relate.)

In his late 20's, Black faces that crossroads familiar to anyone who dreams of becoming a rock star, movie star, star quarterback, top chef, top model, novelist, champion thrasher or the next Monet: Do you pursue your impossible dream or grow up, give it up and join the rat race? Black faces his now-or-never opportunity: Go for it, or turn back and join the ranks of the muggles and mundanes.

This isn't the first novel to explore such territory. Tom Perotta's THE WISHBONES comes to mind. (Started it twice and never made it to page 40.) And for the record, I should state that I own four guitars, two amps, a bagpipe chanter, a smelly nine-button accordion and a didgeridoo. If you're not a musician (and I don't really consider myself one), your mileage may vary. For me, Black's story brought to mind the struggle of so many singer/songwriters I admire like Dave Alvin, Richard Thompson, Robbie Fulks, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Using his keyboard like Joe Strummer used his guitar, Jason Jack Miller gives us a version of the kind of tragedy found in old songs like LONG BLACK VEIL and BANKS OF THE OHIO. Poor Preston Black just wants to be a rock star, and maybe find his pap along the way. Instead he ends up ass over teakettle in a deal with the devil he doesn't remember making.

Miller's vivid landscapes and attention to detail pull you into his version of Appalachia. He weaves a mix of magic and witchcraft into everyday life to tell a balanced story that's a fun, fast read.
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Format: Paperback
Preston Black is a musician in his late 20's and is at that turning point in one's life when one has to decide if they're going to go all out and follow their dreams or throw in the towel and get a real job like the rest of us schlubs. Written in first person we witness first hand Preston's love for his music, his confusion, his emotional turmoil, all of it. This is an intimate look at an imperfect guy trying to find his place in the world and locate his birth father. As a girl who grew up around young musicians (and wanna-be musicians), Preston's characterization was spot on. He is a realistically drawn young guy, passionate about music and easily tempted by the devil's playthings. He irritated the hell out of me and there were many times when I wanted to shake some sense into him but that's the charm of Preston and his story. He makes some dumb choices, is a terrible boyfriend like many of the young men I have known, and his journey kept me guessing and I never really knew just how things were going to pan out for him in the end.

I'm not going to rehash the story and point all of the things that happen along the way. I'm lazy and if you're interested in the book you should experience all of the twists for yourself. Though the book was a little long for my liking, I truly enjoyed the quieter moments where the author carefully spins the atmosphere into a living, breathing thing with his words. When Preston finds himself in an off the grid home that time seems to have forgot I felt transported there myself. Great stuff there.

The dialogue also felt genuine. My favorite bit happened when Preston, who can be a bit "woe is me" at times (can't we all?), meets Katy, a student and fellow musician who doesn't mince words.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you respect the wisdom of hard scrabble mountain folks and guitar, violin and other string instruments make music that speaks to your soul - you'll love this book! Descriptive words fail me at the moment. This book is not a fast read but it is a good read. An underlay of evil vs. good is the reason for the "Devil" in the title of the book. A book worth keeping in your library!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The complex and fascinating characters woven by Jason jack Miller gives us a vivid tour of the Appalachian music world. The realism of the dialogue brings the reader into the room with the characters; and the musical explanations and descriptions show the passion and knowledge Miller brings to the subject. This was a book I could not put down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have few complaint, but overall they are minor. I love music, but clearly not with the depth and passion the author does (I learned more about various types of Guitars than I will retain). It is also a bit introspective for my taste, almost a psychological journal of self. These, combined with the stories tenancy to meander a bit (but when you are telling a tale like this meandering a bit is appropriate) makes it seem to drag and loose focus at times.

I did really like the Devil - very much a drag you down by your own petards kind of fiend; subtle and dangerous. The supernatural elements are played down, being ambiguous to the very end (which is appropriate to the kind of folk magic the author is depicting).

Overall it's very enjoyable.
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