Monday 23 June 2014

Book Impression - The Devil and Preston Black by Jason Jack Miller

I realised as I started this book that I'd read them in the wrong order as I'd already the second book in this series. Thankfully that didn't matter as they are thematically linked rather than a trilogy in the traditional sense. The dark aspect of the folklore is less prevalent in this book than it was in Hellbender, it provides a background for some of the sinister aspects of the plot.

The real subject is music and how it becomes an obsession for those devoted to their art. It takes us on a journey not only for Preston Black but for the history of music and related folklore for backwoods America. And quite simply I was enthralled. Not only has the author created an interesting (if familiar in theme) story, but I found myself fascinated by the history itself.

There is a deep love and understanding of music here and of the effect that it can have on people. The main character is flawed, often trying and failing to do the right thing. My one complaint is the supporting cast, it's not they are badly done by any means. I just wanted more. There's a rich world here, populated with interesting people and I could have happily read more of it.

I'm a big fan of the Faust legend and this is a different take on that classic tale. In some ways it's predictable, but in others it brings a fresh perspective on the dilemmas is introduces. It's also a story that doesn't slot neatly into a genre. There are some horror elements, but it's not strictly speaking a horror novel. What it is though is a fantastic story that I'd heartily recommend to anyone.

Click image to buy book from Amazon

THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK, HELLBENDER, and THE REVELATIONS OF PRESTON BLACK are part of a linked series, meaning they can be read in any order. These visionary paranormal urban fantasy novels contain elements of horror, dark fantasy, and magical realism, rooted in mythology and folklore.

Preston Black has a nasty habit of falling in love with the wrong type of woman. But girls who don't play nice are the least of his problems. This handsome bar band guitarist isn't washed-up, but he's about to be. He's broke, he's tired of playing covers and he's obsessed with the Curse of 27.

He's about to add 'deal with the devil' to his list.

Lucky for Preston, he has help. Like the angelic beauty who picks him up when he's down. And the university professor who helps him sort through old Appalachian hexes and curses to find the song that may be his only shot at redemption. And when things get real bad, he has the ghost of John Lennon to remind him that "nothing is real."

Let Raw Dog Screaming Press author Jason Jack Miller take you to a place where love is forever even when death isn't, where magic doesn't have to be seen to be believed, where a song might be the only thing that saves your soul.

The MURDER BALLADS AND WHISKEY Series is a unique, literary, blend of dark fiction, paranormal urban fantasy and horror. It's Appalachian Gothic, Alt.Magical.Realism, Hillbilly Horror. It's AMERICAN GODS meets JUSTIFIED. TRUE BLOOD with witches. It's Johnny Cash with a fistful of copperheads singing the devil right back to hell. This is your ticket into a world where love can save your soul, where a song can change your destiny, and where evil still hides in the dark corners of the night.

"With this new book, Jason Jack Miller has single-handedly cornered the market on Appalachian Noir fiction, and deservedly so. The Devil and Preston Black is a page-turner laced with an audiophile's longing for the days when music was genuine, and the storytelling reminded me of a strange array of similar stories -- High Fidelity, Crossroads, Justified... -- yet it stood out from the pack as fresh, thanks to Miller's authentic Appalachian voice. Any lover of guitar music or the history of the blues will instantly see themselves reflected in the story, filtered through a noir fuzz pedal, amped up with the electricity of dark fantasy. Miller's flair for words is evident even in the title alone: I can't think of a more appropriate name than "Preston Black"! With just the right touch of magical realism, this hip take on the 'deal with the devil' story conjures up a tale that's vastly enthralling and compulsively readable. Highly recommended." Five time Bram Stoker Award winner Michael A. Arnzen.

"Miller infuses his tale of longing and self-discovery with so many subtle and overt (in a good way) nods to music and its creators that his passion for music is quite evident. Even if you don't know all of the references, you know the type of music gods he's referring to. He also has created such a believable character in Preston Black that you care about the many ups and downs Miller puts him through. The finale, which I won't give away here, literally sent goosebumps down my arms. I can't remember the last time that happened while reading a book. All in all, a great read from an author with a mature voice. I look forward to reading more by Jason Jack Miller." Glen Krisch's novels include The Nightmare Within, Where Darkness Dwells, and Nothing Lasting.

Click here to buy The Devil and Preston Black from Amazon (and it's an excellent read)


  1. Thanks again! So glad you enjoyed.

    And I'm also happy to hear that reading them out of order worked for you. I'd kind of hoped it would work out that way.

    I don't think I realized how great Katy was until I got into the last third of the book. Then she kind of dictated the direction the story went. Thankfully, I more than made up for it in REVELATIONS.

    Again, many, many thanks.


    1. I have the third book in my TBR - I'm looking forward to it :-)